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Radar Love

"Radar Love" is a song by the Dutch rock band Golden Earring. The single version of "Radar Love" reached #10 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #13 in Billboard in the United States. It also hit the Top 10 in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Spain.

Lyrics



The song is written from the point of view of a car or truck driver who says he has some sort of psychic relationship with his girlfriend - "radar love". He has sensed that she urgently wants him to be with her, which makes him reckless.

Composition



Like other famous songs of the era ("Stairway to Heaven", "Aqualung", "Bohemian Rhapsody"), "Radar Love" is composed as a suite with several distinctive and quite different sections (although the tonality remains pretty much the same).

The intro starts with a guitar riff in four movements. The first movement is up from C# minor with three power chords slightly reminiscent of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". The second movement heads down, the third is up again, higher than the previous, and the fourth leads all down to E major. According to bass player Rinus Gerritsen the intro was inspired by Carlos Santana.

After the intro a driving snare drum sets the pace in 4/4 time, at around 100 BPM. The snare drum is soon joined by a signature bassline in F# minor. This is repeated eight times in two alternating lines.

Starting at 0:47, the first verse is sung to the ongoing bassline in F# minor: "I've been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel..."

The verse consists of four lines and each of them is answered by a simple guitar hook.

After the fourth line the song moves to a sort of bridge leading up to the chorus.

"When she is lonely and the longing gets too much, she sends a cable coming in from above..."

In this section, accompanied by vocal harmonies, the chords shift from E major via several changes to B major and finally C# minor at the start of the refrain:

"We've got a thing that's called radar love..."

During the chorus, starting in C# minor at 1:20, the band is joined by a brass section and the drum beat is doubled to give the impression that the tempo has speeded up.

After the chorus the song returns to the previous bassline in F# minor. In verse two the singing gets funkier and so does the responding guitar which is now played with double notes.

"The radio is playing some forgotten song, Brenda Lee's "Coming on Strong"..."

At the end of the second chorus at 2:30 the album version continues with a different bassline and guitar improvisations until 3:49. In the single version this part has been left out and the song turns immediately to a trademark drum solo at 2:30 (or 3:49 respectively). Ten seconds into the solo the drummer is joined by guitar, bass and trumpets playing a riff derived from the intro which builds up repeating over several variations, until collapsing in an E major chord at 3:06 (4:25).

At this point the song shortly slows down, but soon the haunting bassline restarts and the drummer returns to his driving beat.

Yet, verse three at 3:36 (4:55) is a slightly different affair, as illustrated also by the lyrics:

"No more speed, I'm almost there, gotta keep cool now, gotta take care..."

This time the voice, more hesitant than driving, is answered by bluesy guitar licks played by two guitars opposing on the stereo channels.

Energy returns with Brenda Lee coming on strong once more, and finally at 4:13 (5:32) the bridge and the chorus build up for a last ride with sounding horns.

At 4:44 (6:03) starts the outro with a variation of the haunting bassline in F# minor and all instruments gradually joining in the same chord.

Impact



Golden Earring's "Radar Love" is one of rock music's enduring anthems. According to Rustyn Rose at Metaholic, the song "is a rock masterpiece, from its hooky chugging bassline, to its simple but unmistakable riffs, to its catchy anthemesque chorus. Even the jam which rides the song out is note for note classic".

The song has been chosen by many magazines and websites as a Top 10 driving song. Often it ranked in the top three. In polls it was chosen as the best radio song by readers of the newspaper Washington Post in November 2001. It resulted the #1 driving song in Australia (Australian Musician Magazine, November 2005), beating two AC/DC-songs, and in Canada (BBC Canada, March 2006). In 2011 it received a vast number of votes as the "Ultimate Driving Song" in a poll at PlanetRock and "finished well ahead of its nearest rival, Deep Purple's Highway Star"..

The bassline, guitar improv and drum solo riff was used in the late 1970s and early 1980s as part of the opening credits and theme to the long running Australian current affairs programme Four Corners produced by ABC before it segues into the official theme, Robert Maxwell's "Lost Patrol".

Cover versions

According to the dedicated website 'radar-love.net', the song has been covered more than 500 times, among others by Tribe 8, Ministry, Omen, U2, R.E.M., Ian Stuart Donaldson, Sun City Girls, White Lion, Blue Man Group, Def Leppard, James Last, NWOBHM band Aragorn, Nine Pound Hammer, Oh Well, Joe Santana, the Space Lady and the Pressure Boys. The White Lion version charted at #59 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Goth-pop band Ghost Dance recorded a cover of the song on the B-side of their "Heart Full of Soul" single, itself a cover of the Yardbirds track.

A pre-Mercyful Fate band featuring King Diamond on vocals recorded a cover of the song. It is featured on King Diamond & Black Rose 20 Years Ago.

WaveGroup Sound covered the White Lion version of the song on Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.