Venus (Shocking Blue song)

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"Venus"
Shocking blue venus Dutch vinyl.png
One of artworks for the original Dutch single
Single by Shocking Blue
B-side"Hot Sand"
ReleasedJuly 1969 (1969-07)
StudioSoundpush (Blaricum, Netherlands)
GenreCountry rock[1]
Length3:06
LabelPink Elephant
Songwriter(s)Robbie van Leeuwen[2]
Producer(s)
Shocking Blue singles chronology
"Lucy Brown Is Back in Town"
(1968)
"Venus"
(1969)
"Mighty Joe"
(1969)
Audio
"Venus" on YouTube

"Venus" is a song by Dutch rock band Shocking Blue, initially released as a single in the Netherlands in the summer of 1969. Written by Robbie van Leeuwen, the song topped the charts in nine countries. In 1981, it was used to open the "Stars on 45" medley.[3] In 1986, English girl group Bananarama covered "Venus" for their third studio album, True Confessions, reaching number one in six countries. The composition has been featured in numerous films, television shows and commercials, and covered dozens of times by artists around the world.

Shocking Blue (original)[edit]

Background[edit]

Shocking Blue in 1970

In the Shocking Blue original version, the song's lead vocals are performed by Mariska Veres. The music is from "The Banjo Song" by Tim Rose and the Big 3 with new lyrics by Robbie van Leeuwen, the band's guitarist, sitarist and background vocalist, who also produced along with record producer Jerry Ross.

Release and reception[edit]

"Venus" was issued in the Netherlands in July 1969 as a single, backed with "Hot Sand", on the Pink Elephant label. The song peaked at number three on the Dutch Top 40 on 12 July 1969, and remained at that position for a total of five weeks. Later that year, "Venus" was issued in several European countries and other worldwide nations. In the United States, "Venus" reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 7 February 1970. On 28 January 1970, it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales in excess of one million copies in the United States.[4] Worldwide, the single has sold over 7.5 million copies.[5]

"Venus" was included as a bonus track on the 1989 CD reissue of the group's second studio album, At Home, originally released in 1969.

Television[edit]

"Venus" was featured in the sixth episode of the 2020 Netflix miniseries The Queen's Gambit. The protagonist Beth (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) dances and sings to the music video. The scene takes place in 1967, well before the song was released in 1969.[6][7]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[4] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Bananarama version[edit]

"Venus"
Banana v.jpg
Single by Bananarama
from the album True Confessions
B-side"White Train"
Released19 May 1986
RecordedDecember 1985
StudioOdyssey (London)
Genre
Length3:50
LabelLondon
Songwriter(s)Robbie van Leeuwen
Producer(s)Stock Aitken Waterman
Bananarama singles chronology
"Do Not Disturb"
(1985)
"Venus"
(1986)
"More Than Physical"
(1986)
Music video
"Venus" on YouTube

Background[edit]

"Venus" had been a part of Bananarama's repertoire for several years before they actually recorded it. The group's three members, Sara Dallin, Siobhan Fahey and Keren Woodward, had the idea of turning the song into a dance tune, but they were met with resistance from their producers at the time, Steven Jolley and Tony Swain. The group brought the idea to the production trio of Stock Aitken Waterman, and it became Bananarama's first collaboration with them.

The group had nearly completed recording their third album, True Confessions, with Jolley & Swain. Stock, Aitken and Waterman also resisted the idea because they believed that "Venus" would not make a good dance record. After persistence by the group, SAW relented. Bananarama's "Venus" peaked at number one in the United States, Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Switzerland and South Africa, while reaching number two in Germany and the top-ten in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (number eight on the UK Singles Chart, matching the same peak of Shocking Blue's version). It also topped the US Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks.[39]

The collaboration on "Venus" led Bananarama and SAW to work together on the group's follow-up album, Wow!, the following year.

A new mix of the song appeared as the B-side to the 1989 limited release "Megarama '89" in Germany and France. Bananarama has since re-recorded "Venus" for their eighth album Exotica (2001), and it was later remixed by Marc Almond, with re-recorded vocals and included on their ninth album Drama (2005).

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video, directed by Peter Care, with choreography by Bruno Tonioli, received extensive play on MTV and video channels across the world, and presented Dallin, Fahey and Woodward in various costumes, including a she-devil, a French temptress, a vampiress and several Greek goddesses. In one sequence of the video, Sandro Botticelli's painting The Birth of Venus is adapted as a tableau vivant. The video marked a pivotal shift towards a more glamorous and sexual image for the group that contrasted with the tomboyish style of their earlier work. In Popular culture: The group's version of the song was used in an episode of the American animated show American Dad in which the character Roger uses it as the national anthem and he named the country after the group and afterwards the residents of the country were dancing to the song.

