Of all the one hit wonders, Shocking Blue’s Venus is one of my all-time favourites – one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, but only just.
one hit wonders
One hit wonder bands fascinate me. It’s easy to get the impression that this group of people got together, put out a song, hit #1 and then, just as quickly disbanded. It’s not usually like that at all.
Most one hit wonder bands have been around for years before finally peaking at #1 and spending the rest of their lives trying to emulate it… …it must be a frustrating existence.
Imagine playing a show where you know the crowd is there to hear just one song; you go through your repertoire but you know, they are just marking time until you sing the big one.
As an aside, I went to a concert like that once. American alternative band, Jars of Clay had just one hit at that time – Flood. The concert was great but ruined by the people who chanted “Flood, Flood, Flood” all night!
The may have been one hit wonders but Shocking Blue were active for seven years. They formed in The Netherlands in 1967 and disbanded in 1974. In that time they released an amazing elven albums and 22 singles.
The band reformed in 1979.
robbie and mariska
Shocking Blue was formed by Dutch guitarist Robbie van Leeuwen who wanted to form the Dutch equivalent of Jefferson Airplane, an American band who, in Robbie van Leeuwen’s words, “combined a hard edged rock style with a powerful and attractive female vocalist.” Now, that may seem rather far-fetched but, before you scoff, listen so some of Shocking Blue’s (or The Shocking Blue as they are rightfully named) other material. Check out the video at the bottom of the page for Send Me a Postcard – she and Grace Slick would have gotten on pretty well, me thinks!
The attractive female vocalist was Mariska Veres. When Shocking Blue split Mariska continued in the music industry singing jazz. She died, a victim of cancer, in 2006
shocking blue trivia
Nirvana’s first single release in 1988 was a cover of a Shocking Blue song, Love Buzz. It appeared on Nirvana’s 1989 album, Bleach.
- Released on October 2, 1969, Venus was a 1970 #1 hit in the US and six other countries across Europe.
- When Venus was recorded, Mariska Veres, the lead singer could not speak any English. She simply learned the words phonetically and sang them.
- Venus was re-released in 1986 by UK girl band, Bananarama. It went to #1 in six more countries, all different from first time around, except for the USA. Interestingly both versions of Venus peaked at #1 in the USA and #8 in the UK.
- Venus was produced by Jerry Ross, who also produced another Dutch group, Tee Set, who had a hit with a song called, Ma Belle Amie.
- Venus (Shocking Blue’s version) has appeared in the movies: The Brady Bunch Movie, Grumpier Old Men, and Remember the Titans; and on the television programmes; EastEnders, Full House, and Prison Break.
- On an episode of the cartoon Beavis And Butthead, Butthead makes up his own lyrics to Venus but gets frustrated when he can’t think of anything that rhymes with “Venus.”
- Cover versions have been numerous, including; Bananarama, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Victoria Beckham (as her audition for Spice Girls), Popstars, Tom Jones, and Jennifer Lopez.
- Venus lyrics.
Venus – Shocking Blue – 1970 – video
Send Me a Postcard – The Shocking Blue
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