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The Zombies

Aside from the Beatles and perhaps the Beach Boys, no mid-'60s rock group wrote melodies as gorgeous as those of the Zombies. Dominated by Colin Blunstone's breathy vocals, choral backup harmonies, and Rod Argent's shining jazz- and classical-influenced organ and piano, the band sounded utterly unique for its era. Indeed, the Zombies' material -- penned by either Argent or guitarist Chris White, with unexpected shifts from major to minor keys -- was perhaps too adventurous for the singles market. To this day, they're known primarily for their three big hit singles, "She's Not There" (1964), "Tell Her No" (1965), and "Time of the Season" (1969). Most listeners remain unaware that the group maintained a remarkably high quality of work for several years.

The Zombies formed in the London suburb of St. Albans in the early '60s, and didn't actually entertain serious professional ambitions until they won a local contest, the prize being an opportunity to record a demo for consideration at major labels. Argent's composition "She's Not There" got them a deal with Decca, and the song ended up being their debut release. It was a remarkably confident and original first-time effort, with a great minor melody and the organ, harmonies, and urgent, almost neurotic vocals that would typify much of their work. It did well enough in Britain (making the Top 20), but did even better in the States, where it went to number two.

In fact, throughout their career, the Zombies would experience a lot more success across the waters than they did at home. In early 1965, another piece of classic British Invasion pop, "Tell Her No," went into the Top Ten. Yet that was as much Top 40 success as the group would have for several years. The tragedy was that throughout 1965 and 1966, the Zombies released a string of equally fine, intricately arranged singles that flopped commercially, at a time in which the chart success of 45s was a lot more important to sustain a band's livelihood than it would be a few years down the road. "Remember When I Loved Her," "I Want You Back Again," "Indication," "She's Coming Home," "Whenever You're Ready," "Gotta Get a Hold of Myself," "I Must Move," "Remember You," "Just Out of Reach," "How We Were Before" -- all are lost classics, some relegated to B-sides that went virtually unheard, all showing the group eager to try new ideas and expand its approaches. What's worse, the lack of a big single denied the group opportunities to record albums -- only one LP, rushed out to capitalize on the success of "She's Not There," would appear before 1968.

Their failure to achieve more widespread success is a bit mystifying, perhaps explained by a few factors. While undeniably pop-based, their original compositions and arrangements were in some senses too adventurous for the radio. "Indication," for instance, winds down with a lengthy, torturous swirl of bitter organ solos and wordless, windblown vocals; "Remember When I Loved Her," despite its beautiful melody, has downbeat lyrics that are almost morbid; "I Want You Back Again" is arranged like a jazz waltz, with the sorts of sudden stops, tempo shifts, and lengthy minor organ solos found in a lot of their tunes. The Zombies were also, perhaps unfairly, saddled with a somewhat square image; much was made of their formidable scholastic record, and they most definitely did not align themselves with the R&B-based school of British bands, preferring more subtle and tuneful territory.

By 1967, the group hadn't had a hit for quite some time, and reckoned it was time to pack it in. Their Decca contract expired early in the year, and the Zombies signed with CBS for one last album, knowing before the sessions that it was to be their last. A limited budget precluded the use of many session musicians, which actually worked to the Zombies' advantage, as they became among the first to utilize the then-novel Mellotron to emulate strings and horns.

Odessey and Oracle was their only cohesive full-length platter (the first album was largely pasted together from singles and covers). A near-masterpiece of pop/psychedelia, it showed the group reaching new levels of sophistication in composition and performance, finally branching out beyond strictly romantic themes into more varied lyrical territory. The album passed virtually unnoticed in Britain, and was only released in the States after some lobbying from Al Kooper. By that time it was 1968, and the group had split for good.

The Zombies had been defunct for some time when one of the tracks from Odessey, "Time of the Season," was released as a single, almost as an afterthought. It took off in early 1969 to become their biggest hit, but the members resisted temptations to re-form, leading to a couple of bizarre tours in the late '60s by bogus "Zombies" with no relation to the original group. By this time, Rod Argent was already recording as the leader of Argent, which went in a harder rock direction than the Zombies. After a spell as an insurance clerk, Colin Blunstone had some success (more in Britain than America) in the early '70s as a solo vocalist, with material that often amounted to soft rock variations on the Zombies sound.

