27 August 2017

seedarklyxero: SDXeroEye with glow (Default)
Welcome to SeeDarkly Sunday DisCOVERies:
a weekly exploration of goth, industrial, & dark alternative cover songs!
First time here? Click here for details from first entry.

A few weeks ago I did a mini poll in a couple of places to ask if I should review a popular cover that most mistake as the original or introduce a newer version in a more modern genre. As it turns out my info about the song in question was not something I could substantiate to my satisfaction, making the whole poll kind of moot. So while the poll results I got indicated I should do the popular cover and this IS a feature that debunks the myth of who people think did the original, I'm not reviewing the popular cover in this case because frankly it doesn't fit my format. Not to worry, because there IS a "shocking" industrial darkwave version that does.:

Clan of Xymox - Venus (Shocking Blue)

The Dutch psychedelic rock act Shocking Blue released Venus as a single in October 1969. It was the band's only number one hit. The track was not originally included on their second album, At Home (also released in 1969) but it was added to pressings of the album following the single's release and success. This was the album that debuted Mariska Veres as the group's lead singer. During the track's recording, she made a slight error by singing, "godness on the mountaintop," which is said to have been a mistake in translation or spelling by their songwriter/guitarist, Robbie van Leeuwen. Van Leeuwen was believed to have "taken inspiration" from The Banjo Song written by Tim Rose and recorded by The Big 3 (which featured Mama Cass) in 1963, which itself was a melodic reworking of Stephen Foster's folk song, Oh! Susanna. To hear it though, it would seem that Venus was almost a direct lift of that song with the exception of its lyrics, which are effectively an ode to some human manifestation of the titular Roman goddess of desire.

One interesting aspect of its success though is how, during the 70's when Russia mostly dismissed Western popular music, this song became vastly popular in Russia's own counterculture. Low quality bootlegs and translated re-recordings of the song circulated throughout their underground scene. The song was known there as Shizgarah, a word with no actual meaning, which was essentially a misunderstanding of the lyric, "she's got it."
While Bananarama's 1986 cover of the track is perhaps the most prominently known, and the one for which many believe is the original. It was not even the first known cover. That was recorded and released in 1976 by a South African duo, The Stockley Sisters. Several other covers have been produced over the years, though many times for use specifically in advertisements for Gillette's "Venus" brand razors.

Gothic synthpop darkwavers Clan of Xymox released a covers compilation album titled Kindred Spirits in October 2012, one week and 43 years after the original Venus single. "Kindred" to Shocking Blue by way of also being Dutch, their cover of Venus is the first track and the only song on the album from the sixties. Apart from their covers of David Bowie (70's) and Radiohead (90's), the rest of the album's assortment are songs from the eighties by The Cure, Department S, Depeche Mode, Joy Division, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie & the Banshees, and Sisters of Mercy.
Even though Clan of Xymox attribute correctly the original to Shocking Blue, many reviews of the album still managed to make the mistake of crediting Bananarama. There is little to inform as to what inspired their cover specifically, though when asked if the band would do another such covers album, Xymox clan-member Ronny Moorings said, "No. I did it once. To do it again would certainly be too much."
He may think so, but some may find the array of revised goth favorites in their style refreshing, and Venus is (in this listener's opinion) one of the more distinctive of the collection with its darkwave industrial dance rhythm and deep resonant vocals that make this version as "black as the dark night she was.":

The Cover:



The Original:



Next week:
I've got at least four great EDM/Industrial covers on tap... which means I'll likely choose a fifth one I haven't even discovered yet! (Meanwhile I have the second and third weeks of September already decided, go figure.)

Comments, suggestions, discussions, etc... welcome!
(You do NOT need a Dreamwidth account to comment, but all comments are screened for spam prevention.)

Two dates coming up in September. You can find details on my schedule if you'd like to join those events. ^_^

Explore the darkness,
-Xero

Previous DisCOVERies

Aug 20 - Dead or Alive - That's the Way I Like It (KC and the Sunshine Band)
Aug 13 - Beseech - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! [A Man After Midnight] (ABBA)
Aug 06 - Solar Fake - One Step Closer (Linkin Park)
Jul 30 - Black Nail Cabaret - Shouldn't Have Done That (Depeche Mode)
Jul 23 - 4X4: HEALTH/Orkestra Obsolete/The Stitchlings/Bela Goosy - Blue Monday (New Order)

Directory of All Previous DisCOVERies

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seedarklyxero: SDXeroEye with glow (Default)
DJ Xero, Operative of SeeDarkly™

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