Golden Earring – Twilight Zone

To kick off reviewing the Twilight Zone episodes… I thought this was appropriate.

This song was a great example of MTV’s clout. It was in heavy rotation and it paid off for the band. It peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 and #13 in Canada in 1983.

I have to wonder how the landscape of music would have changed without MTV in the 80s. Some bands hated videos because it could change the songs perception. Many wanted people to make up their own mind about songs and not think of “guitarists in leather pants.”

The Twilight Zone was written by Golden Earring’s lead guitarist George Kooymans. He was inspired not by the famous TV series of the same name, but by the Robert Ludlum novel The Bourne Identity, which would later be turned into a popular movie.

The song’s intro will stick in your head for days…kind of like the intro to the Twilight Zone TV series a repeating riff. I was happy to hear this song at the time. I knew them for Radar Love and any seventies rock group in the 80s was nice to hear.

Golden Earring was a Dutch band and they were formed in Hauge in 1961. They were a long lasting band. George Kooymans sadly announced this year that he is suffering from ALS and the band officially dissolved.

From Songfacts

Right out front, note that this song has nothing to do with Manhattan Transfer’s “Twilight Zone.” One is not a cover of the other.  

The song and especially the video tell the story of an espionage agent, on the run from enemy spies before being cornered. The cover of the album Cut (from which this was the only single) shows a scene repeated in the video, of a bullet slicing through the Jack of Diamonds playing card. The card is supposed to represent the rogue agent.

Interestingly, there was at least one episode of the original Twilight Zone TV series which was also a spy drama. Namely, episode #149 from season five, “The Jeopardy Room,” is about a Soviet KGB agent who wants to defect, but he ends up pinned in a hotel room under surveillance from a hit man and his accomplice, who sadistically make him play a game for his life. And it’s one of the few episodes where a gun is fired – “When the bullet hits the bone,” indeed!

Get ready for a nostalgia blast: This song was also used as the theme to the Twilight Zone pinball machine. This was part of Bally Midway’s series of “Superpin” arcade pinball games that were based on TV shows – other pinball games in the series were based on Star Trek and The Addams Family.

Fittingly, this song is also sometimes used as bumper music for the radio show Coast to Coast AM, the all-night paranormal talk show which also more frequently uses “A Hazy Shade of Winter.”

The video is yet another whose early airplay on MTV paid off. In MTV Ruled the World – The Early Years of Music Video, Rick Springfield talks about the MTV Effect: “The difference that I saw was, before MTV, you’d have to be on like your third successful album before people started recognizing you at the airport. But once MTV hit, you had that one hit single, and you were as recognizable as if you were around for three or four years. It was so instant. That was the power of television.

Twilight Zone

Somewhere in a lonely hotel room there’s a guy
Starting to realize that eternal fate has turned its back on him
It’s two A.M.

It’s two A.M. (It’s two A.M.)
Fear is gone (fear is gone)
I’m sitting here waiting
The Gun still warm (the gun still warm)
Maybe my connection is tired of taking chances

Yeah, there’s a storm on the loose
Sirens in my head
Wrapped up in silence, all circuits are dead
Cannot decode, my whole life spins into a frenzy

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far? (Oh oh oh)

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being alone
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far?

So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone

I’m fallin’ down a spiral, destination unknown
Double crossed messenger, all alone
Can’t get no connection, can’t get through
Where are you?

Well the night weighs heavy on his guilty mind
This far from the borderline
When the hitman comes
He knows damn well he has been cheated

And he says
Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far? (Oh oh oh)

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being alone
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far?

So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being cold
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far? (Oh oh oh)

Help, I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
Place is a madhouse, feels like being alone
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go now that I’ve gone too far?

So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
So you will come to know
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone
When the bullet hits the bone

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

30 thoughts on “Golden Earring – Twilight Zone”

    1. I was 16 when this hit so yes I latched on to it… that intro just stays with you.
      I should have posted that version also.

      Like

  1. Not really a fave of mine but it was popular & shows the importance of the show. Even if it wasn’ t about the TV program, those Europeans knew it well enough to know people would get what mood they were setting by calling it ‘The Twilight Zone’…it wouldn’ t be obscure. Good bassline on the tune

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You mentioned the bass line…it’s funny their two big hits had cool bass lines. I liked it when it was on all of the time.

      Like

  2. Wow, Max, that’s indeed a perfect companion song to kick off your Twilight Zone series and a great tune! Apart from “Radar Love”, which I dig as well, I think “Twilight Zone” is the only tune by Golden Earring I know.

    ALS can be devastating. A former colleague who is married with three children has a very aggressive form of the disease and literally only months to live. She has been making national headlines, desperately trying to get access to an investigational medicine that may help prolong her life. It’s truly heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought it went well with it… and I put this one off for a while and I’m glad I did.

      I had a friend die of it and it was terrible. He only lived around 6 months after the diagnose.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t have missed it if I tried…it was aimed at my generation…I was 16 when this came out. Usually what MTV did…radio would follow.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Not one I recall. I know of it but it never hit in the UK the way Radar Love did. Very 80’s! I like it, almost got that ZZ Top vibe. Odd you mention Manhattan Transfer, I watched their Twilight Zone video the other day, which was a hit here.

    MTV gave US pop music a shot in the arm. We didnt get MTV till a few years later, and only on Satellite TV, but at the time there were quite a few TV pop shows which mined videos so music promos were already essential by 1983 anyway.

    Like

  4. Great song! Still love it and Radar Love. It’s a shame the band didn’t have more hits. And, an ALS diagnosis…yikes. That is just as bad as pancreatic cancer. You don’t survive pancreatic cancer…for long. Patrick Swayze and Alex Trebek lost.

    Good choice to do TZ episodes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It sure makes material much easier to choose! I’ll do music also but some days it will only be a Twilight Zone

      Like

    1. It’s amazing how long they have been together. Not all the same members but still. I liked this song the first time I heard it back then. I didn’t know they were still together at the time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not a huge fan of prog-rock either..like you I do like the catchy things… The Moody Blues are considered a prog-band but they bring in pop melodies to even it out.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Right. Genesis too. People that love Genesis, tend to like the Peter Gabriel Genesis and diss the Phil Collins headlined group, but for me, it’s the opposite. I prefer, Peter Gabriel as a solo artist. He’s genius, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are right about Genesis… I’ve went back and listened to some of the early stuff…some of it has great pop melodies to them…I’ll give them that…but yea the Collins era is way more accessible.
        Gabriel is a true artist…never sitting still.

        Liked by 1 person

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