Shocking Blue – ‘Venus’

Venus by Shocking Blue is a bold, sexy, joyous, hippy romp, featuring Mareska Veres’ sultry, powerful vocals and a couple of the most memorable guitar hooks of the sixties. It was a massive hit on its release in 1969 – hitting top spots on pop charts around the world – and, unlike a lot of psychedelic pop from the flower power era, it sounds fresh, exciting and uniquely assured to this day.

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Shocking Blue were formed in Den Haag (The Hague), the Netherlands in 1967.

I’ve spent time in The Hague and it’s a lovely, picturesque city, full of healthy, pleasant Dutch people. It’s home to the International Criminal Court, a shitload of foreign embassies and a museum dedicated to the work of the surrealist/impossible graphic artist MC Escher. I don’t know what it was like in 1967, but these days The Hague really doesn’t have the feel of a rock and roll mecca.

Nevertheless, Shocking Blue overcame this apparent disadvantage and for a few years produced some really fucking excellent, Jefferson Airplane-esque psychedelia.

Musically, they couldn’t have been more in tune with the contemporary, hippy zeitgeist if they’d been long-term, LSD addled, Haight-Ashbury residents, as proved by the collection of trippy pop on their awesome second album At Home. As well as Venus, At Home also features Love Buzz, as covered by Nirvana for their first Sub Pop single.

Despite hailing from an unfashionable little corner of the Netherlands, at their best Shocking Blue blew most California and swinging London hippies right out of the water, and that was never more so than on Venus – an enduring, counter-culture crossover hit from these Dutch hippies with attitude.

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Nick Perry

Nick writes fact, fiction and opinion in various places including
his music blog His musical tastes cover indie, grunge, golden-era hip hop, punk, funk, psychedelia and a big portion of distortion. You can and should follow him on Twitter @NoiseCrumbs.

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