Shocking Blue: the history of the legendary band
Shocking Blue is a Dutch rock band formed in The Hague in 1967. Throughout its history, Shocking Blue has released several world-famous hits in a psychedelic style, including "Send Me a Postcard", "Love Buzz" and the cult track "Venus", which has subsequently been recorded over a hundred covers! The song about Venus became a huge timeless hit! In the late 60s and early 70s, this composition was in the lead in a number of countries around the world. Already by the first half of the 70s, the group had sold a stunning circulation of records - more than 13 million! However, in 1974, the promising team ceased to exist ... There were attempts to revive the group, but nothing good came of it.
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Shocking Blue is a Dutch rock band from The Hague, whose name many know thanks to the song "Venus". In the 70s this song was a big hit coming from every receiver around the world! Domestic listeners fell in love with her as an incendiary "Shizgara" thanks to an easily remembered chorus ... In the winter of 1970, the track became the leader of the Billboard Hot 100.
The group was born at the end of the 60s of the last century. The founder was Robbie van Leeuwen, who previously played in The Atmospheres, Motions, The Ricochets... The name "Shocking Blue" was inspired by the work of Eric Clapton, or rather his composition "Strange Brew".
At that time, Mariska Veresh performed with the Bumble Bees, and was seen by the manager of Shocking Blue at one of the parties. A very young, charming and unambiguously talented vocalist immediately captivated the professional ear ... It was decided that she would be an impeccable addition to the freshly baked team.
Mariska had a beautiful voice... She often performed with her father in a gypsy orchestra. Before Shocking Blue, the girl managed to record her own single, as well as gain experience performing with various bands of that time ... Her multifaceted and clear vocals, no doubt, became a magnet for the public. She attracted viewers and listeners all over the world, captivating them with her powerful energy... She also gave the sound of Shocking Blue the motives of rhythm and blues with oriental shades of the Indian sitar...
Robbie van Leeuwen once said:
“... As soon as Mariska appeared, our music began to sparkle with new colors! Everything immediately spun, we became popular! Venus is one of our first singles and became a legendary hit!”
The history of music has seen many magnificent works, the popularity of which does not fade over time, but on the contrary, flourishes ... And the composition "Venus", performed by the beautiful Mariska Veres back in 1969, is one of such creations! Today, this dynamic song is a vivid personification not only of the Shocking Blue group itself, but of an entire era! This is the popular Oldies number one hit in the US and many other countries, which is still actively broadcast on the air to this day! For the Shocking Blue team, this song became a happy ticket to the Olympus of glory ...
It may seem strange to many listeners today, but then, in the late 60s, the popularity of the song on American radio stations was very slow ... It took two and a half months for "Venus" to take 91st place on the Record World singles chart ... At the end the song peaked at number 21. However, with the advent of the new decade, the melodic "Venus" reached the first line in the American chart! It soon topped a number of other countries, becoming a big hit! In total, about 8 million copies of the record with the single were sold (only in Germany, 350 thousand copies were sold)! Subsequently, the track received gold status and became a favorite object for recording covers among many famous and not so artists…
Curiously, "Venus" remained the leader in the US for three whole weeks! It was a record for a song from the Netherlands... At the same time, in the homeland of the group, the song took first place... An interesting fact: the characteristic guitar riff was taken from the composition "Pinball Wizard" by The Who.
The young American company Colossus liked the track, and its head Jerry Ross signed a contract with Shocking Blue. It was a great decision, because soon the composition became the leader of the US charts.
The team was adored not only at home, but also far beyond its borders! Shocking Blue was a commercial success in France and Japan. Their next single "Mighty Joe", like its predecessor, was at the top of the world charts!
Robbie was not at all against the fact that the band's albums were supplemented with a couple of first-class covers of old and beloved hits. He himself said more than once that he experienced too much work when writing new compositions:
“We did everything in our power ... But every time the DJs of the radio stations demanded something new, fresh ... This led to the fact that we were forced to dilute our albums with covers of other people's hits ... It was very difficult for me. Sometimes I just couldn’t compose new things alone…”
Shocking Blue toured not only in their homeland, but also in other parts of the world such as Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong and South America. The group continued to delight fans with wonderful records, but ... with each album, Robbie was more and more immersed in his depression. He was depressed by the fact that the success of the collective in some way was always limited. Soon a bone of contention settled in the group ...
Shocking Blue was the first to leave Klaasche. He was replaced by Henk Smitskamp, but this did not save the future of the team ... In 1973, van Leeuwen himself left the line-up, and Martin van Wijk took his place. The new leader made his own rules. Fascinating earlier with oriental magic, the new sound has acquired shades of glam rock and funk.
If without Robbie Shocking Blue still somehow held on, then with the departure of Mariska, the end of the group was obvious ... Actually, that's what happened. In 1975, the last single of the once promising band was released called "Gonna Sing My Song" ...
In the late 1970s, Robbie tried to revive his offspring, and the composition "Louise" even gave fans hope! But ... the release of the track did not contribute to the reunion of the band.
In addition to "Venus" by Shocking Blue, a lot of great songs were released, some of which we decided to recall! All of them are presented below. Happy listening...
"Send Me a Postcard"
"Long and Lonesome Road"
"Out of Sight, Out of Mind"
"Rock in the Sea"
The tragic ending of Mariska Veres...
Having not achieved success in her solo career, in the first half of the 80s, Mariska assembled a new line-up of Shocking Blue (Leuwen allowed her to keep the name for herself). The track "Body And Soul" was released, and several concerts were organized as part of the "Back-to-the-Sixties" festival.
Unfortunately, the life of the sweet-voiced beauty of the 70s was cut short too soon ... On December 2, 2006, the world was shocked by the tragic news: the legendary performer of "Shizgara" died of cancer ... How could this terrible diagnosis overtake the one who had never drunk or smoked in her life, and even more so, she didn’t indulge in drugs - it still remains a mystery ...
Upon learning of her fatal illness, Mariska Veres chose to hide it from the public. The once popular and charming Shocking Blue vocalist passed away quietly at the age of 59.
Veres didn't have a mansion with a large swimming pool. A sensible resident of The Hague has never seen the value in luxury. Sound sleep, animals and the love of loved ones - this is what the very girl who sang “Shizgara” in the distant 70s really appreciated ...
- Mariska Veres' surprisingly eye-catching long black hair is actually a wig.
- In 1986 Bananarama covered the hit "Venus" and hit number one on the US chart! In the United Kingdom, the cover entered the top 10 of the greatest hits ...
- Nirvana's very first single was a cover of "Love Buzz".
- In total, the team released 11 albums.
- Drummer Cor van der Beek died in April 1998 at the age of 49 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.