VENUS shaped after a PINBALL WIZARD?

Hans Hoekstra hmcbvba at
Thu May 17 18:02:08 CDT 2007

In a message dated Date: Thu, 17 May 2007 07:10:33 EDT
JOELTLE515 at writes:

> by the way, have you noticed that that infamous guitar part sounds 
> alot like the one in shocking blue's "venus"? does anyone know which 
> one was released first?
Interesting thought Joe.
Shocking Blue was a Dutch band. 'Venus', their fourth 45, after one miss 
and two minor top 30 hits, entered what was THE leading chart in The 
Netherlands at the time, the Radio Veronica Top 40, on July 12th 1969.
Pinball Wizard, which as we all know was put out as a single about six 
months before Tommy, entered that same chart on April 5th of that year, 
having had some airplay in the two to three weeks preceding that 
Saturday, no doubt.
Shocking Blue had had their third single, Long And Lonesome Road, in the 
charts since March 8th and it stayed in the top 40 until April 29th.
Typically, bands in that era would compose, record and then release an 
new single when the preceding one would be nearing the end of its chart 
So, following that line of thought, Shocking Blue's composer of many 
great tunes, guitarist Robbie van Leeuwen MAY have been inspired by 
Pete's guitar playing in PW and MAY have took some of that into the 
composing process for his band's new single.
A listen to some of Robbie van Leeuwen's work with The Motions, the band 
he headed before setting up Shocking Blue in 1967, will learn that 
influences from British pop (Kinks, Zombies, Who) were never far away, 
although he does have a distinctive style of his own.

I was 12yrs old in the Spring of 1969 and living in The Netherlands at 
that time meant - for me anyway - having one ear always tuned in to 
Radio Veronica's 192 meters band, so as to pick up the hottest new 
records whenever they came out.
Buying them was of course another matter. But I knew when to move, when 
our local grocer would price off singles that had dropped out the 
charts. Pinball Wizard was my 8th ever single, purchased for the giant 
sum of 2,95 guilders, equaling nearly two weeks worth of my allowance.
My first ever LP I got that Xmas: Tommy, of course. Neatly followed a 
few weeks later by 'Sensational' a retail chain only, expanded version 
of Shocking Blue's first LP, that - contrary to their own release - DID 
include .... Venus.
By then Venus was already on its (her?) way to being the first ever 
Dutch-made Billboard nr  1.

Today, living in Antwerp, I still cherish my old records, play a lot of 
60s and 70s stuff, mourn for the loss of Shocking Blue's wonderful lead 
singer Mariska Veres and look forward to seeing a bunch of 60yr old 
start-ups from Sheperd's Bush when they come to play here June 8th.

Thanks for reviving some nice memories Joe.

Hans Hoekstra

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