The Shocking Blue was a male-female Dutch rock band formed in The Hague that became famous during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This band is best remembered for the catchy and hard-driving "Venus" which became a top hit worldwide. The Shocking Blue's unique sound came from its inventive instrumental arrangements and the powerhouse vocals of lead singer Mariska Veres whose style is often compared to that of Grace Slick.
The Shocking Blue was founded in 1967 by Robbie van Leeuwen (guitar, sitar, and backing vocals) who served as the band's main songwriter. The original members also consisted of Fred de Wilde (lead vocals), drummer Cor van der Beek (June 6, 1948 - April 2, 1998), and bass guitarist Klaasje van der Wal (February 1, 1949 - February 12, 2018). The band had its first hit in 1968 with "Lucy Brown Is Back in Town" which made the Top 40 in the Netherlands. After de Wilde left in 1968, Mariska Veres (October 1, 1947 - December 2, 2006) took over as lead vocalist. The band's international fame took off in late 1969 with the van Leeuwen-penned "Venus" which reached #3 in the Netherlands and shot to the top of the charts in many other countries.
The Shocking Blue made its U.S. debut in December 1969 on the Pop/Rock charts with "Venus," a powerful rocker with psychedelic lyrics and a melody based on "The Banjo Song" by The Big 3. This smash, which topped the charts the following year for three weeks, went on to sell over 7.5 million copies worldwide and became a Gold record. The band had a Top 40 hit later in 1970 with "Mighty Joe" which was followed by "Long And Lonesome Road" (1970), "Never Marry A Railroad Man" (1971), and "Serenade" (1971). The Shocking Blue continued its long string of hits outside the U.S. in Europe, Latin America, and Asia to 1974.
After the band split in 1974, Mariska Veres went on to pursue a solo career and The Shocking Blue reunited several times over the years. The band had one final entry in 1990 on the U.K. charts with "Venus '90," a remake of its signature song. "Venus" became one of very few songs in pop/rock history to top the charts more than once with different performers when Bananarama took the song once again to #1 in 1986. Other songs by The Shocking Blue that were later covered by other bands and artists include "Love Buzz" which Nirvana recorded in 1988 as its debut single.
- The Independent remembers lead singer Mariska Veres.
- God's Jukebox remembers bassist Klaasje van der Wal.
- Find A Grave remembers drummer Cornelis "Cor" van der Beek.
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The Shocking Blue
- Venus 1969
(This power pop song, which was written by Robbie van Leeuwen, topped the charts and later also became a hit for Bananarama (1986).)
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