Shocking Blue

The Shocking Blue

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Often dismissed as one-hit wonders, the Shocking Blue proves that the namesake Dutch band was more than just one (blockbuster) song. The collection, drawn mostly from their 1968-1969 material, is a satisfying psychedelic-pop listen from start to finish -- at least for those who think "Venus" deserved to become an international chart-topper. Although the song, covered with equal success by Stars on 45 in 1981 and Bananarama in 1986, was their only one to make a significant impact on the U.S. pop charts (number one in 1970), the album also includes Dutch hits "Send Me a Postcard" (the first from the new lineup), "Long and Lonesome Road," and "Mighty Joe." (It's been said that "Venus" is the only song in the history of the Billboard pop charts to hit number one three times.) It could be argued that this collection is all you really need as far as Shocking Blue is concerned. Although they wouldn't officially break up until 1974, the hits had pretty much dried up by 1972. Their first Dutch hit, "Lucy Brown Is Back in Town," is the only really notable omission here as it was recorded by the original lineup, before Fred de Wilde was replaced by sultry German-Hungarian Grace Slick-soundalike Mariska Veres -- who quickly became the group's best-known asset (as much for her strong voice as her striking looks). Although it wasn't a hit for the original band -- it wasn't even released as single -- Nirvana would cover "Love Buzz" to fine effect on their 1988 debut, Bleach.

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