Mariska Veres (1 October 1947 - 2 December 2006) was a Dutch singer who was best known as the lead singer of the rock group Shocking Blue. Her appearance was striking, featuring kohl cosmetic-lined eyes, high cheekbones, and long jet black wig.
Veres was born in The Hague. Her father was the Hungarian Romani violinist Lajos Veres; her mother was born in Germany of French and Russian parents. Her elder sister Ilonka accompanied her father on the piano. Her youngest sister, Irene, never had a career in music.
Veres began her career as a singer in 1963 with the guitar band Les Mysteres. In 1964 this band made an EP (GTB-label, 10 copies only) and Mariska is singing on side 1: Summertime (solo) and Someone (a duet). In 2010 this EP will be re-released by record club Platenclub Utrecht (PLUT 009). On www.platenclubutrecht.nl you can see the sleeve and listen to a part of Summertime. In 1965 she joined the Bumble Bees, the Blue Fighters, Danny and his Favourites and General Four in 1966, and the Motowns later in 1966. She also played organ in the last band. In 1968 she was invited to join Shocking Blue to replace lead singer Fred de Wilde who had to join the army. In 1969/1970 Shocking Blue gained worldwide fame with the hit single "Venus". The month of their arrival in the United States gossip columnist Earl Wilson referred to Veres as a beautiful busty girl. However, when she joined Shocking Blue she made it clear to the other band members that romantic relationships were not going to happen.
Shocking Blue split up on 1 June 1974; Veres continued in a solo career until the band was reunited in 1984. This comeback turned out to be successful, but one of the other original members, Robbie van Leeuwen, stepped back from the group, partly because he had moved to Luxembourg but also because of the success of Bananarama's cover of "Venus".
Mariska Veres started the jazz group The Shocking Jazz Quintet in 1993, and recorded an album ('Shocking You') with pop songs from the 60's and 70's, now in a jazz version. From 1993 to 2006 she performed in yet another reincarnation of Shocking Blue (recorded the songs 'Body and Soul' and 'Angel', both produced by former member Robbie van Leeuwen), and also recorded an album with Andrei Serban in 2003, named 'Gipsy Heart', going back to her Romani roots. A version of "Venus" was posthumously released in 2007, a few months after her passing away, recorded with pianist/bandleader Dolf de Vries (on the album "Another Touch"). Mariska has recorded "Venus" four times: with Shocking Blue (1969), with the Mariska Veres Shocking Jazz Quintet (1993), with Formula Diablos (in English/Spanish, 1997), and with Dolf de Vries (a lounge version of "Venus", 2005/2006).
Mariska Veres died of cancer on 2 December 2006, aged 59. Reminiscing to the Belgian magazine Flair, she remarked about her early fame, "I was just a painted doll (back in those days), nobody could ever reach me. Nowadays, I am more open to people."