Much more influential than their commercial success would indicate, echoes of the Zombies' innovations can be heard in the Doors, the Byrds, the Left Banke, the Kinks, and many others. After a long period during which most of their work was out of print, virtually all of their recordings have been restored to availability on CD. Blunstone and Argent reunited for an album, Out of the Shadows, and toured together in 2003 as Blunstone & Argent, playing live shows into 2004 when they began gigging again as the Zombies, with an album and DVD set, Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, appearing under that name in 2005. To honor the 40th anniversary of Odessey and Oracle, the four surviving original members of the group reunited for a series of three concerts at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire Theatre in March of 2008, with a CD and DVD set of the shows hitting the market later that summer. A new studio album, Breathe Out, Breathe In, attributed to the Zombies featuring Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent, appeared in 2011. The moniker was pared down to the Zombies for 2015's Still Got That Hunger, an album of new tunes from a lineup anchored by Argent and Blunstone and featuring guitarist Tom Toomey, bassist Jim Rodford, and drummer Steve Rodford. The Still Got That Hunger lineup toured in tandem with the Argent, Blunstone, White, and Grundy edition, presenting a show in which the original members performed Odessey and Oracle in full, followed by a set of new material from the most recent lineup. ~ Richie Unterberger & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Breathe Out, Breathe In

1. Breathe Out, Breathe In

2. Any Other Way

3. Play For Real

4. Shine On Sunshine

5. Show Me The Way

6. A Moment In Time

7. Christmas For The Free

8. Another Day

9. I Do Believe

10. Let It Go

x

Track List: Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre, London

Disc 1

2. This Will Be Our Year (Live)

3. I Love You (Live)

4. What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted (Live)

6. A Rose For Emily (Live)

7. Beechwood Park (Live)

8. Time Of The Season (Live)

11. Keep On Rolling (Live)

12. Hold Your Head Up (Live)

Disc 2

3. Say You Don't Mind (Live)

4. Misty Roses (Live)

7. Care Of Cell 44 (Live)

9. Tell Her No (Live)

10. She's Not There (Live)

x

Track List: As Far As I Can See

1. In My Mind A Miracle

2. Memphis

3. Southside Of The Street

4. I Want To Fly

5. Time To Move

6. I Don't Believe In Miracles

7. As Far As I Can See

8. With You Not Here

9. Wings Against The Sun

10. Together

11. Look For A Better Way

x

Track List: The Singles As & Bs

Disc 1

1. She's Not There

2. You Make Me Feel Good

3. Leave Me Be

4. Woman

5. Tell Her No

6. What More Can I Do

7. She's Coming Home

8. I Must Move

9. I Want You Back Again

10. I Remember When I Loved Her

11. Whenever You're Ready

12. I Love You

13. Is This The Dream

14. Don't Go Away

15. Remember You

16. Just Out Of Reach

17. Indication

18. How We Were Before

19. Gotta Get A Hold Of Myself

20. The Way I Feel Inside

21. Goin' Out Of My Head

22. She Does Everything For Me

Disc 2

1. Friends Of Mine

2. Beechwood Park

3. This Will Be Our Year

4. Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)

5. Care Of Cell 44

6. Maybe After He's Gone

7. Time Of The Season

8. I'll Call You Mine

9. Imagine The Swan

10. Conversation Off Floral Street

11. If It Don't Work Out

12. I Know She Will

13. Don't Cry For Me

15. Kind Of Girl

16. Sometimes

17. It's Alright With Me

18. Summertime

19. Nothing's Changed

x

Track List: New World

1. New World (My America)

2. Love Breaks Down

3. I Can't Be Wrong

4. Lula Lula

5. Heaven's Gate

6. Time Of The Season (Re-Record)

7. Monday Morning Dance

8. Blue

9. Nights On Fire

10. Losing You

11. Alone In Paradise

12. Knowing You

13. Love Conquers All

x

Track List: The Singles Collection: As And Bs 1964-1969

1. She's Not There

2. You Make Me Feel Good

3. Leave Me Be

4. Woman

5. Tell Her No

6. What More Can I Do

7. She's Coming Home

8. I Must Move

9. Whenever You're Ready

10. I Love You

11. Is This The Dream

12. Don't Go Away

13. Remember You

14. Just Out Of Reach

15. Indication

16. How We Were Before

17. Gotta Get A Hold Of Myself

18. The Way I Feel Inside

19. Goin' Out Of My Head

20. She Does Everything For Me

21. Friends Of Mine

22. Beechwood Park

23. Care Of Cell 44

24. Maybe After He's Gone

25. Time Of The Season

26. I'll Call You Mine

27. Imagine The Swan

28. Conversation Off Floral Street

x

Track List: Begin Here

1. Road Runner

2. Summertime

3. I Can't Make Up My Mind

4. The Way I Feel Inside

5. Work 'N' Play

7. She's Not There

8. Sticks And Stones

9. Can't Nobody Love You

10. Woman

11. I Don't Want To Know

12. I Remember When I Loved Her

13. What More Can I Do

14. I Got My Mojo Working

15. It's Alright With Me

16. Sometimes

17. Kind Of Girl

18. Tell Her No

x

Track List: Moving On (Single)

