The "Venus" of Mama Cass

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The "Venus" of Mama Cass

Postby Frans » Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:35 am

Dear Cass-friends !
Here a message from the Netherlands with a few questions, hoping anyone has an answer to these questions. Early February 1970 the Dutch group Shocking Blue had a world-wide number one hit with a song called Venus. It also was a number 1 hit in the Billboard Top 100 during 2 weeks in Febr. 1970. In Holland they were heroes till today and known as the first (an till now only...) Dutch group who had a number 1 in the USA. The song Venus was written by the Dutch composer Robbie van Leeuwen and the same song (in a disco version) was again number 1 in 1986 sung by Bananarama.
A few years ago somebody found out that the song Venus was inspired on the Banjo Song, sung by The Big Three, including Cass. The Dutch composer admitted that writing the song he was inspired by The Banjo Song, but hearing both songs, we better can say that Venus is a copy of The Banjo Song, written by Tim Rose. ... anjo-Song/

Such things happens.. but is very strange that at the time (during the seventies) nobody noticed that.
Tim Rose still was around and also Cass must have heard Venus.
One of the guitarplayers of the group Shocking Blue (klaasje van de Wal), remembered that, touring through the USA, they were invited to perform in the Mama Cass Show in Los Angeles. Cass told Mariska Veres (leadsinger of Shocking Blue) that she was thrilled by the song and she never mentioned knowing the song as "her" Banjo Song.
In the Netherlands there was a great article about this (De "Venus" van mama Cass") in 2011: ... -mama-cass
(sorry, it is in Dutch...)

Has anyone heard about this story? I don't know what's true or not. Fact is that Shocking Blue toured through the US during 1970. Did Cass had a show at that time in Los Angeles?

For all of you a wonderfull 2014 !

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Re: The "Venus" of Mama Cass

Postby Richard » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:52 am

Hi Frans, and welcome. :) Are you the same Frans from the Dusty site that I've chatted to in the past :?: I haven't heard that story about Cass meeting Mariska and saying she enjoyed Venus.

"There was a DJ who's name was Leo Blokhuis. He interviewed The Shocking Blues Robbie Van Leeuwen (who composed Venus) and asked him of the similarities to the Banjo Song. Evidently Leeuwen said he dug the Big 3 and was embarrassed about ripping the song off, but also added that all blues tunes sound the same so why care. Here, he pretty much admitted to copying the song and he got away with it. I guess Tim Rose (wrote the Banjo Song) and the Big 3 gave him a free pass. After all, the Banjo Songs lyrics were ripped off from Stephen Fosters 'Oh! Suzanna' so what comes around goes around I guess."

I copied this from one site. How much truth is in that quote I don't know. It does seem amazing that no-one appeared to pick up on it at the time. George Harrison wasn't so lucky with My sweet Lord! Happy new year! Rich.
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Re: The "Venus" of Mama Cass

Postby Frans » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:49 am

Hello Richard,
Thanks for your reaction, we'll never know...

Warm regards from cold Amsterdam,

PS I'm not the same Frans from the Dusty side............!
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Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:23 pm

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