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Shocking Blue was a Dutch rock band formed in The Hague in 1967. The band had a number of psychedelic rock hits throughout the counterculture movements era during the 1960s and early 1970s, including "Send Me a Postcard", "Love Buzz", and "Venus," the last of which became their biggest hit, and reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and many other countries during 1969 and 1970.
Shocking Blue in 1970
|Origin||The Hague, Netherlands|
(reunions: 1979, 1980, 1984)
The band had sold 13.5 million records by 1973 but disbanded in 1974.
Shocking Blue was founded in 1967 by Robbie van Leeuwen. Other members of the group at this time were Fred de Wilde, Klaasje van der Wal (1 February 1949 – 12 February 2018) and Cor van der Beek. The group had a minor hit in 1968 with "Lucy Brown is Back in Town". De Wilde left in 1968 after joining the Dutch army and van Leeuwen was introduced to Mariska Veres, singing at that time with a club band. He persuaded her to take over the vocals and the group charted a worldwide hit with the song "Venus", which peaked at No. 3 in the Netherlands in autumn 1969. The song was released in America and Great Britain at the end of the year and reached No. 1 on the US 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.
"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, both of which sold over a million records. The latter became a top-ten hit in several countries around the world. Later songs – including "Hello Darkness", "Demon Lover" (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 or U.K.
Klaasje van der Wal left towards the end of 1971, following their first trip to Japan (which spawned a live album). In 1974 Robbie Van Leeuwen quit and, later that year, Mariska Veres left, leading to the band's split. Veres enjoyed a solo career until 1982. Her singles "Take Me High" (1975) and "Lovin' You" (1976) were popular mainly in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. She also released the singles "Tell It Like It Is" (1975), a cover version of Dusty Springfield's "Little By Little" (1976), and "Too Young" (1978).
Shocking Blue reformed with its most famous line-up in 1979 and recorded "Louise" as their first single since their break-up in 1974. The song was never released, for reasons unknown. They did, however, perform live in 1980 with earlier songs such as "Venus" and "Never Marry a Railroad Man". They attempted another comeback in 1984 and recorded "The Jury and the Judge" with "I Am Hanging on to Love" as the B-side in 1986. That same year, they recorded another unreleased song, "Time Is a Jetplane".
Drummer Cor van der Beek died on 2 April 1998, at the age of 49, in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Mariska Veres died of gallbladder cancer on 2 December 2006, at the age of 59 in The Hague, Netherlands. Bassist Klaasje van der Wal died on 12 February 2018 at the age of 69.
- Bananarama covered "Venus" in 1986, hitting number one in the United States and reaching the UK Top 10 (#8).
- Nirvana covered the song "Love Buzz" as their debut single in 1988, and it also appeared on their 1989 album Bleach.
- The Prodigy covered the song "Love Buzz" on their 2004 album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, retitling the song "Phoenix".
- Amy Gore & Her Valentines covered "Send Me a Postcard" in 2012 on the album In Love.
- Mint Royale remixed Shocking Blue's version of "Acka Raga" (itself a cover from John Mayer and Joe Harriott's Indo-Jazz Fusions song of the same title) for their 1999 track "From Rusholme with Love", featured in several films[which?] of the time.
- Gyllene Tider from Sweden, the band Roxette frontman Per Gessle headed in the late 70's and early 80's, covered "Send me a Postcard" as "Skicka ett vykort, älskling" (translated "Send a postcard, darling") on their 1980 debut album Gyllene Tider.
