The Music Lounge

Remembering Mariska Veres

She was our ‘Venus’…

mar“A goddess on a mountain top, was burning like a silver flame. The summit of beauty and love and Venus was her name”. The opening lyrics backed by an unmistakable guitar and organ chord sequence catapulted ‘Venus’ by Shocking Blue to the top of the charts across the globe. The year was 1970 and the single was number one in the American Billboard Charts. By 1973 the band would go on to sell over thirteen million records before breaking up the following year.

The lead singer of the band was a young Dutch woman called Mariska Veres who joined the band in 1968, a year after they formed in The Hague. Her soul inspired voice coupled with striking looks and stage persona immediately attracted a wider audience and they were soon enjoying million copy selling success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Despite the free spirited lifestyle of so many in the music industry at that time, Mariska never embraced the rock n roll lifestyle. She never drank or took drugs and made it clear upon joining the band that she would not get romantically involved with any of the members. She was pleasantly naïve, when the bands founder and chief lyricist, Robbie Van Leeuwen shouted at her she burst into tears and rang her mother who promptly phoned the band’s manager to complain!

The label of ‘sex symbol’ never sat comfortably with her, by the end of the Seventies she had cut her hair short and wore long dresses on stage. The sad fact was that when she pursued a solo career her looks attracted more attention than her records. A string of singles from the mid Seventies onwards did not sell well and by the 1980s she was singing with jazz bands in Holland. There was an attempted reunion of Shocking Blue but according to Robbie Van Leeuwen it never materialised because of Mariska’s refusal to take part.

In 2006 Mariska Veres died of cancer. She never married or had any children. By her own admission she was unapproachable in the early days, she considered herself as little more than a doll who never found true inner happiness until she turned her back on the industry and pressures of being a beautiful woman in the spotlight. So here’s the video to her most successful single with the Shocking Blue. The lip synching is not great, it never was back then but she certainly has a presence. Forget comparisons with todays artists and imagine seeing her in the late sixties for the first time, there was just something about her…


24 replies »

  1. This is great, really. She left this world but her voice in those beautiful songs live on. The photo is great and the info available too. Thank you so much, dank je

    Long living Shocking Blue

    Greetings from Paraíba.


      • Thank you so much! Oh lovely England I am a huge Beatles fan and I fortunately had a chance to see Paul performing live in 2012. It is sad that Mariska left us so early but as I said, well we have her voice in this unique music. Back in march I bought on amazon a greatest hits double cd pack with amazing tracks, made in Russia, it has rare songs like When I was a girl and Let me carry your bag. I loooove Loving Girl, amazing shiny happy one. I dream with the Shindig magazine with Shocking Blue on the cover but it is rare and expensive and Shocking Blue isnt known in Brazil.I found a few articles online in portuguese, but not many. Not enough info about her and she was mysterious too so it makes very difficult for the fans I suppose. I wonder if in Netherlands it is easier to find, I don’t know, magazines or rare things from the 60’s with stuff written about her. Sometimes I think I”ll be like Mariska, I won’t get married and have children but I have a feeling I have a mission and something from me has to be left here too so when I am gone I am remembered. Her voice was incredible, and look, I am a Janis Joplin fan but Mariska was so…different and that attracts us somehow, how simple and amazing she could be, I can listen to the band’s music all day long, quite magical. Very nice to see this post is from april 2015 as well, because it means her memory is alive and more of us can find/read things about this singer who taught us so much in the way she performed. Be well have a great weekend.


      • Isabelle,
        A great comment, thank you. Information on her is difficult to obtain but she was a private person who, quite rightly wanted us to concentrate on her music. As for you and what you leave behind in life I think you should enjoy your life and live it how you wish. If that includes children then great but if it doesn’t then you can fulfil your life in other ways. You are right that Mariska was different and I think her outlook on life and work is a lesson for us all. Have a great weekend too.


  2. Long live* sorry, a bit sleepy;

    P.S.: favorite tracks: Shocking You and I like You as well as Broken Heart.


  3. In the beginning I heard a very beautiful voice, good poems and I did not know that she was very beautiful girl!)) It has Russian roots) it unites us) a great team they are out of time.


  4. The loss of this beautiful woman with the most amazing voice and memorable smile, along with all the other Icons of our time, shows that the sun is slowly setting on us baby boomers. The sun hasn’t set yet though, so we must remember to keep playing in the sun and listening to their music!


    • Mark, thanks for a great comment. Yes, the baby boomer generation is now seeing many of its ‘stars’ leaving us, Mariska passed far too early but it is important to remember her contribution to popular music.


  5. So lovely, with that voice that was both powerful and ethereal at the same time time. She didn’t have an ” in your face” sexuality, rather a shyness that only added to her appeal. Hers was the first record I ever got, actually through the mail. And when I first heard it? Complete joy and amazement for a 7th grade boy!


  6. I am 66 years old, and have only just discovered her. I think when I first heard Bananarama’s version something unconsciously said inside me that I had heard it before, but I don’t remember the original version. So sad that she died so young. Does anyone know what kind of cancer she had? Such a beautiful woman to leave this world so quickly.


  7. It’s quick once it spreads to the liver. This was absolutely my favourite song of 1969, I was only ten years old, but already into music. I was not aware until very recently that she was a Hungarian refugee
    nor that the band was not American.


  8. I can’t listen to mariska without having to look at her beautiful face and permanent smile and to think that she was too beautiful for a singer is a compliment and her voice alone on certain songs brings a tear to my eyes I watch her singing 4 songs every day without fail the same songs every day I’m 70 years of age and loved Mariska from the first time I ever saw her I was 18 years old about the same age as her and never seen a beautiful woman since that could match hers for 1968 that is some achievement till 2020 and beyond after I have gone to wherever mariska may be today ❤️


  9. I’m listening to one of his Just a Song songs, and I may seem a little cheesy, but my tears are falling. I will never understand that there is nothing left of that shy, sweet and beautiful girl’s gaze. Well, it was always a girl.
      There is not even a burial place as it was cremated. The only one left is his mother’s grave in St. Petrus banden, The Hague.
    It is disturbing that there is nothing left of her, perhaps it was she who wanted it that way. On the findagrave page, you can pay him a tribute.


  10. She is so enchanting. So lucky to have her talent showered upon us. Sure miss the good old days with real music! She was taken from us too soon, but will always be remembered. Her voice in Time Slips Away is so haunting and beautiful. She was a true artist and wanted to be remembered for her achievements, not just another pretty girl. She kept her enchanting girl charms and would not let the world change her as so many artists fall prey too. Of course, every boy loved Venus and the dreams they conjured! Rest in Peace – may we enjoy your music in the next life!


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