1. Moving On

x

Track List: Still Got That Hunger

1. Moving On

2. Chasing The Past

3. Edge Of The Rainbow

4. New York

5. I Want You Back Again (2015)

6. And We Were Young Again

7. Maybe Tomorrow

8. Never Get Over You

9. Little One

10. Beyond The Borderline

x

Track List: The Original Studio Recordings (Volume Two)

1. Brief Candles

2. Can't Nobody Love You

3. Care Of Cell 44

4. Changes

5. I'll Call You Mine

6. I'll Keep Trying

7. I'm Going Home

8. If It Don't Work Out (Undubbed Version)

9. Imagine The Swan

10. Indication

11. Is This The Dream

12. It's Alright With Me

13. Just Out Of Reach

14. Kind Of Girl

15. Leave Me Be

16. Maybe After He's Gone

17. Nothing's Changed

18. I Remember When I Loved Her

19. Remember You

20. Time Of The Season (Alternate Mix)

21. You've Really Got A Hold On Me

Comments

Report as inappropriate
jchaldu
I saw them play live a few years ago at a local casino. the band was amazing. Rod Argent has major chops and Colin's vocals were as strong as ever.
Report as inappropriate
Isn't it spelled Odyssey and not Odessey? Maybe I'm wrong (I'm not a native English speaker) but is there a specific reason for the spelling?
Report as inappropriate
Stand by me by Ben E King. Listen to it and then this. Similar?
Report as inappropriate
One of the BEST groups EVER!!!
Report as inappropriate
Time of the season
Report as inappropriate
Mmmm... high school girlfriends ;)
Report as inappropriate
just tell me I love you too don't hold back my Mike your mimi
Report as inappropriate
Love this song. I should have been around in the 60's and 70's. Born too late.
Report as inappropriate
The Zombies ruled...Brit a n n i a . . . a n d beyond its mighty shores. Yea, verily.
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I would like to be showed me how you give loven good loven my love now baby my Mike your mimi
Report as inappropriate
I believe 'shes not there' could possibly be the first psychedelic song ever created
Report as inappropriate
give it to me my Mike all the way your Mimi
Report as inappropriate
justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
?��
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dragonlady60 8 8
ZOMBIES WERE GREAT
Report as inappropriate
If you are listening be safe
Report as inappropriate
Thank you for letting me listen to your music. You right. Some good music.
Report as inappropriate
Love this song
Report as inappropriate
When your blood runs wild .mine did nothing but trouble. Lol
Report as inappropriate
Time of the season to love the Zombies
Report as inappropriate
thefoutchfam i l y
This is an impressive bio. Insanely detailed. Wow.
Report as inappropriate
One of my favorite bands of the 60's baby;))
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I love the zombies
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Hey Kim34683.... U got sum Cool a** parents...fo r real....I know they jammed��
Report as inappropriate
cw077
gotta love Zombies
Report as inappropriate
My 70 Yr. Old Parents WENT TO THE BEACH BOYS A FEW DAYS AGO!!!!!!
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Summer is this time of the season for loving!!!
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
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Time of the season ,when your blood runs wild .that's why I love you
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<3
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I love The Zombies! Always preferred them over The Beatles. Who's your daddy?!
Report as inappropriate
Todays Music pales by comparison
Report as inappropriate
thatjayne
It gets down to either 'tell her no' (zombies) or 'will you love me tomorrow' (written by carol King) as my all time favorite song from that era.
Report as inappropriate
mysteriousst r a n g e r s 8 6
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Could use more cowbell!
Report as inappropriate
Wow, I like zombies and I like The Zombies, too bad they are not real zombies though...roc k n roll zombies would be cool!
Report as inappropriate
Listening to She's Not There and thinking it doesn't sound 52 years old!
Report as inappropriate
without_void
love their lyrics vocal effects and organ...so good
Report as inappropriate
MY Zombies, Fifi! Anywho, I always want to hear Spooky by Classics IV afterwords!?
Report as inappropriate
Can't live without my Zombies ����
Report as inappropriate
milosdad
Time of the Season. One of the better tunes out there. Period.
Report as inappropriate
Trippy beach music.... On shrooms and sea water and sunshine!!!!
Report as inappropriate
sandymcleod1 7 5
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
Nobody ever mentions that Zombies song "Summertime" Thats a shame!
Report as inappropriate
❤❤❤❤❤
Report as inappropriate
The Zombies were great. There were several Zombie clone bands too that weren't to bad.
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Brat
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