Shocking Blue were the posterchild of 70’s Nederpop, we all remember’ Venus’ right, but here’s their 1972 effort ‘Atilla’.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Shocking Blue
LABEL: AZ Disc, Pink Elephant
SERIAL: STEC-139, PE 877025
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
LINEUP: Mariska Veres – lead vocals * Robbie Van Leeuwen – guitars, backing vocals * Cor Van Der Beek – drums * Klassje Van Der Wal – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Rattler * 02 Never Release The One You Love * 03 A Waste Of Time * 04 Wait * 05 The Devil And The Angel * 06 Rock In The Sea * 07 I’ve Spent My Money * 08 Will The Circle Be Broken * 09 Early In The Morning * 10 I Built My World Around You * 11 Don’t Let Your Right To Know * 12 Broken Heart
Immensely popular in their native Holland, Shocking Blue set the airwaves crackling in 1970 with the worldwide hit ‘Venus’, but can you recall any other singles by the band? Probably not and unless you are a fan of the group or connoisseur of ‘Nederpop’, you are forgiven thinking Shocking Blue was one of the greatest one hit wonders of all time.
Formed in 1967 in The Hague, the band featured the attractive Mariska Veres as its mini-skirted front woman who often drew comparisons to Grace Slick in the vocal department. Following the massive ‘Venus’, Shocking Blue continued to burn up the Dutch charts until breaking up in 1974 with Veres opting for a lackluster solo career.
‘Attila’ was the band’s sixth studio album and while I’ve only heard the previous three, the Shocking Blue sound on this record really hasn’t changed from the hit single that made them famous. It’s solid pop written entirely by guitarist Robbie Van Leeuwen anchored by Mariska’s powerful and clear vocals.
As far as the Grace Slick comparisons in her voice, I hear some of that, but Veres had more control and a broader range. Only one single was released from the album, the folkie jingle jangle of ‘Rock In The Sea’ notched up another hit for the band, but there are plenty of other tunes here that should have been hits as well.
Including the rocking opener ‘Rattler’ and the moody but oh so memorable ‘Wait’ which leaves me once again to wonder just how much of a push the LP received from a label probably still in step with the 60’s single market and mentality, yet to embrace the upstarts of free form radio and album rock.
Shocking Blue had a unique sound and plenty of talent, but again the star of the show without a doubt was Mariska Veres who unfortunately passed away of cancer a few years ago.
I believe all the Shocking Blue albums have been reissued on CD, including ‘Attila’ which I have in a mini-LP sleeve from the ‘Compact Vinyl’ label that includes three non-LP tracks and is definitely worth picking up. Although for a better overview of their work, seek out one of their many ‘Greatest Hits’ packages that have been released over the years.