Shocking Blue – Venus

If you get really bored…I’ve attempted to make an index/menu for the blog above with “All Songs from A-Z”, “TV Shows and Commercials”, and “Books and Documentaries”… I will be adding more categories as I go along. If you try it and something doesn’t work just shoot me a comment…thanks

The Shocking Blue weekend is coming to a close with their biggest hit… Venus. I want to thank everyone for the positive feedback on this forgotten band over the weekend. I like some of their other songs more than this one but it is a good song.

This is one of the first songs I remember hearing. I like Shocking Blue because of their powerful lead singer Mariska Veres and the songwriting of Robbie van Leeuwen. This was their huge #1 hit Venus and it peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1970.

The group’s guitarist Robbie Van Leeuwen wrote this song. The group is from The Netherlands, which led to an interesting translation problem when Shocking Blue lead singer Mariska Veres sang the English lyrics.

Van Leeuwen wrote the first line down incorrectly what was supposed to be “A goddess on the mountain top” he wrote as “A goddness (I checked and she does say goddness) on the mountain top,” and that’s exactly how Veres sang it. the result was a #1 hit with a misspoken first line thanks to a typo.

This is from http://www.oocities.org/ofmang/greg/shblbio.html

“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 to his label and was rewarded when “Venus” hit the top there in February of 1970. Needless to say the group was hugely successful at home and had some fifty hits in Holland while their records also sold well in France and Japan.

Shocking Blue’s follow-up to “Venus”, “Mighty Joe“, made Number 1 in Holland and charted almost everywhere as its predecessor had. “Never Marry a Railroad Man” also hit top of the Holland rock chart. They continued to chart with songs like “Hello Darkness”, “Shocking You”, “Long Lonesome Road”, “Blossom Lady”, and “Inkpot”, but neither of these songs reached higher than 43rd place in the American chart.

Shocking Blue successfully combined Beat and R&B with psychedelic elements of the time like Indian sitar and odd production techniques. Robbie didn’t mind if the band included a few covers, as it took the pressure off him to constantly come up with new material. “We wrote a lot of our own stuff and the radio DJs preferred us to do original songs, but we had so many albums to do the band had to fill in with a few covers. It was quite exhausting writing all the lyrics and song myself”.

For several months in 1970-1971 Leo van de Ketterij(guitar) played with the group.

Mariska, Robbie, Cor and Klaasje stayed together for three years while they toured the world, visiting such distant lands as Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and South America. Traveling facilities were primitive compared to the sort of luxury top groups expect today, and Shocking Blue had to cover vast distances cramped together in an uncomfortable station wagon. “We never expected to be so busy”, recalls Robbie. “The whole touring business just became too tough for me.”

From Songfacts

The female vocal trio Bananarama recorded this in 1986. It was one of the first songs they started performing when they formed the band in 1979, but they wanted to record original songs first so they would be taken seriously.

Their version was produced by the team of Stock, Aitken and Waterman, who worked on hits by Rick Astley (“Never Gonna Give You Up”), Dead or Alive (“You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”) and Kylie Minogue (“I Should Be So Lucky”).

The distinctive guitar riff was taken from The Who’s “Pinball Wizard.”

This was produced by Jerry Ross, who also produced another Dutch group, Tee Set, who performed “Ma Belle Amie”. Ross also produced an album of orchestral arrangements of his (primarily) Dutch stable of hits, under the name Jerry Ross Symposium. 

In the US, both this and the Bananarama cover version reached #1, making it one of the few songs to do so. Strangely, in the UK both Shocking Blue and Bananarama reached #8 with “Venus” and both spent 13 weeks on the chart with the song. 

On an episode of the MTV cartoon Beavis And Butthead, Butthead makes up his own lyrics to this but gets frustrated when he can’t think of anything that rhymes with “Venus.”

In Shocking Blue’s home country, this never made it to #1. After its success in the States, the song was re-released but climbed no further that #3 on the Dutch pop chart.

In 1959, Frankie Avalon had a US #1 hit with the same title. There were two other instances of different songs with identical titles reaching #1 on the Billboard charts. “My Love” was #1 for Petula Clark in 1966 and another “My Love” turned the trick for McCartney & Wings in 1973. Then “Best Of My Love” topped the charts for the Eagles in 1973 and a different song of the same title was #1 for The Emotions in 1977. 

In the 1988 Full House episode “But Seriously Folks,” DJ and Kimmy, influenced by Bananarama, start a band and attempt to learn “Venus.”

Venus

A goddess on a mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
A summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name.

She’s got it,
Yeah baby, she’s got it.
I’m your Venus,
I’m your fire at your desire.

Her weapons were her crystal eyes
Making every man mad,
Black as the dark night she was
Got what no one else had.

She’s got it,
Yeah baby, she’s got it
I’m your Venus,
I’m your fire at your desire.

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

18 thoughts on “Shocking Blue – Venus”

  1. Good song – can’t decide if I like their version or the Bananarama one better. I’d probably hate that it was used so much in that TV ad for shavers except well…. visually those ads weren’t unpleasant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you read where her hair was a wig? I was surprised. She, apparently, didn’t like fame much.

    I like both versions, much like Angel of the Morning (tho, that one has been done many times but, the two main popular ones).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I read that…no she didn’t like fame or being pushed as a sex symbol…She was an attractive lady though…in the 80s she cut her hair short on purpose.

      Liked by 1 person

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