Shocking Blue is a now-defunct classic rock band from The Hague, Netherlands, known for their international hit single “Venus”during the early 70s music era; in the States it went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Although they notched other hits, they are mostly considered as a one hit wonder especially in the States. A little more about Shocking Blue here in this article.
Formation and early career
Shocking Blue was founded by Dutch musician Robbie van Leeuwen in 1967. The lineup originally consisted of van Leeuwen (guitar), Fred DeWilde (lead vocals), Klassje van der Wal (bass), and Cornelius Van der Beek (drums). A year after their formation the group enjoyed a minor homeland hit with “Lucy Brown is Back in Town.”
Worldwide hit with “Venus”
De Wilde left the group and was replaced with a sultry female singer Mariska Veres as their new lead vocalist. Her beauty, sexy presence as well as solid singing finally brought the band to their first big hit in their county “Send Me a Postcard.”
In late 1969 Shocking Blue released their next single “Venus” which was written by van Leeuwen. It eventually went all the way to #3 in the Netherlands. In 1970 the group went on to sign with American producer Jerry Ross’ own label Colossus Records.
By February 1970 “Venus” topped the US Billboard Hot 100, and had already sold over a million copies in the US alone. The huge sales of the single helped “Venus” to receive a gold record.
“Venus” also went to #1 in several countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Switzerland and Spain. Around that time, it had already sold over five million copies.
To date, “Venus” has sold over 13 million copies worldwide.
Later career, split and reunion
Shocking Blue went on to release other singles “Mighty Joe,” “Long and Lonesome Road,” “Never Marry a Railroad Man,” and “Serenade,” none of them reached the massive success that “Venus” did especially on the US charts, although they also made the lower rungs of the Hot1 100. Despite that, Shocking Blue remained popular in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
The group disbanded in 1974 as Veres quit to start her singing career. She went on to score her solo hits such as “Take Me High” and “Lovin’ You.”
Shocking Blue staged a comeback in 1979, 1980 and 1984; of course, they would include “Venus” in their live performances.
Veres died of cancer in 2006, aged 59.
“Venus” was covered by the British pop dance girl duo Bananarama in 1986. They brought “Venus” back to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 that same year.
Grunge rock trio Nirvana covered one of Shocking Blue’s earliest singles “Love Buzz” and released as their debut single in 1988. It also appeared in their debut album Bleach. The Progidy also covered “Love Buzz” in 2004 but named it instead as “Phoenix.”