The Unfading Legacy of Shocking Blue Beyond 'Venus'

Published March 24, 2024

The Dutch rock band Shocking Blue, initially recognized globally for their classic hit 'Venus', is often misperceived in the United States as a one-hit wonder. However, they enjoyed a rich career with multiple chart-topping songs and a dedicated international fan base. Shocking Blue was comprised of lead guitarist and songwriter Robbie van Leeuwen, drummer Cor van der Beek, bassist Klaasje van der Waal, and iconic singer Mariska Veres. Today, van Leeuwen is the sole surviving member of this renowned four-piece lineup.

The Band's Formation and Rise to Fame

Formed from the remnants of the group The Motions, van Leeuwen set out to establish Shocking Blue in 1967, later recruiting Mariska Veres as the lead vocalist. Their breakthrough came with the global success of 'Venus' in 1969, shooting to the number one spot not just in America, but across numerous countries. Despite singing in English, the band members were native Dutch speakers—adding a layer of authenticity to the challenge Veres faced in mastering English lyrics.

Life on Tour and The Contrasting Reality

While performing, the band exuded a raw and magnetic charm, particularly noted in Veres’ powerful on-stage persona which belied her actual reserved and modest nature. Uncommon in the rock scene, Veres maintained a serene personal life, devoid of the excesses popularly associated with rock and roll, and remained deeply connected to her family.

Exploring the Band's Music and Influence

Often overlooked is the group’s musical versatility and the clear global influences in their work. Songs such as 'Send Me A Postcard' resonated with the sound of Jefferson Airplane, while others like 'Never Marry A Railroad Man' and 'I'll Follow The Sun' showcased influences spanning American blues to surf-rock vibes. Their skilled musicianship was palpable during live performances, reflecting their ability to capture the essence of rock in both studio recordings and raw live concerts.

The Aftermath of Shocking Blue

Despite the band's dissolution in 1974, their legacy has survived. Veres pursued a solo career and continued to be involved in music until her untimely death in 2006. The band's other members followed varied paths post-Shocking Blue, and while they did not replicate the band's zenith, their contributions have been memorialized in the music history of the 1970s.

However, in the U.S. much of Shocking Blue’s repertoire remains undiscovered, a treasure trove for classic rock aficionados waiting to be unearthed and fully appreciated. It goes without saying, Shocking Blue offers a surprising depth to their discography that extends far beyond 'Venus'.

legacy, influence, rock