- The initial line-up consisted of
- Robbie van Leeuwen (guitar, sitar and backing vocals, 1967–1973)
- Fred de Wilde (vocals, 1967–1968)
- Klaasje van der Wal (bass guitar, 1967–1971; died 2018)
- Cor van der Beek (drums, 1967–1974; died 1998)
- Later members were
- Mariska Veres (vocals, 1968–1974; died 2006)
- Leo van de Ketterij (guitar, 1970–1971)
- Martin van Wijk (guitar, 1973–1974)
- Henk Smitskamp (bass guitar, 1972–1974)
- 1967 Shocking Blue (Polydor) also known as Beat with Us (German title) #31 US
- 1969 At Home (Pink Elephant)
- 1970 Scorpio's Dance (Pink Elephant) also known as Sally Was a Good Old Girl (Japanese title)
- 1971 Third Album (AKA Shocking You, Pink Elephant)
- 1972 Inkpot (Pink Elephant) – The official music of Mark Six
- 1972 Live in Japan (Pink Elephant)
- 1972 Attila (Pink Elephant) also known as Rock in the Sea (Japanese title)
- 1972 Eve and the Apple (Same as Attila with one different track, Polydor)
- 1973 Ham (Pink Elephant)
- 1974 Dream on Dreamer (Same as Ham, but with 3 different songs and 6 alternate versions, Polydor)
- 1974 Good Times (Pink Elephant)
|1967||Love Is in the Air / What You Gonna Do||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1968||Lucy Brown Is Back in Town / Fix Your Hair Darling||-||-||-||21||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1968||Send Me a Postcard / Harley Davidson||-||-||-||10||4||-||4||-||-||-|
|1969||Long and Lonesome Road / Fireball of Love||75||-||-||17||-||-||6||-||-||-|
|1969||Venus / Hot Sand||1||3||1||3||1||2||1||1||-||15|
|1969||Mighty Joe / Wild Wind||43||45||43||2||-||6||8||-||-||-|
|1970||Never Marry a Railroad Man / Roll Engine Roll||102||-||40||1||5||10||1||4||19|
|1970||Hello Darkness / Pickin' Tomatoes||-||-||-||4||-||-||-||-||12||-|
|1971||Shocking You / Waterloo||-||-||-||10||-||-||1||-||21||-|
|1971||Serenade / Sleepless at Midnight||110||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1971||Blossom Lady / Is This a Dream||-||-||-||2||-||-||-||-||3||-|
|1971||Out of Sight, Out of Mind / I Like You||-||-||-||6||6||-||-||-||5||-|
|1972||Inkpot / Give My Love to the Sunrise||-||-||-||5||-||21||1||-||4||-|
|1972||Rock in the Sea / Broken Heart||-||-||-||14||-||-||3||-||21||-|
|1972||Eve and the Apple / When I Was a Girl||-||-||-||15||-||-||1||-||18||-|
|1973||Let Me Carry Your Bag / I Saw You in June||-||-||-||-||-||-||2||-||-||-|
|1973||Oh Lord / In My Time of Dying||-||-||-||14||-||-||-||-||6||-|
|1974||This America / I Won't Be Lonely Long||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||16||-|
|1974||Dream on Dreamer / Where the Pick-Nick Was||-||-||-||-||-||-||4||-||-||-|
|1974||Good Times / Come My Way||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1975||Gonna Sing My Song / Get It On||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1980||Louise / Venus||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1986||The Jury and the Judge / I Am Hanging on to Love||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1990||Venus '90 (UK Only)||-||75||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|1994||Body and Soul / Angel||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
- 1969 Sensational Shocking Blue (Discofoon)
- 1971 Hello Darkness (Pink Elephant)
- 1972 The Shocking Blue, Perfect Collection (Polydor)
- 1972 The Best of Shocking Blue (Pink Elephant)
- 1973 Shocking Blue's Best (Metronome)
- 1973 With Love from... Shocking Blue (Capri)
- 1978 The Shocking Blue Double Deluxe (Polydor)
- 1980 Venus (Piccadilly)
- 1981 The Shocking Blue Greatest Hits (CNR)
- 1986 Best of Shocking Blue (CNR)
- 1986 Classics (21 Records)
- 1986 The Best of Shocking Blue (Victor)
- 1990 The Very Best of Shocking Blue (Red Bullet), (Arcade, 1993)
- 1990 Shocking Blue 20 Greatest Hits (Repertoire)
- 1990 Venus (Castle Communications AG)
- 1994 A Portrait of Shocking Blue (Castle)
- 1995 Shocking Blue The Golden Hits (Red Bullet)
- 1997 Singles A's and B's (Repertoire)
- 1997 Shocking Blue Grand Collection (A.R.O.)
- 1998 Shocking You (Laserlight)
- 2000 Shocking Blue Golden Collection 2000 (Lighthouse)
- 2000 All Gold of the World Shocking Blue (Mekkophone & Castle Communications)
- 2004 Shocking Blue Greatest Hits (Red Bullet)
- 2017 The Blue Box (Red Bullet)
- 2004 Greatest Hits Around the World (Red Bullet)
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 267 and 285. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Klaasje van der Wal, Haags popicoon, is overleden". Haag Media. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
- "Shocking Blue". Alex Gitlin. Retrieved 2010-07-21.
- "Hits of The World". Billboard. 1971-01-09. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
- "Mariska Veres, 59, Singer for Shocking Blue, Dies". The New York Times. 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
- "NewsObituaries Mariska Veres Singer with Shocking Blue". The Independent. 2006-12-05. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
- Matos, Michaelangelo (September 30, 2004). "Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned". Rolling Stone. 958: 190 – via Proquest.
- de Waard, Peter (8 March 2018). "De mooie jongen van Shocking Blue, die al in 1975 zijn gitaar in de wilgen hing". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 31 January 2019.