(Read all about Shocking Blue after the video)
Shocking Blue was a Dutch rock band, formed in The Hague in 1967. The band spawned a number of psychedelic rock hits throughout the counterculture movements era during the 1960s and early 1970s, including Never Marry a Railroad Man, Mighty Joe, Love Buzz, Blossom Lady, Inkpot and "Venus". The latter became their biggest hit and went to No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and many other countries during 1969 and 1970.
The band had sold 13.5 million discs by 1973, but the group disbanded in 1974, when the hippie, flower power and other counterculture movements around the world began to decline in the mid-1970s.
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 Fred de Wilde left in 1968, Mariska Veres took over the vocals and the group charted a world-wide hit with the song "Venus", which peaked at No. 3 in the Netherlands in the fall of 1969. The song was released in America and Great Britain at the end of the year, and it 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, the latter also become a top ten hit in several countries around the world. Latter 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 both Robbie Van Leeuwen and later Mariska Veres left the group, leading to their split. Veres started 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.
Mariska Veres died of cancer on 2 December 2006.
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