“Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring
Even though this track is titled “Twilight Zone”, it was actually inspired by The Bourne Identity, not the movie series of that but actually the 1980 novel upon which the film franchise is based. Or explained otherwise, there is a certain scene in the book in which the term “twilight zone” is utilized, and it is that particular segment that is said to have served as the inspirational basis of this track.
That said, this is a song that even listeners who haven’t read the book can appreciate. What it appears to speak to, most simply put, is the subject, “a guy”, being on the verge of some kind of mental breakdown.
Indeed going back to the title, the term “Twilight Zone” is best known as the name of a classic sci-fi series whose episodes tend to have these sort of twist, deeply-psychological endings. So to assert that you’re “steeping into the Twilight Zone” can be taken as akin to putting forth, as the vocalist further implies shortly thereafter, that you’re going mad or in the very least are having a difficult time making sense of what’s going on.
But what is it that has put the subject/vocalist into such a state? This isn’t really expounded upon in the lyrics. However, the singer goes on to imply that he’s “gone too far”, i.e. having gotten himself into some type of deadly situation that he can’t readily get out of.
So if this track were dropped in the here and now, i.e. the early 21st century, by all means it’d be taken as alluding to mental health issues. But it appears that when Golden Earring put it together they truly were paying homage to the novel, i.e. the subject of this piece being akin to a confused/captured spy or what have you.
But George Kooymans also did a sound job of writing the lyrics in such a way that whereas this song can be utilized for the soundtrack of a spy thriller for instance, it is also generally applicable enough to be taken more simply for what it’s overtly putting forth. And that would be the vocalist feeling as if he’s bitten off more than he can chew and being distressed accordingly.
Golden Earring was a band from the Netherlands that had been around since 1961 and just called it quits as recently as 2021. Within that time, they dropped 25 studio albums. For the most part, their success appears to have been relegated to their homeland and nearby Belgium. That being said, a handful of there albums still appeared on the Billboard 200.
Release of “Twilight Zone”
One of Gold Earring’s albums that proved to be a chart topper in the Netherlands, in addition to charting in Canada and the US, was 1982’s “Cut”. This is a project that was backed by Mercury Records, Capitol Record and Polygram. It is on this project that “Twilight Zone”. This song was actually issued as the lead single from that joint on 1 August 1982.
This song was written by George Kooymans, who in his early teens co-founded what went on to become Golden Earring alongside his neighbor, Rinus Gerritsen. The two of them, respectively serving as guitarist and bassist, remained with the band throughout its 60 years of existence.
Also to note, Kooymans does serve as one of the singers of “Twilight Zone”, with the other being the band’s actual lead vocalist, Barry Hay.
The official visual to Twilight Zone was directed by another Dutch artist in Dick Maas. And it was reportedly a pioneering piece. This is because it was amongst the first music videos to actually make use of a cinematic storyline in addition to a dance choreography.
Success of “Twilight Zone”
This track reached the summit of the Dutch Top 40, as well as replicating the feat on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart stateside. The aforementioned visual aired on MTV, and said music video contributed to this track’s success in the US, i.e. the country from which The Twilight Zone, i.e. the television series, originated.
And interesting to note is that even though this song does not appear to be officially affiliated with that franchise, its tune was utilized in making music for a pinball machine fashioned after the series.