30 Years Ago: Golden Earring Releases ‘N.E.W.S.’
When veteran Dutch rockers Golden Earring unveiled their seventeenth studio album, ’N.E.W.S,’ in March 1984, they were still feeling the love shown for their latest Top 10 single, ‘Twilight Zone,’ released just two years prior. But remember that it took nearly a decade after 1973’s career-defining hit, ‘Radar Love,’ to once again breathe the rarefied air found near the top of the charts. On top of all that, the band was nearly twenty years removed from their very first record, way back in ’65.
Especially by '80’s rock and roll standards, Golden Earring were old, which may explain why ’N.E.W.S.,’ in trying to make too many people and potential consumer groups happy, managed to thrill almost no one, as well. Its songs hopscotched uncertainly between classic rock (‘When the Lady Smiles,’ ‘It’s Over Now’), AOR (‘Enough is Enough,’ ‘I’ll Make it All Up to You’) and New Wave (‘Clear Light Moonlight,’ Fist in Glove’).
Or worse, they wasted time on failed experiments (see the skittish cheerleader routine of a title track), self-parody (‘Mission Impossible’) and the inevitable ‘1984’ reference in the painfully forced ‘Orwell’s Year.’ All of which made Golden Earring look like men out of time who were now running out of time.
Sure enough, although ’N.E.W.S.’ predictably topped the hit parade back in the band’s native Netherlands, it barely made a dent on the U.S. charts, stalling at an undistinguished No. 107. What’s more, while the album’s lead-off single, ‘When the Lady Smiles,’ also cruised to a pole position at home, its American chances were dashed by MTV, which took one look at its highly amusing but unquestionably erotic -- and borderline disturbing -- music video, and banned it outright. And while Golden Earring have maintained a strong profile in the Netherlands, the lack of success for ’N.E.W.S.’ in the United States sealed their fate as two-hit wonders.