Mariska Veres, a lead vocalist of The Shocking Blue, for many years was to me a mysterious beauty with great unique voice.
I knew almost nothing about her until recent time, when due to my Shocking Blue site I got accounted with several hard to
die Shocking Blue fans from Holland and Germany. Thanks to them, I learned a lot about Mariska and Shocking Blue and would
like to share my knowledge with those who want to know more about Mariska. |
Mariska was born in Hague, Holland, and still lives there. Mariska, half-Hungarian and half-German, had often sung with her father, Lajos Veres, who played violin in a gypsy orchestra. She recorded the solo singles called "Topkapi"(1965) and "Dag en nacht" (1967) and had gained experience singing with different groups before she joined Shocking Blue. How did she meet Shocking Blue?
In 1968 Shocking Blue's manager and music publisher attended a party celebrating the success of Golden Earring's first number one song in Holland. A band known as the Bumble Bees, fronted by the strong and striking female singer, performed at the party, and the two men thought she would be a perfect addition to Shocking Blue. Robbie van Leeuwen, leader and founder of Shocking Blue, was immediately impressed by her vocal style, quite different from most local singers of the day. When Mariska was asked to join the Shocking Blue, she requested that they (the band members) would not start any relationships with her except professional one. She replaced de Wilde as a lead singer and, no doubt, became the eye- and ear-catching attraction of the band; her soul-tingled voice gave the music a distinct R&B sound.
Mariska obviously was an attraction for many fans of SB. It's easy to imagine how many men and boys had fallen in love with Mariska, with her mystic aura, enigmatic smile, and long black hair (which was, sadly to say, a wig). People, mostly men of course, saw her a sex-symbol, which she was, but she could never cope with it. It was a disappointment for many of her fans when in the late seventies she got rid of her sexy image starting to wear long dresses and relatively short haircut.
In spite of her fantastic look Mariska was a pretty shy, a little naive person. She could not really deal with the snobbish Robbie: once he shouted at her, she started to cry and phoned her mother, who in return called their manager. Sounds silly, but Mariska was surely not the wild woman everybody thought she was. Mariska also was "famous" for her lifestyle: she never smoked and she did not like alcohol. During those days of "sex, drugs, and rock and roll", when SB toured the world, Mariska's most favorite drink was tea.
After Shocking Blue disbanded Mariska started her solo career, which was not successful. She recorded a dozen of solo singles but the singles did not score well although most of them sounded (and still sound) great. Probably, she was not motivated enough, lacked a good manager, and luck was not on her side. In 1978 Mariska was featured in a single "Neon City" recorded by Mistral (Robbie's group at that time). In 1979 Robbie was planning to reunite the group. They even recorded a single called "Louise" as a part of their come back project, but for some reasons this was cancelled and "Louise" was never released. Robbie van Leeuwen said in an interview that Mariska was the only reason the come back was off, but never said why. Probably, Mariska was just fed up with all the attention and was just overworked. Maybe because of this she does not like to recall the 70's. In the late 80's she performed with her group "Veres". In the early 90's she appeared on stage with The Clarks, and, in my opinion, their performances together were great. Mariska also sang with several jazz musicians, and even recorded CD with four jazz musicians in 1993 (Mariska Veres Shocking Jazz Quintet). In the fall of 1993 she founded a new band and, with Robbie's permission, called it Shocking Blue. They recorded a single "Body And Soul" (1994), which was produced by Robbie.
Mariska is still "in the picture" every now and then: a few months ago she was a special guest in a "back to the seventies" music show on Dutch TV, and she sang "Never Marry A Railroad Man", "Venus" and "Somebody To Love" of Jefferson Airplane. She is still performing all over the Netherlands with her Shocking Blue Band, and she is still one of the most popular singers in Holland.
Mariska's never been married and has no children. She likes cats very much. Her favorite beverage is still tea. She likes to eat cakes and other tasty food.
In interviews Mariska always mentions that she is not a person who looks back in time and feels fine nowadays. In her very personal interview to Belgian magazine "Flair"(1996) Mariska speaks, among the other topics, about the loss of her beauty and her not too sociable behavior during the Shocking Blue time: "I was just a painted doll, nobody could ever reach me...Nowadays I am more open to people".
Mariska has become a really friendly, nice person. She seems to be a satisfied woman now, she makes jokes with the interviewers, something she would have never had done in the seventies.
In her recent interview on TV Mariska declared she intended to go on singing as long as she feels like it, and as long as people would want her to.
And we want!!!
P.S. The great singer Mariska Veres died from cancer on December 2 of 2006.
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