Shocking Blue - Venus / Hot Sand 7" (1969)

The 3rd single became one of the greatest hit of history although it was largely inspired by the musical adaptation of "Oh! Susanna"'s lyrics (from Stephen Collins Foster) by Tim Rose under the name of "The Banjo Song" written and sung by The Big 3 in 1963 (see the video below that retraces the story of the song). But i must say I had to wait for the release of "Oh! Susanna" by Neil Young on his Americana LP in 2012 to be aware of all this. But sure Robbie Van Leeuwen was well aware of this when he took the song and used it. To know that somewhat diminished my initial admiration for the guy but all in all it remains a great song and a nice band. Catch it here.

You imagine I suppose, that I did not post this single because I consider "Venus" is a forgotten song. I post it simply because I decided to post all Shocking Blue singles and that this is the second (and their most popular). The importance of "Venus" in my own way to consider music was, with "Paranoid" from Black Sabbath and "All Right Now" from Free, quite fondamental but this blog is not the place to do an psychanalishitic exploration of my musical formation. More forgotten is the B-side (in most countries since in some it was "Long Lonesome Road"), "Hotsand", another great song (honestly, Robbie van Leeuwen was a fucking great composer and that he has not a decent entry in English wikipedia is quite scandalous) on which the sitar is quite pregnant but drown in a pre-grunge riff that is as relevant today it was 40 years ago. Due to the immense amount of Venus singles sold, I think this is one of the most heard songs (usually, even if you bought the 7" for the A-side, you tried to justify your investisment in listening to the other side), it is important to transmit to younger generations the excitation this double-great songs single was at the time of its release.

First the story of the song

Below, several versions of "Venus". First, the original clip with this strange cage behind the band. See how the quatuor does not seem to take in serious the doomed passion dimension of the song. This, to my eyes, contributed to the fact they were never take seriously by the rock scene.

Below, an apparition on TV, where they of course mimic the song, but where Mariska Veres is really gorgeous.

Below, a very rare live version of the song, in which you can see that the band was not a fake one and could rock, even it they don't reach the UK and US criteria I must admit.

Another one, much better


jean Rhume said...

Oulala, je me souviens très bien de ce "Hot Sand" because j'avais le 45 tours, évidemment pour "Venus" mais j'aimais beaucoup cette face B...

kingpossum said...

Gratitude for the Shocking Blue posts and all the posts and commentary in 2016. Wishing you an enjoyable 2017. If memory serves, Barry Hay was very briefly a member of Shocking Blue before joining Golden Earring, though I don't believe he recorded anything with SB.

Anonymous said...

Shocking Blue!??! What are you smoking, man?? Well, I just thought it had to be said. You've posted a lot of great music on your blog, so the Europop was a surprise, is all.

Cheers, Kalle

dkelvin said...

Never smoke. I had posted this in 2010 already. This is re-ups. Don't call it europop (80's way to call music out of UK and US). This band was among my fave between 1970 and 1972 and honestly I still find it great. Like Golden Earring actually. Maybe try to listen to some of their songs and make yourself an idea. Don't forget Nirvana covered one of their songs. And that my tastes cover a large variety of styles as this blog shows.

Anonymous said...

This was Shocking Blue's fifth or sixth single, not Second, at least in their native Netherlands. The first two or three featured original singer Fred de Wilde. Send Me a Postcard from late 1968 was the first to feature Mariska Veres. Long and Lonesome Road was an A side originally and came a few months before Venus.