The answer: Golden Earring is the longest-running rock band

13 Jun
Golden Earring in 1974, the longest-running rock band

Golden Earring in 1974

Surprised? Don’t remember them?

Golden Earring is most famous for their two biggest hits, “Radar Love” (1973) and “Twilight Zone” (1982), although they have had numerous songs on the charts in the U.S. and internationally. They formed in 1961 and haven’t stopped since, with two founding members still in the band. Although they haven’t toured outside of Europe (their home country is The Netherlands), they still play over 200 shows per year and just released a studio album in May 2012.

When we posted the original question on Google+, one person emphatically answered with The Rolling Stones, and when presented with Golden Earring as “our” answer, replied that they are irrelevant. A friendly debate ensued, and here was the logic in our choice:

Our original criteria never included “still relevant”; it was only (1) continuously running without an “official retirement” and (2) at least one founding member throughout the band’s history. So, with “still relevant” as a criterion, there’s no argument that the Stones would win hands down. They started in 1962, only several months after Golden Earring—and of course, their magnitude is incomparable.

However, a counter-argument can be made that the Stones can’t hold a candle to Golden Earring in a couple respects—Earring is still playing regularly (again, over 200 shows per year) and just put out an album. The Stones haven’t toured in five years and have only recorded one studio album in the past 15 years (A Bigger Bang in 2005). In that same time, Golden Earring has released three studio albums. So, it’s true The Rolling Stones haven’t officially retired, but they’re hardly busting their asses performing and creating new music. (Not that we blame them, since they don’t have to.) And who knows, the guys in Golden Earring may need to, depending on their financial situation.

So, we’ll leave you to your choice—it’s either Golden Earring (based on our original “rules”) or The Rolling Stones (if you want to grade on a curve, accounting for current “relevance”).

What do you think the answer should be and why?

2 Responses to “The answer: Golden Earring is the longest-running rock band”

  1. Peter August 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I do agree that it must be Golden Earring. You only have to see them to know that they are relevant. Still going strong.the new album is great. I don’t think there’s a need for money(anymore) : they just love tp play.


    By the way: Stones are great too…lots of respect

  2. Jimmy (that's right, I'm the man!) Cunningham October 23, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    I agree. If Golden Earring formed before the Stones…then they deserve it. Besides, Radar Love is a guilty pleasure of mine.

    Jimmy (that’s right, I’m the man!) Cunningham

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