Skip to comments.Original "Venus" singer Mariska Veres dies
Posted on 12/04/2006 11:24:35 PM PST by bd476
The Dutch Band, Shocking Blue was the group that made "Venus" a hit in 1970.
The singer was Shocking Blue's sultry lead singer, Mariska Veres, who passed away two days ago.
Rest in peace Mariska.
The Hague (ANTARA News) - Mariska Veres, singer for the Dutch group Shocking Blue who had a worldwide hit with their song "Venus" in 1970, died Saturday aged 59, Dutch media reported.
Veres died from cancer. In 1970 "Venus" reached the top of the American music charts but Shocking Blue did not have any other success that matched their big hit. The group split up in 1974.
Their song "Venus" would go on to make it to number one in the American Billboard chart two more times: in 1981 by cover band Stars on 45 and in 1986 in a version by girlband Bananarama.
In the late 1980s Shocking Blue also served as an inspiration for grunge band Nirvana who covered the band's song "Love Buzz" on their 1989 debut album Bleach. (*)
In 1968, Mariska Veres (b. October 1, 1947 d. December 2, 2006)  replaced Fred de Wilde as lead singer. Wikipedia
The Shocking Blue Story
Robbie van Leeuwen, guitarist, songwriter and effectively leader of Shocking Blue, had previously held a similar position in the Motions in their early hit making phase. Those hits included 'It's Gone', 'Wasted Words' (a paean to Dr. Martin Luther King), 'Every Step I Take' and 'Everything That's Mine' the latter one of the finest slices of Mod/Art Pop produced anywhere in the world.
The Shocking Blue story effectively started when Van Leeuwen left the Motions in 1967 due to conflicts with lead singer Rudy Bennett. He recruited members from other Hague bands for his new group: the line-up for the first Shocking Blue singles, up to and including the first hit, 'Lucy Brown Is Back In Town', was Van Leeuwen (guitar), Fred de Wilde (vocals), Klaasje van de Waal (bass) and Cor van Beek (drums). The single charted well, things were about to change.
About the same time as Lucy Brown's release, fellow Hague band Golden Earring had hit the jackpot with the pure bubblegum of 'Dong Dong Di Ki Di Gi Dong'. A band was hired to play at the party they held to celebrate their first Number 1; named the Bumble Bees, they were fronted by a strong and striking female vocalist. Shocking Blue's manager and publisher both attended the party, and both felt certain this singer would be ideal for their band. The woman in question was Mariska Veres.
The new line-ups' first single, 'Send Me A Postcard', was a runaway success in the Netherlands, while the follow-up 'Long Lonesome Road', also made the domestic Top 20. But it was the third single with Veres that would seal the band's fate. 'Venus' made Number 3 in Holland, but significantly topped the charts in several countries, including Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
The record came to the attention of a newly formed American record label, Colossus. The label's head Jerry Ross signed Shocking Blue for the States and was rewarded when 'Venus' hit the top there in February 1970. Ross also signed two other Dutch acts, the Tee Set (formed by former After Tea singer Peter Tetteroo) and the George Baker Selection: the Tee Set's 'Ma Belle Amie' also rose high in the US charts to Number 5, while Baker's biggest hit for Colossus, 'Little Green Bag', was later used on the soundtrack of the 90s film "Reservoir Dogs".
Shocking Blue's follow-up to 'Venus', 'Mighty Joe', made Number 1 in Holland and charted almost everywhere its predecessor had. But the international success 'Venus' had appeared to herald failed to materialise. Although the band was still releasing excellent and often innovative singles and still charting in Europe, Van Leeuwen was dissatisfied and increasingly frustrated by the limits of Shocking Blue's chart success. When mainland European bands once again returned in vogue on the back of ABBA's Eurovision victory, the band failed to capitalise and eventually split.
Mariska Veres continued as a solo singer, Van Leeuwen producing her on songs like 'Too Young' and 'Loving You' (both included as bonus tracks on this compilation), he also enjoyed local success in the mid-Seventies with a group, Galaxy Lin.
But Shocking Blue returned to the fray, albeit for one night only, in 1984 at a Back to the Sixties festival in Den Bosch along with the surviving members of Q65, the Shoes and members of other Hague groups. It proved to be a night to remember: Van Leeuwen still had style, and Veres still had one of the greatest female rock voices: the band's interpretations of Jefferson Airplane's 'Somebody To Love' and 'White Rabbit' were just as strong as their own songs.
