Bert Ruiter in the group "Earth and Fire"

Text kindly sent by Paul Barrington

Jerney Kaagman and Bert Ruiter in 1990The group Earth and Fire (originally Opus Gainfull) was founded in 1968 in the Hague by the Koerts twins, Chris (vocals, guitar; ex-Swinging Strings) and Gerard (guitar and keyboards, also ex-Swinging Strings); bassist Hans Ziech (ex-Soul), drummer Cees Kalis, and Lisette on vocals. All of them had had prior experience in music. Lisette soon became ill and had to leave the band; she was replaced by Jerney Kaagman in 1969. Kaagman had only sung in school bands prior to joining.

Kalis was also replaced - by Ton van der Kleij (drums, ex-Summer) - in the following year. It was this line up of the band that supported Golden Earring on their tour. (George Kooymans landed Golden Earring their first hit in January 1970 with "Seasons"). With Chris Koerts as the principal songwriter, the band forged ahead with new original material. "Ruby is the one" and "Wild and exiting" became enormous hits in the groupís homeland. Their newfound success instantly brought so many booking requests that the band decided to turn professional. An unbreakable string of very successful hits followed with "Invitation" (71), "Storm and Thunder" (71), "Memories" (72), "Maybe Tomorrow Maybe Tonight" (73), "Love of Life" (74), "Only Time Will Tell" (75), "Thanks For The Love" (75), "What Difference Does It Make" (76) and "7, 8th Avenue" (77), as the fans noticed the group's material deviating from the hard-edged progressive rock sound towards mainstream 70s pop.

The bandís early hit singles were distinguished by the heavy use of mellotron, and they are generally considered to be the best of the bunch in Holland, and abroad. With later LPs, Earth and Fire lost some of their charm, compared to the earlier days, by sounding increasingly more poppy, mainstream, and pretentious, thus gradually losing most of their popularity towards 1977. However, through the years, the band evolved, rather than lost its identity.

And then there were no more hitsÖ In 1978, drummer Van der Kleij was the first to leave, followed shortly by bassist Theo Hurts. They were replaced by Appie Tamboer and ex-Focus bassist Bert Ruiter (Jerney's new boyfriend) respectively. The band didnít play live much anymore, at the end of the 70s, and the demos for the new album were rejected by Jaap Eggermont, their producer. Earth and Fire then proceeded to switch their record labels from Polydor to Vertigo, with which they recorded and released 1979ís "Reality Fills Fantasy", produced by Gerrit Jan Leenders. This album, which was once deemed by Eggermont as "not having enough commercial potential", became the bandís greatest succes to date! The single, "Weekend", hit the top of the charts and stayed at No.1 for weeks, in several countries!

However, in early 1980, Chris Koerts left the band. His position was taken by Ronnie Meyes (previously with Brainbox). With him in the fold, the band recorded their significantly less successful "Andromeda Girl" (1981), but the followup, "In A State of Flux" (1982), scored fairly big! On this album, the group returned to their funkier roots. It combined punchy, concise, melodic rock with some symphonic arrangements, at last making an overdue comeback. "Twenty Four Hours", a song by Gerard Koerts, subsequently became a hit. The Spring of 1983 saw Earth and Fire reduced to a threesome. Meyes went on to join The Millionnaires, Tamboer, and Het Goede Doel.

The band finally split up at this stage, and didnít reform until 1987, with Ton Scherpenzeel (ex-Kayak) to record the powerful and popular comeback album "Phoenix" (1989), featuring the hit single, "French Word for Love". Meanwhile, brothers Koerts released an all-instrumental new age album, "Frames" (88).

Article taken from OOR's Eerste Nederlandse Pop Encyclopedie (OOR's First Dutch Pop Encyclopedia), 10th Anniversery Edition". ISBN 90-6882-237-3

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1969 	Seasons/Hazy paradise      			Polydor S 1335
1970 	Ruby is the one/Mechanical lover   		2050019
	Wild and exciting/Vivid shady land      	2050044
	LP Earth & Fire 				2441011
1971 	Invitation/Song of the marching children   	2050084
	Storm and thunder/Lost forever  		2050133
	LP Song of the marching children        	2925003
1972 	Memories/From the end till the beginning   	2050179
	LP Superstarshine vol.2 			2419029
1973 	Maybe tomorrow maybe tonight/Theme from Atlantis   
							2050242
	LP Atlantis     				2925013
1974	Love of life/Tuffy the cat 			2050322
	2LP Another time        		Warner Brothers 2WS 2798
1975 	Only time will tell/       		Polydor 2050359
	Thanks for the love/Excerpt from To the world of future 
							2050376
	LP To the world of future       		2925033
	LP The best     				2491004
1976 	What a difference does it make pt.1/Pt.2   	2050411
	LP The story of Earth & Fire    		2925044
1977 	Seven, Eighth Avenue/Dizzy raptures  		2050498
	LP Gate to infinity     			2925065
1979	LP Reality Fills Fantasy
1981	LP In A State of Flux
1982	LP Andromeda Girl
1989	LP Phoenix


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