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 latter became their biggest hit, and reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and many other countries during 1969 and 1970.
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.
Other hits include "Send Me a Postcard" in 1968/69 and "Long and Lonesome Road" (often mistakenly named as "Long Lonesome Road") in 1969.
"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.