Track listings[edit]

  • UK / US / Canadian 7-inch vinyl single

UK: London Records NANA 10 / US: London Records 886-056-7 / Canada: London Records LDS 227 / Australia: Liberation Records LS 1789

  1. "Venus" – 3:30
  2. "White Train" – 3:50
    S.Dallin/S. Fahey/K. Woodward/P. Bishop/P. Seymour

+ some copies released in picture disc format NANPD 10

  • UK / Australian 12-inch vinyl single

UK: London Records NANX 10 / Australia: Liberation Records LMD 474

  1. "Venus" (extended version) – 7:23
  2. "Venus" (dub) – 8:15
  3. "White Train" – 3:50
  • UK 12-inch vinyl single #2

London Records NANXR 10

  1. "Venus" (the Hellfire mix) – 9:20 #:remixed by Ian Levine
  2. "Venus" (Hellfire dub) – 6:55
  3. "White Train" – 3:50
  • UK 12-inch vinyl single #3

London Records NAXRR 10

  1. "Venus" (the Fire And Brimstone mix) – 6:35 #:remixed by Stock, Aitken & Waterman
  2. "Venus" (Hellfire dub) – 6:55
  3. "White Train" – 3:50
  • US 12-inch maxi single

London Records 886 088-1

  1. "Venus" (the Hellfire mix) – 9:20
  2. "Venus" (the Fire & Brimstone mix) – 6:55
  3. "Venus" (extended version) – 7:23
  4. "Venus" (dub) – 8:25
  • CD video single
  1. "Venus" (extended version) – 7:23
  2. "True Confessions" (edit) – 4:09
  3. "A Trick of the Night" (edit) – 4:07
  4. "More Than Physical" (U.K. single version) – 3:40
  • Other versions
  1. "Venus" (the Greatest Remix edit) – 3:40
    Included on the 1989 U.K. CD single "Cruel Summer '89", remixed by Phil Harding and Ian Curnow
  2. "Venus" (the Greatest Remix) 7:43
    Included on the 1989 German CD single "Megarama '89", remixed by Phil Harding and Ian Curnow
  3. "Venus" (2001 version)
    Included on the album Exotica
  4. "Venus" (Marc Almond's Hi-NRG Showgirls mix) 6:02
    Included on the 2005 album Drama, remixed by Marc Almond
  5. "Venus" (from the soundtrack Sugar & Spice: Stuck in the 80's)

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of True Confessions.[40]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[77] Platinum 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

BHF/Don Pablo's Animals remixes [edit]

"Venus" was remixed and re-released by dance producers The BHF (Bisiach Hornbostel Ferrucci) Team in May 1990. Titled "Venus '90", the remix featured a hip house rhythm and samples. "Venus '90" reached number 78 on the UK Singles Chart and number 49 on the Australian ARIA Singles Chart.[78][23] An instrumental version was also released independently under the producer's alias, Don Pablo's Animals, without referencing Shocking Blue. The instrumental version became the highest-charting version of the song, peaking at number four on the UK Singles Chart.[79]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Venus/Dancing on a Saturday Night/Beautiful Sunday (liner notes). Shocking Blue/Barry Blue/Daniel Boone. Old Gold. 1989. Retrieved 17 October 2019.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ "VENUS". GEMA – Members — Online Database – Musical Works. GEMA. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  3. ^ Grein, Paul (6 September 1986). "Chart Beat". Billboard. Vol. 98 no. 36. p. 6. ISSN 0006-2510 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b "American single certifications – Shocking Blue – Venus". Recording Industry Association of America. 28 January 1970. Retrieved 21 August 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  5. ^ "Shocking Blue: huge success around world". Billboard. Vol. 84 no. 49. 2 December 1972. p. 40. ISSN 0006-2510 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Why "The Queen's Gambit" Netflix should be your next binge". 24 October 2020.
  7. ^ "Netflix's audacious new chess drama is your perfect weekend binge". 23 October 2020.
  8. ^ Kent 1993, p. 273
  9. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Shocking Blue – Venus" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Shocking Blue – Venus" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
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  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6118." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  13. ^ a b Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  14. ^ a b c "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. New York: Billboard Publications Inc. 82 (9): 64. 28 February 1970. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 March 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2021 – via World Radio History.
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  18. ^ "Search listener". Flavour of New Zealand. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Shocking Blue – Venus". VG-lista. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  20. ^ "SA Charts 1965–1989 (As presented on Springbok Radio/Radio Orion) – Acts S". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 23 September 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  21. ^ a b Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
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  37. ^ Arena, James (2017). "Appendix: The Record Shop–Noteworthy Tracks". Europe's Stars of '80s Dance Pop: 32 International Music Legends Discuss Their Careers. McFarland & Company. pp. 225–230. ISBN 978-1-4766-7142-0.
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  41. ^ Kent 1993, p. 25
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  56. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Bananarama – Venus". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
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  62. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Bananarama – Venus". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  63. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1986". Kent Music Report (650). 29 December 1986 – via Imgur.
  64. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1986 – Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
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  68. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
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  70. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
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  73. ^ "Dance Club Songs – Year-End 1986". Billboard. Archived from the original on 16 February 2020. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
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  75. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1986 – Top 100 Pop Singles". Cash Box. 27 December 1986. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  76. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts – 1986" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  77. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Bananarama – Venus". Music Canada. 27 October 1986. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  78. ^ "Shocking Blue – Venus '90". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  79. ^ "Don Pablo's Animals: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 August 2019.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]