Earth & Fire


In the village Voorschoten bassplayer Hans Ziech, drummer Kees Kalis, guitarist Chris Koerts and his brother Gerard Koerts (guitar and keyboards) formed a band Opus Gainfull in 1967. Later they were joined by female singer Manuela Berloth. In 1968 they changed the name to Earth & Fire. In 1969 Berloth left the band and was replaced by another female singer, Jerney Kaagman. In the same year they went on a tour with the Golden Earring. The guitarist of the Golden Earring, George Kooymans, wrote the song Seasons for Earth & Fire. It was recorded and become their first single. And their first hit.

In 1970 a second single was released, Ruby is the One, this time written by the Koerts brother. It became another hit, and the band started recording their first album with the help of producer Fred Haayen, who was also the producer of the Golden Earring. In the mean time Kees Kalis (he died in 2006) was replaced by Ton van de Kleij. Two more singles were released, that became hits as well.

A year later a second album was released, Song Of The Marching Children. It was a concept album with a side long epic song. It is about birth, life and death. The same time the band saw King Crimson and the Moody Blues and learnt about the mellotron. Especially Gerard Koerts liked the instrument and purchased one himself. This changed the sound of Earth & Fire, and can be first heard on the single Memories released in 1971.

Their next album, Atlantis, was again a concept album. This time about the rise and fall of a lost civilization. As with their previous albums, this one sold very well.

In 1974 Hans Ziech left the band, and his follow up was Theo Hurts. Ziech, however, remained writing lyrics for the band. Hurts can be heard on the album To The World Of The Future, released in 1975. A few more singles were released, none of them became hits.

Earth and Fire

Their fifth album, Gate To Infinity, was recorded with yet another bass player. This time it was former Focus member Bert Ruiter, who had replaced Theo Hurts. At the time Bert Ruiter was the boyfriend of singer Jerney Kaagman and later became her husband. There was also a new drummer, Ab Tamboer. It became clear that their fourth album was the last in the series of interesting progressive albums by this band. When their next single, Weekend, was released there was no further argument. It was a reggae tune ! Despite this, the album Reality Fills Fantasy, became the bands best selling album in the Netherlands.

On the bands next release, Andromeda Girl, co-founder Chris Koerts had left the band and was replaced by Ron Meyjes (ex-Brainbox). This album was, just as the previous, produced by Gerrit Jan Leenders. He was also the producer of Kayak. The link between these two bands became even more stronger when the also shared the same manager. This connection also led to the inclusion of  Kayak member Ton Scherpenzeel to the musicians list of their next album, In A State Of Flux. By this time the remaining Koerts brother, Gerard, had also left the band. Jerney Kaagman released two solo albums in the mid eighties and the Koerts brothers made two albums as the Earth and Fire Orchestra.

After the album had been released, Earth & Fire sort of ended. But because of a renewed interest in old bands, Earth & Fire did some reunion concerts with only Jerney Kaagman as an old time member. In 1989 there was even a new record released, Phoenix. But because it didn't sell much, this was the definitive end of Earth & Fire.

(sources: Oor Popencyclopedie, Nationaal Pop Instituut, Album sleeves, Nederpop)

Earth and Fire