Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crash course on The Shocking Blue and Colossus Records!

I recently bought a collection that contained an unfamiliar album that a friend noticed and recommended I try. He gave me a quick crash course of The Shocking Blue mainly pointing out that they wrote and performed the song Love Buzz which Nirvana had covered on their album Bleach (and as a single on Sub Pop).


Background on The Shocking Blue:

The Shocking Blue was a band from the Netherlands who were having moderate success in their home country. They quickly achieved worldwide success with their smash hit Venus in 1969. I recognized this song immediately, hearing it many years selling women’s razor blades on television commercials (“I’m your Venus, I’m your fire at you desire”.. come on… admit your guilty pleasure.. you sing along too!).  

The original lineup consisted of Robbie van Leeuwen on guitar, Fred Dewilde singing lead vocals, Klassje Van der Wal on bass and Cornelius Van der Beek on drums. Fred Dewilde only lasted for a short while as lead singer before being replaced by the sexy voice of Mariska Veres. Robbie van Leeuwen handled the majority of their songwriting, writing every song on this particular compilation.

The Shocking Blue are classified as 60’s psychedelic rock or bubble gum pop by most. They remind me of bands such as Jefferson Airplane of another band I previously wrote about called The Yellow Balloon.

After their demise in 1974, The Shocking Blue had only been together for a few reunions and such, but no new material was released. Sadly Mariska died in 2006 from cancer ending any other chances of reunions or recordings with this lineup.


Background on the label Colossus:


The Shocking Blue originally only released their albums in Europe, but once Venus became a huge hit worldwide it was only a matter of time before they had their music released in North America. This is where this album comes into play. It is a compilation album released in 1970 containing their biggest hits so far. Now it’s not safe to call this their greatest hits as the band stayed together releasing material until 1974.

This album was released on the Colossus label. I did not recognize this label and after a little research it was apparent why as it was short lived, only open from 1969 to 1971.

Colossus was founded by Jerry Ross who was also owner of the label Heritage Records. His labels were distributed by MGM Records, which struck me as strange since mine had no mention of MGM but instead Quality Records Limited.

It turns out that Quality Records Limited was a Canadian vinyl record (also cassette and 8-tracks) manufacturing company from Toronto. They would partner with companies such as MGM and handle the Canadian manufacturing and distribution of their albums.

Since this album was manufactured at Quality Records, the label does not quite match what the internet tells me the Colossus label should look like. Colossus labels were yellow with fancy gold and red text saying Colossus on the top. Not mine. It has the same style but no color, just a black and white label. At first I thought it may be a promotional copy but after further research I believe this is just how the Canadian label looked. If anybody else has any other Colossus albums with this white label I would love to hear about it.








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