‘To The Hilt’ like most of Golden Earring’s product is easily available on CD and while ‘Moontan’ is probably the best place to start for newbies, ‘To The Hilt’ should rank high on your want list.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Golden Earring
ALBUM: To The Hilt
SERIAL: 2480 330
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
LINEUP: Barry Hay – vocals * George Kooymans – guitars, vocals * Rinus Gerritsen – bass * Cesar Zuiderwijk – drums, percussion * Robert Jan Stips – keyboards00
TRACK LISTING: 01 Why Me? * 02 Facedancer * 03 To The Hilt * 04 Nomad * 05 Sleepwalkin’ * 06 Latin Lightning * 07 Violins
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Arguably, the most successful band to come out of The Netherlands, Golden Earring originally formed in the early 1960’s as a more traditional pop group and not the hard rock unit they would later become. Of course you had to be living in a cave in the 1970’s if you hadn’t heard ‘Radar Love’ from the groups million selling ‘Moontan’ album, which to this day remains a cornerstone of classic rock radio.
Like ‘Freebird’, I tend to shut the radio off when the tune comes on just because I have heard it so much, but to each his own! Although wildly popular in Europe, Golden Earring struggled in the United States splitting their time headlining clubs and small halls while putting themselves upfront as an opening act for most of the big names of the era.
While their efforts to conquer America fell short of expectations, the group released a string of top quality albums that never caught fire with fickle record buyers who wanted another ‘Radar Love’. Fortunately for true music listeners’ albums like ‘Grab It for A Second’, ‘Contraband’ the progressive rock influenced ‘Switch’ and in particular ‘To The Hilt’ made for a very satisfying listening experience.
Special mention for the Hipgnosis cover art which captures the mood of this record perfectly; dark and edgy. With the addition of maestro Robert Jan Stips formerly of Dutch greats Supersister on keyboards, the Golden Earring sound takes a decidedly progressive sound, but this isn’t Yes or Genesis clone time.
Golden Earring was a rock band and too good for that, borrowing elements of the prog sound to their liking and screw the rest. It has to be said that the band had more in common with The Who than any other reference I can muster and that comparison is as clear as day on ‘Facedancer’ and especially the closing ten minute plus ‘Violins’. It’s no wonder The Who asked Golden Earring to open for them on their 1972 European tour.
In the early 80’s, Golden Earring would experience a resurgence of popularity with the single ‘Twilight Zone’ followed by U.S tours with 38 Special and Rush, though it was short lived. The band returned to Holland where they are still quite popular and active which is nice to know. ‘To The Hilt’ like most of Golden Earring’s product is easily available on CD and while ‘Moontan’ is probably the best place to start for newbies, ‘To The Hilt’ should rank high on your want list.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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