(&The STRANGE CONNECTION BETWEEN “VENUS”, JIMI HENDRIX, & THE MAMA’S AND PAPA’S!)
By Alan L. Chrisman
“Venus” (You Got It) was a #1 hit for Dutch group, Shocking Blue in 1970 and sold 7.5 million copies worldwide. Then in 1986, all-female band, Bananarama, also had a hit with it again. S
Shocking Blue’s guitarist, Robbie van Leeuwen wrote the lyrics and their singer, Mariska Veres sang the lead. But it has quite an interesting story. It’s an exact copy of a previous 1963 song “The Banjo Song” by the folk group, The Big 3. It was actually written by one of its members, Tim Rose. It contains the same guitar rift, bassline and melody as Shocking Blue’s “Venus”. Rose had also had a local hit with a slowed down-version of the song, ”Hey Joe”. Keith Richard’s girlfriend at the time, had suggested it for Jimi Hendrix’ to his manager, Chas Chandler (formerly of The Animals). It had already been recorded by the classic San Francisco band, Love, and many others, but as a fast version and it would later become a sort of anti-Vietnam war song in the 60’s, “Hey Joe” (‘where you going with that gun?’). Hendrix went to see Rose perform it in a small club in New York and adopted Rose’s angry slowed–down version and Hendrix’s became the most famous version.
But also out of that short-lived folk group, The Big 3, was also to come Cass Elliot (Mama Cass) of the Mamas and The Papa’s along with Jim Hendricks (not Jimi Hendrix) who wrote Johnny Rivers’ hit, “Summer Rain”. John Phillips, leader of the Mama’s and the Papa’s, was earlier in a band with Tim Rose. Phillips was then in The Journeymen with Scott McKenzie who sang the hippie anthem, “San Francisco (‘wear flowers in your hair’) which Phillips wrote.
John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky (Canadian) late rof The Lovin’ Spoonful, were in a related folk band with later Papa, Denny Doherty ( another Canadian) of the time called The Mugwumps. This convoluted story of these later famous musicians’ connections is recounted in the Mama’s and Papa’s song, “Creeque Alley.”
So there is a strange connection between the song” Venus” and Jimi Hendrix and The Mama’s and The Papa’s!
Shocking Blue doing their 1970 hit, “Venus”:
“Hey Joe”, slowed-down 1967 Tim Rose version which Hendrix electrified:
The Mama’s and the Papa’s, “Creeque Alley”, in which they describe above mentioned musicians’ early connections: