Dutch band Shocking Blue was founded in 1967 by guitarist Robbie van Leeuwen. Other members of the original group were Fred de Wilde, Klaasje van der Wal and Cor van der Beek.
The group had a minor hit in 1968 with Lucy Brown is Back in Town before De Wilde left (to join the army) and van Leeuwen was introduced to singer Mariska Veres.
He persuaded her to take over the vocals and the group achieved a worldwide hit with Venus, which peaked at #3 in the Netherlands in autumn 1969.
The song was released in America and the UK and reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970. It subsequently sold 350,000 copies in Germany and topped the American chart for three weeks.
Subsequent releases included Mighty Joe, Send Me a Postcard and Long and Lonesome Road. Later songs like Hello Darkness, Demon Lover, Shocking You, Blossom Lady, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Inkpot, Eve and the Apple and Oh Lord were successful in Europe, Latin America and Asia, but failed to chart in the USA or UK.
Klaasje van der Wal left in 1971 after their first trip to Japan (which spawned a live album). Robbie Van Leeuwen quit in 1974 and, later that year, Mariska Veres left also and the band folded.
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 in 1979 and attempted another comeback in 1984.
Drummer Cor van der Beek died on 2 April 1998, aged 49. Vocalist Mariska Veres died of cancer on 2 December 2006. She was 59. Bassist Klaasje van der Wal died on 12 February 2018 at the age of 69.
Robbie van Leeuwen
Klaasje van der Wal
Cor van der Beek
Fred de Wilde