As The Golden Earrings the band eventually recorded four albums and had twelve hit singles in the Netherlands between 1965 and 1969, ten of which reached the Dutch Top 10. 1968's 'Dong-Dong-Diki-Digi-Dong' became their first Dutch #1 single. The band's lead singer during the early Golden Earrings years was Frans Krassenburg. He was replaced by Barry Hay (ex-The Haigs) in 1967. The band's drummer for much of the 1960s was Jaap Eggermont. His successors were Sieb Warner (1969) and, in 1970, Cesar Zuiderwijk (ex-Livin' Blues), Golden Earring's definitive drummer.
The band's international career modestly started to take off in 1969, the year of their psychedelic 'Eight Miles High' album and first tour of the U.S. Golden Earring's 19-minute album version, as well as the stand-alone 1969 single, Another 45 Miles, were the first Golden Earring songs to get some U.S. media attention and airplay. The arrival of drummer, Cesar Zuiderwijk, in 1970, completed the line-up that is still active today.
1970 saw a dramatic shift in Golden Earring's musical style. After the melodic, often Beatle-esque sixties beat of The Golden Earrings and a brief phase of psychedelica and hippie rock, the single Back Home marked the birth of Golden Earring's trademark heavy, riff-based brand of rock with catchy hooks. Back Home hit #1 in the Dutch charts and 'broke' Golden Earring in European countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France.
It marked the start of a decade of domestic and international glory. Between 1966 and 1976 seventeen consecutive Earring singles rocketed into the Dutch Top 10, while their international popularity increased, especially after their lengthy 1972 tour of Europe, supporting The Who. The 1973 hit single 'Radar Love' marked their big break worldwide: #13 in the U.S., #5 in Britain, #8 in Australia, #10 in Canada, #5 in Germany, #6 in Belgium, #1 in Spain and also #1 in (last but not least) Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). 1973's 'Moontan' LP was certified gold in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany amongst others.
Between 1969 and 1985 Golden Earring completed ten major tours of North America, building a considerable North American fanbase, as well as five headlining tours of Great Britain in 1973 and 1974 alone, but the band failed to achieve similar chart success in the years after 'Radar Love'. Golden Earring was forgotten by many outside of The Netherland and by 1980 even Dutch audiences started to lose interest: albums such as 'No Promises... No Debts' (1979) and 'Prisoner Of The Night' (1980) were commercial flops, leading to the band's decision (in 1981) to record a 'farewell album' and then call it quits.
The lead single from 1982's 'Cut' LP, a George Kooymans-penned tune called 'Twilight Zone', surprisingly became an even bigger hit in the U.S. than Radar Love: #10 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 in Billboard Rock Tracks, thanks to heavy MTV rotation of the Dick Maas-directed video. The song (#1 in The Netherlands) revived Golden Earring's stateside career overnight. The Cut LP was certified gold in Canada, where Twilight Zone hit #3 in the charts.
In their native Netherlands the band did manage to extend their creative and commercial peak this time: the single 'When The Lady Smiles' and the album 'N.E.W.S.' ('NorthEastWestSouth'), both released in 1984, repeated the success of 'Twilight Zone' and 'Cut'. The single peaked at #3 in Canada, but was a failure in the U.S. as MTV and even radio stations banned the track because of its controversial video, once again directed by Dick Maas, in which the rape of a nun was shown. Ironically, given its lack of U.S. success, the song was used by Hillary Clinton during the early stages of her 2008 presidential campaign (her husband had used Radar Love for his campaign, in 1992).
After 1985 things rapidly went downhill for Golden Earring internationally (they would not tour the U.S. again), but - after a creative and financial crisis that lasted throughout the second half of the 1980s - the band scored one of their most lasting Dutch hits in 1991 (the power-ballad, 'Going To The Run', also one of their best known hits in Eastern Europe and Russia) and discovered a new gold mine in their home country a year later: acoustic concerts in theatres, the concept of MTV Unplugged. To everybody's surprise, the band's acoustic live album, 'The Naked Truth', slowly became their all-time biggest selling album in Holland. Its sequels, 'Naked II' (1997) and 'Naked III' (2005) also went platinum at least once in The Netherlands.
As of May 2012 Golden Earring has released 25 studio albums (plus one EP), 8 live albums and countless compilations. They still do dozens of live shows each year (electric as well as unplugged), almost exclusively in the Netherlands, although there are still occasional live appearances in Belgium and Germany.
Barry Hay: vocals, guitar, flute
George Kooymans: guitars, vocals
Cesar Zuiderwijk: drums, percussion
Rinus Gerritsen: bass, synth, keyboards
Frans Krassenburg: lead vocals
Hans van Herwerden: guitar
Fred van der Hilst: drums
Peter de Ronde: guitar
Jaap Eggermont: drums
Sieb Warner: drums
Eelco Gelling: guitar
Robert-Jan Stips: keyboards