“Just a Little Bit of Peace in My Heart” by The Golden Earrings (aka Golden Earring)

Yes, the Golden Earrings are the same band that later became Golden Earring who had huge hits with “Radar Love” in 1974 and “Twilight Zone” in 1982. However, the band has been around since 1961, and are one of the few bands from that era that’s still around and still basically intact. Formed in Holland, Golden Earring is one of that country’s most popular bands, with a consistent stream of huge hits / albums for nearly 50 years.

“Just a Little Bit of Peace in My Heart” is from 1968 and it’s a stunner. A terrific slice of baroque pop, a genre that the Bee Gees (of the late 1960s) had the most success with, “Heart” is a magnificent 5-minute pop epic about a difficult break-up. Yes, much of this may seem overdone, but I love it. This was a huge hit in Holland and almost no where else. But it should’ve been a huge hit and a staple on Oldies stations worldwide.

I’m not sure what’s going on with this video with female go-go dancers jumping up and down on a trampoline. Let’s just say it’s in line with the other odd European pop music shows of the era, but the frolicking is in direct contradiction to the sad lyrics and baroque instrumentation. Anyway, try to appreciate this first with your eyes closed … and then drink in the clueless visuals, which are funny in a retro way, but unfortunately diminish the power of “Heart” slightly.

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“I Started a Joke” – The Bee Gees

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OK, you can talk all you want to about how maudlin and mopey Morrissey is. But the Moz is Sammy Hagar on Viagra compared to the early Bee Gees. Holy mackeral! The early Bee Gees had lyrics that sound like they were written by a teenager in a mental ward, backed by arrangements so syrupy and overdone you can drown in ’em. And damn if I’m not a big fan of all these severely depressing ballads. No irony at all in my love. OK, I do laugh from time to time at how totally HEAVY these songs are. But I still dig ’em.

“I Started a Joke” is one of the best and roll your eyes all you want to, it takes balls of steel to pull off lyrics like “I finally died … which started the whole world living.” Seriously, I understand the temptation to be a d–k and laugh at this, but those haunting chords and despairing vocals draw me in every time. Bastards!

Brilliantly used at the end of the very odd 1989 Arthur Penn comedy “Penn and Teller Get Killed.”