One Song Story: Shocking Blue - Venus / Shocking Blue - Shizgara (1969)
Young people who today hear the strange word "shizgara" are unlikely to be able to feel the topic. But for music connoisseurs of a more mature age, this magic word is associated with a legendary era in music. At the end of the last century, from any basements, gathering places for nugget guitarists, badly tuned instruments were heard playing popular tunes.
Do you understand what we are talking about? Of course, about a fragment of the song "Venus" by the Dutch from the group "Shocking Blue". No one understood English in the Soviet countries, the recordings of foreign performers were often rewritten many times, inevitably losing sound quality, and besides, Mariska Veresh performed “Venus” for the first time intuitively, without learning English. That is why the unremarkable phrase "she's got it" was heard by music lovers as an incomprehensible, but attractive "shizgar".
How the song was created Venus "Shizgara"?
The music and lyrics were written by Robbie van Leeuwen, guitarist and frontman of Shocking Blue. To be honest, the motive was not original - it was taken from the composition "The Banjo Song", which was sung by "The Big 3" (there was the soloist "Mama" Cass Elliot until the transition to "The Mamas & the Papas").
And this is not the end of the story: "The Big 3" took the song "Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Foster, who was also known as "Banjo on My Knee".
The author took the legendary guitar riff that opens the song from the composition "Pinball Wizard", which sounded in the rock opera "Tommy" by The Who. Although, despite such a long history of processing, there were no scandals related to accusations of plagiarism.
The composition was recorded as a single at the end of 1969, and by February 1970, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 list. Generally speaking, a solid circulation was sold on the world market, about eight million copies.
The composition "Venus" turned out to be the most popular in the work of the "Shocking Blue" group, despite the fact that it was clearly not the only one worthy of the guys. The team had a lot of good songs, and they cannot be ignored. However, this is not now and not here.
Interesting facts about the song
- In Holland, where the members of Shocking Blue were born, the song can hardly be called an absolute hit - it took only the third position in the rating - and then after it became widely known in other countries and was re-released several times.
- In 1986, the song was covered by members of the English trio Bananarama, and in this variation the song also became the leader of the American hit list.
- Mariska Veres made a mistake at the very beginning: in the first line she changed "goddess" ("goddess") with an incomprehensible mythical "godness". Her lack of knowledge of English, of course, gave a certain charm to the sound.
- Before Shocking Blue, there were no bands in Holland that could top the US music charts.
- The composition "Venus" has been used for many years in commercials for women's razor brand "Venus", produced by the well-known company "Gillette".
- Russian writer Sergei Soloukh named one of his novels "Shizgara". The book is about Soviet hippies.
- For many years, the program with the name "Shizgara" was broadcast on the radio station "Our Radio".