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Shocking Blue

Shocking Blue was a Dutch rock band from The Hague, the Netherlands, formed in 1967. Their biggest hit, "Venus", went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970, and the band had sold 13.5 million discs by 1973, but the group disbanded in 1974 because Mariska Veres wished to start a solo career.

Shocking Blue was founded in 1967 by Robbie van Leeuwen. The group had a minor hit in 1968 with "Lucy Brown is Back in Town". After Mariska Veres took over the vocals, the group charted a world-wide hit with the song "Venus", which peaked at No. 3 in the Netherlands in 1969. The song reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970. It subsequently sold 350,000 copies in Germany, and topped the U.S. chart for three weeks, the first song from the Netherlands to do so. It sold over one million copies there by January 1970, and received a gold record awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America. Global sales exceeded five million copies. The song was based on "The Banjo Song" (1963) by The Big 3.

Other hits include "Send Me a Postcard" in 1968/69 and "Long and Lonesome Road" (often mistakenly named as "Long Lonesome Road") in 1969. Shocking Blue's songs also received quite a large amount of radio airplay on Dutch channels.

"Venus" was followed by "Mighty Joe" (flip-side "Wild Wind") in 1969 and "Never Marry a Railroad Man" (flip-side "Roll Engine Roll") in 1970, which both sold over a million records. Later songs - including "Hello Darkness" (1970), "Shocking You", "Blossom Lady" and "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" (1971), "Inkpot", "Rock in the Sea" and "Eve and the Apple" (1972) and "Oh Lord" (1973) were successful in Europe, Latin America and Asia, but failed to chart in the U.S..

In 1974 Mariska Veres left the group to start a solo career until 1982. Her singles "Take Me High" (1975) and "Lovin' You" (1976) were mainly popular in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Other known singles were "Tell It Like It Is" (1975), Dusty Springfield's "Little By Little" (1976), and "Too Young" (1978). Most of these songs today are rare.

Shocking Blue made a comeback in 1979, and recorded "Louise" as their first single since their breakup back in 1974. However, the song was never released for unknown reasons. They did however, perform live with their earliest songs such as "Venus" and "Never Marry a Railroad Man" in 1980. They made another comeback in 1984, and later recorded "Jury and the Judge" with "I Am Hanging on to Love" on B-side, and yet another unreleased song "Time Is a Jetplane" in 1986.

Bananarama covered “Venus” in 1986, hitting number one in the US and the UK Top 10 (#8). Nirvana covered the Shocking Blue song "Love Buzz" as their debut single in 1988, and it also appeared on their 1989 album Bleach.

Mariska Veres died of cancer on 2 December 2006.


Before the breakthrough of "Venus," the group had a minor hit in 1968 with "Lucy Brown Is Back In Town". Once Mariska Veres took over the vocals bigger hits followed:
The group charted a world-wide hit with the song "Venus," which reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970. Initially the disc was a big hit in the Netherlands, where it reached #3 in the summer of 1969.It subsequently sold 350,000 copies in Germany, and topped the U.S. chart for three weeks, becoming the Netherlands first American #1 hit. It sold over one million copies there by January 1970, and received a gold disc awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America. Global sales exceeded five million copies.
Other hits include "Send Me A Postcard" in 1968/69 and "Long and Lonesome Road" (often mistakenly named as Long Lonesome Road) in 1969. "Hot Sand", the flip-side of "Venus" was also heavily plugged on Dutch radio.
Many more Dutch hits followed including "Mighty Joe" in 1969/70. This was the group's second million seller. In 1970 "Never Marry a Railroad Man" (flip-side "Roll Engine Roll"), their third to sell over one million and "Hello Darkness". In 1971 there followed "Shocking You", "Blossom Lady" and "Out of Sight Out of Mind". In 1972 came "Inkpot" and "Rock in the Sea"; plus "Eve and the Apple" in 1972/73 and finally "Oh Lord" in 1973. None of these latter songs charted in the U.S.
In 1974 female lead singer Mariska Veres left the group to start a solo career. Her only solo hit was "Take Me High" in 1975. From the 1990s, Veres toured with a new group under the Shocking Blue banner, with permission of her former bandmates. On December 2, 2006 Dutch news service ANP reported that Veres had died from cancer at 59.

 

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