Golden Earring Break Up Following ALS Diagnosis of Co-Founder

Golden Earring, the Dutch rock band known for such hits as “Radar Love,” “Twilight Zone” and “When the Lady Smiles,” has officially called it quits.

The decision comes after George Kooymans, the band’s guitarist and co-founder, was diagnosed with ALS.

“This is a death blow,” Barry Hay, the singer and multi-instrumentalist who has been a member of the group for over 50 years, declared to Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad. “We always said we would keep going until one of us fell over.”

“I didn’t expect George to be the first,” Hay continued. “Kooymans was always the toughest of the four of us. You sometimes philosophize about that: who goes first? Then he was always at the back of the line. It sucks; we would have preferred a farewell tour, but unfortunately this is what it is. Our last performance appears to have been in Ahoy (a conversion center in Rotterdam, Netherlands) in 2019. That was a great show with family and friends, but we would have preferred it differently.”

Watch Golden Earring performing “Radar Love” in 1973

Kooymans founded Golden Earring – originally called The Hague – alongside his friend and neighbor Rinus Gerritsen when the two were just teenagers. They remained in the group for the entirety of its 60 year run, with Gerritsen handling bass, while Kooymans provided guitar and vocals. Hay would join in 1967. The addition of drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk in 1970 completed what many consider to be the group’s classic lineup.

In total, the band released 25 studio albums over the course of its impressive career. 1973’s Moontan, spurred largely by the success of “Radar Love,” was the band’s most commercially successful LP in America. The group’s most recent release, a compilation album titled Alive… Though the Years, arrived in 2018.

Aside from confirming his ALS diagnosis and admitting he’s receiving treatment at a hospital in Belgium, Kooymans has been tight-lipped regarding his health.

Asked if the group could conceivably continue forward with a new musician replacing their co-founder, Zuiderwijk was clear. “That will never happen,” the drummer insisted. “We are a group of friends of four men who are irreplaceable. A new band member? That wouldn’t fit.”


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