The continuing interest in Sixties music, along with the realisation that bands whose mother tongue is not English are as musically valid as British, American and Antipodean acts, has led to an increasing appreciation of Shocking Blue's music. Their songs receive radio and club play, while bands have also covered the songs: the most significant re-recording came from grunge supergroup Nirvana, whose debut release on the Sub Pop label was a version of 'Love Buzz' that's rather different to the one you hear here. 'Venus', meanwhile, has proved to have a life of its own. It's been used in television advertisements, while Bananarama's version equalled the original chart position in the US in 1986.
Photos of the band indicate that Shocking Blue seems to trade on Veres' striking, essentially female appearance. Yet it fails to smack of exploitation simply because of the sheer power of the woman. Much has been made of her ancestry - part-German, part-Hungarian Gypsy, and the resulting dark, sultry features. Here was a woman in control. Her voice had and still has a strength and quality that puts her on a par with other powerful female contemporaries like Julie Driscoll and Grace Slick. Maybe the time has come to acknowledge this fact as we enjoy a collection of Shocking Blue classics.
She looks like Joan Collins.
... we made it out alive ,
RIP , ... the performing arts , wwHOa
Thanks for posting this.
I'm sure I still have the 45 up in the attic. Good song. Never got sick of it.
... La Lunch wasn't on my sHHedyooWall , ... her nailBra gives me the ouchies , but I dieGRESS ,[sheeesh , time for bed , lots of cop sirens , and cops "twampin" on their gas pedals , they're lookin' for somebody,... but I dieGRESS , g'noght , LOL!!}
"Mariska Veres, a lead vocalist of The Shocking Blue, for many years was to me a mysterious beauty with great unique voice. I knew almost nothing about her until recent time, when due to my Shocking Blue site I got accounted with several hard to die Shocking Blue fans from Holland and Germany.
Thanks to them, I learned a lot about Mariska and Shocking Blue and would like to share my knowledge with those who want to know more about Mariska.
Mariska was born in Hague, Holland, and still lives there. Mariska, half-Hungarian and half-German, had often sung with her father, Lajos Veres, who played violin in a gypsy orchestra. She recorded the solo singles called "Topkapi"(1965) and "Dag en nacht" (1967) and had gained experience singing with different groups before she joined Shocking Blue. How did she meet Shocking Blue?
In 1968 Shocking Blue's manager and music publisher attended a party celebrating the success of Golden Earring's first number one song in Holland. A band known as the Bumble Bees, fronted by the strong and striking female singer, performed at the party, and the two men thought she would be a perfect addition to Shocking Blue. Robbie van Leeuwen, leader and founder of Shocking Blue, was immediately impressed by her vocal style, quite different from most local singers of the day. When Mariska was asked to join the Shocking Blue, she requested that they (the band members) would not start any relationships with her except professional one.
She replaced de Wilde as a lead singer and, no doubt, became the eye- and ear-catching attraction of the band; her soul-tingled voice gave the music a distinct R&B sound.
Mariska obviously was an attraction for many fans of SB. It's easy to imagine how many men and boys had fallen in love with Mariska, with her mystic aura, enigmatic smile, and long black hair (which was, sadly to say, a wig).
People, mostly men of course, saw her a sex-symbol, which she was, but she could never cope with it. It was a disappointment for many of her fans when in the late seventies she got rid of her sexy image starting to wear long dresses and relatively short haircut.
In spite of her fantastic look Mariska was a pretty shy, a little naive person. She could not really deal with the snobbish Robbie: once he shouted at her, she started to cry and phoned her mother, who in return called their manager.
Sounds silly, but Mariska was surely not the wild woman everybody thought she was. Mariska also was "famous" for her lifestyle: she never smoked and she did not like alcohol. During those days of "sex, drugs, and rock and roll", when SB toured the world, Mariska's most favorite drink was tea.
After Shocking Blue disbanded Mariska started her solo career, which was not successful. She recorded a dozen of solo singles but the singles did not score well although most of them sounded (and still sound) great. Probably, she was not motivated enough, lacked a good manager, and luck was not on her side.
