Twilight Zone

Album: Cut (1983)
Charted: 10
  • Right out front, note that this song has nothing to do with Manhattan Transfer's "Twilight Zone." One is not a cover of the other. This is the "Twilight Zone" written by Golden Earring's lead guitarist George Kooymans. He was inspired not by the famous TV series of the same name, but by the Robert Ludlum novel The Bourne Identity, which would later be turned into a popular movie.

    The song and especially the video tell the story of an espionage agent, on the run from enemy spies before being cornered. The cover of the album Cut (from which this was the only single) shows a scene repeated in the video, of a bullet slicing through the Jack of Diamonds playing card. The card is supposed to represent the rogue agent.
  • Interestingly, there was at least one episode of the original Twilight Zone TV series which was also a spy drama. Namely, episode #149 from season five, "The Jeopardy Room," is about a Soviet KGB agent who wants to defect, but he ends up pinned in a hotel room under surveillance from a hit man and his accomplice, who sadistically make him play a game for his life. And it's one of the few episodes where a gun is fired - "When the bullet hits the bone," indeed!
  • Get ready for a nostalgia blast: This song was also used as the theme to the Twilight Zone pinball machine. This was part of Bally Midway's series of "Superpin" arcade pinball games that were based on TV shows - other pinball games in the series were based on Star Trek and The Addams Family.
  • Fittingly, this song is also sometimes used as bumper music for the radio show Coast to Coast AM, the all-night paranormal talk show which also more frequently uses "A Hazy Shade of Winter."
  • The video is yet another whose early airplay on MTV paid off. In MTV Ruled the World - The Early Years of Music Video, Rick Springfield talks about the MTV Effect: "The difference that I saw was, before MTV, you'd have to be on like your third successful album before people started recognizing you at the airport. But once MTV hit, you had that one hit single, and you were as recognizable as if you were around for three or four years. It was so instant. That was the power of television.

Comments: 8

  • Ronald from Florida I read somewhere that the lyrics are "Help, I'm steppin into the twilight zone. this is a mad house feels like being cloned. I used to think that he said " feels like being blown" like having his cover blown, but, that was before I learned after puberty that could have a different meaning than what I was thinking of as a youth.
  • Poop4brains from InterzoneI too love the heck out of this song. Check out the baby in the audience turning his head to look at the camera. That is beyond super-creepy.
    And I'd say "Yes there's a Nazi theme in a Gravity's Rainbow kind of way" but on the whole it seems to me like a Cold War vibe. To me anyway. Reminds me of the movie The Third Man.
  • John from Cleveland, OhioThe beginning of the song is backwards masked. The vocal part exists in the left channel and not the right channel. The vocal is also highly compressed so it is difficult to make out. I think it says, "Sirens in your head, your whole life spins into".
  • John from Cleveland, OhioAt the end of the intro speech, what does he say? He says a word after 2 AM. (Being obsessive-compulsive it drives me InSAne when lyric sheets do not include content/imrovisations/etc.!) I at first thought he said, "It's 2 AM man." Then I cranked it up and thought I heard a "b", like he was saying "2 AM band". My final and best guess is that he says "2 AM and..." and the singer takes over to continue the story.
    Anecdotally rockers I encounter inevitably love "Radar Love" more. From my perspective "Radar Love" sounds like a guy in his bedroom just fooling around on guitar, he comes up with this rap and then just plays it excessively to make it into a song. "Twilight Zone" is just crazy good in every respect, SCARY when I as a youngster heard it, great singing, great guitar, creative poetry describing the situation (right on Lester from NYC!)...I think this is one of the best rock songs every created and it should have a lot more attention.
  • Dm from ArizonaFilm Noir in a music video! Credited as the first music video with a story.
    The rogue agent is SO screwed and his captures know it. That sick torture factory gives obvious hints they're Nazis. They got what they wanted.
    So they drug him, maybe brainwash him, beat him within an inch of his life and they'll probably use him as a double agent later. The entire time he (and us) are thinkin' yer gonna die, dude and by the end he doesn't care. So they take him right up to the moment... and drive away.
    ________________________________
    In this published article, I'm IN a Film Noir movie to explain what it is.
    https://hubpages.com/entertainment/What-Are-All-The-Elements-of-Film-Noir
    by Dan W. Miller aka "The Vanilla Godzilla"
  • William from Reno, NvTwice a year (for 24 years) this was my favorite song!

    I was in the US Navy and used this song when I ran my biannual PRT. The beat was just the perfectly timed for a long run. Now every time I hear it I remember how much it took my mind off of those terrible moments.

    Thanks GR!!!!
    K/H D
  • Lester from Nyc"When the Bullet Hits the Bone"

    One of my favorites, and an all-time classic rock song.
  • Cher from Tampa, FlThis song is just sick. Even my 15 year old thinks it's amazing. Love the Trivia about the Bourne Novels. My favorite series of spy novels. Pretty cool.
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