Just lately I was thinking of the Dutch Invasion. No, not this one
. Not this one
either. I mean this one
. There was, of course, Shocking Blue
, with their classic
, and their lesser-known Never Marry a Railroad Man
and Mighty Joe
. Then there was the George Baker Selection
, with Little Green Bag
and Una Paloma Blanca
. Then you've got the very, er... unique Ma Belle Amie
, by Peter Tetteroo
and the Tee Set
. And how 'bout that Golden Earring
, eh? Radar Love
? Amirite? And of course, the inimitable Focus
, with their mega-hit instrumental, Hocus Pocus
. By now you're probably asking yourself "Why didn't they ever put a bunch of these Dutch bands out on little platforms sticking out of the ocean, and throw in some go-go girls, and film the whole thing from helicopters?" Well, THEY DID!
Those crazy Dutch!
Songfacts page for Venus
Lyrics for Venus
Lyrics for Never Marry a Railroad Man
Lyrics for Little Green Bag
Songfacts page for Ma Belle Amie
Lyrics for Ma Belle Amie
One more Golden Earring clip: Mad Love
. Check out those lights inside
the drum kit! Cool!
One more Focus clip: Sylvia / Hocus Pocus
. "Sylvia" is one of the dumbest tunes I've ever heard.
And... one more Dutch instrumental act: Ekseption
. More dopey prog oddness. That's Bach they're playing, right?
Plus... Popfestival in de Warrekam
. Check out the Dutch hippie vibe of 1971.
Looking back over all this material, I'm struck by the unlikeliness
of it all. Virtually every song from every one of these bands is a hodge podge of influences and musical ideas thrown together in entirely unexpected ways. In ways that are... wrong. This is mirrored in the lyrics as well: with their uniquely good grasp of English, Dutch songwriters were able to write and sing in English, but most all of these songs, at one point or another, utilize some phrase or lyric connection which is just, well, wrong
. Oddly wrong. All this combined is what, I think, makes so much of this stuff interesting. Kind of makes you wish more Dutch bands had really kept at it, or had more luck in the international arena. With these few efforts, some of these Dutch bands showed a proclivity for experimentation that, while not necessarily always successful, at least pointed toward a unique interpretation of the the language of rock and pop music.