In 1978 Mariska was featured in a single "Neon City" recorded by Mistral (Robbie's group at that time). In 1979 Robbie was planning to reunite the group. They even recorded a single called "Louise" as a part of their come back project, but for some reasons this was cancelled and "Louise" was never released. Robbie van Leeuwen said in an interview that Mariska was the only reason the come back was off, but never said why. Probably, Mariska was just fed up with all the attention and was just overworked. Maybe because of this she does not like to recall the 70's. In the late 80's she performed with her group "Veres".
In the early 90's she appeared on stage with The Clarks, and, in my opinion, their performances together were great. Mariska also sang with several jazz musicians, and even recorded CD with four jazz musicians in 1993 (Mariska Veres Shocking Jazz Quintet). In the fall of 1993 she founded a new band and, with Robbie's permission, called it Shocking Blue. They recorded a single "Body And Soul" (1994), which was produced by Robbie.
Mariska is still "in the picture" every now and then: a few months ago she was a special guest in a "back to the seventies" music show on Dutch TV, and she sang "Never Marry A Railroad Man", "Venus" and "Somebody To Love" of Jefferson Airplane. She is still performing all over the Netherlands with her Shocking Blue Band, and she is still one of the most popular singers in Holland.
Mariska's never been married and has no children. She likes cats very much. Her favorite beverage is still tea. She likes to eat cakes and other tasty food.
In interviews Mariska always mentions that she is not a person who looks back in time and feels fine nowadays. In her very personal interview to Belgian magazine "Flair"(1996) Mariska speaks, among the other topics, about the loss of her beauty and her not too sociable behavior during the Shocking Blue time: "I was just a painted doll, nobody could ever reach me...Nowadays I am more open to people".
Mariska has become a really friendly, nice person. She seems to be a satisfied woman now, she makes jokes with the interviewers, something she would have never had done in the seventies.
In her recent interview on TV Mariska declared she intended to go on singing as long as she feels like it, and as long as people would want her to.
And we want!!!
Happiness and good luck to you, Mariska!"
"NOTE: This page is based on the information sent to me by several Shocking Blue fans. I would like to thank all of them, and especially, Theo Lemaire and Frans van Hercules. "
Fan Site: Shocking Blue Mariska Veres
You Tube: Shocking Blue Mariska Veres "Venus"
They ruined a good epitaph with that leftist psycho-drivel.
'Photos of the band indicate that Shocking Blue seems to trade on Veres' striking, essentially female appearance. Yet it fails to smack of exploitation simply because of the sheer power of the woman.'
Mariska Veres was a reluctant sex symbol. She was blessed with an incredibly soulful voice and natural good looks. From her videos, she comes across as distant, cool, removed and almost shy.
Prior to fronting the group "Shocking Blue" she had sung with other groups, including her Father who played in a gypsy orchestra.
Apparently she didn't drink alcohol, take drugs nor have anything but professional relationships with the band members.
You Tube: Shocking Blue Venus
Ya know what, there is a resemblance. But Mariska Veres was naturally pretty underneath her wig and make-up and she was a lot younger than Joan Collins.
The first linked video of Mariska Veres singing "Mighty Joe" was filmed outside in good lighting. It is probably their best video, although the song didn't top the charts as did their big hit "Venus".
YouTube: Shocking Blue Mariska Veres Mighty Joe
YouTube: Shocking Blue Mariska Veres Venus
You're welcome Lancey. The song was hot and so was the band. I have been a fan of Dutch groups since I first heard The George Baker Selection, then Tee Set, Golden Earring and then Shocking Blue.
Sad she died so young. Until these pictures, I never knew for sure if the singer was a woman or a high-pitched male.
Over the years, the chorus lyrics have confused many a listener who thought they sang "I'm your fetus" and a smaller few who thought they sang "I'm your penis".
In 1969, that would have been both shocking and blue.
The girls in Bananarama (one of which is married to Andrew Ridgely, the other guy in Wham!) ought to thank God every morning for "Venus" because it saved them from being a one-hit wonder. If not for "Venus" and "Cruel Summer," Bananarama would be at the top of my list of the lamest groups ever. I still want an audit to see if there actually were people who bought 45s of "Robert DeNiro's Waiting" that didn't work for their record label.
I don't know much about Dutch music, but I always enjoyed the music of Bo Hansson. He was from Sweden. I still have his 'Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings' and 'Magician's Hat' albums. They came out in the early '70s and I found them when I was looking for more 'Tubular Bells'-type music back then.
LOL we sang the latter
I also was unfamiliar with the details of the group. I always thought it was a male singer.