Monday, April 12, 2010

Golden Earring: Eight Miles High

Monday’s cover comes from the Dutch rock ensemble Golden Earring. The band was only able garner two US hits: “Radar Love” in 1974 and “Twilight Zone” in 1982. Due to their popularity as an opening act for other artists during their US tours, Atlantic Records picked up the option in 1969 to release their fifth LP in the US. Listed on the album under the name of  "The" Golden Earring, the band eventually dropped the article "The" as they did the plural "Earrings" from their name a few years earlier.

Because their European label did not yet have a US counterpart, Polydor brokered the release of their recordings in the US with other labels. During the late 60s and early 70s, Atlantic was often given the option of first right of refusal and many times they took chances on these artists (i.e., Cream, Blind Faith, Clapton, etc.). The album “Eight Miles High” on Atlantic was Golden Earring’s first release in the US. The title cut, a remake of the 1966 raga-rock hit by The Byrds, was popular at Golden Earring concerts and often could last as long as 45 minutes.

When released, the song ran 19 minutes and took up the LP’s entire second side (shades of “In A Gadda Da Vida”). It really was reminiscent of one of their concert jam sessions which extended into the fourth dimension a song that The Byrds released on their album "Fifth Dimension." While I remember seeing this album in the stores and later at flea markets, I never bit; however, I somehow ended up with a promo copy of the 45 that came from somewhere. I even used it on my aircheck when applying for my job at WCIR in 1981.

The Byrds’ Original – Remastered

While I like Golden Earring’s cover of "Eight Miles High," it would have made an excellent seven minute LP cut rather than the extended 19 minute jam.  Even editing it down to fourteen minutes would have been more palatable as there were parts of the jam that made no sense to include.  In addition, Golden Earring's version doesn’t hold a candle to the 1966 original. Roger McGuinn and company were many years ahead of their time with this song that charted in the top 20 in the US.

No comments:

Post a Comment