Friday Song: “Venus”

A typo in the lyrics gets recorded into a #1 hit

The first line of this classic rock song from the Dutch band Shocking Blue sounds odd because the singer preserved a typo when recording it.

The song was written by guitarist Robbie Van Leeuwen. When he translated the lyrics to English, he mistyped “A goddess on the mountaintop” to “A goddness on the mountaintop,” and singer Mariska Veres sang what she saw.

Release in 1969, the song reached #1 on the Billboard charts.

In 1986, the vocal trio Bananarama covered it, and their version also reached #1. (They corrected the typo, singing “goddess.”)

The song’s main guitar strums were lifted from the Who’s “Pinball Wizard.”

Featured in 2020’s Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, the song is presented as existing in 1967, two years before it was recorded and released. The song has been featured in multiple television shows and theatrical films, as well as ads for Gillette’s Venus razors.