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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

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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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alexandraabe l l a 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Nobody ever mentions that Zombies song "Summertime" Thats a shame!
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❤❤❤❤❤
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Don't read this. You will be hugged on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow you will have the best day of your life. Now you've started, but don't stop. If you read this and ignore it you will have bad luck. Put this on 15 other songs in 143 minutes, then press space bar and you crushed name will appear in big letters on the screen. This is so freaky. It actually works.
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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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I see dead people
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Always the Time of the Sason
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I'm looking for Stevie nicks & heart
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We saw them a year or so ago when they were touring. I haven't seen a better live band. They were spot on.
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✌️❤️
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b_odiembo
Yeah bro your great
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gandhcountry f u n : you know you can go out a hero... every man touches greatness at least once.
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These guys deserved much greater success than they experienced. This track alone demonstrates greatness, imho...
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stop by:

david... radio
50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s~
stop by:

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Hey baby I'm back like a heart attack been gone for a while these guy still kill I'm telling you!
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✌️❤️
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I have cancer and my generation is the 60's. this makes my treatments soooooo much better. Keep it going! I love you guys
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✌️❤️
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Totally unforgettabl e beat
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What's your name. Who's your Daddy. Brings back memories of cruising with little responsibili t i e s .
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So cool. I love this song and Pandora. Heck ya
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Rest In Peace David Bowie 1947-2016
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Thanks Pandora I found the best radio station on Earth!!!!!!
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#WHOYOURDADD Y ??
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I'd say they were the beginning of alternative
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thank you older brother for turning me on to this music when I was just a kid.
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We sang this in the 6th grade for a concert and I never new how cool of a song it was!! They're great!!
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Beautiful sensual voices and just great sound.
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How did u get name zombies when I burn j I feel zombie
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Saw this show in full special show Oracle-- fantastic!
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Love them...
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Gggghhhhhhhj h h h h g h h h h h h h h
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Saw them a few years ago at Humphrey 's in San Diego. Spencer Davis Group and Yardbirds were terrible. Then the Zombies took the stage and blew everyone away. Haven't lost a thing.
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All the great ones die young , but what fun they had plus you live forever .peace
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The best
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One of the most influential bands from the 60s but wildly overlooked and somewhat forgotten. Odessey & Oracle is a masterpiece in my mind.
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These guys are amazing!!
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this is the best version of this song, personally.
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catch Cult Choir opening for these legends in Portland!
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gdroetker
My radio ,no need for any other!!!!!!! !
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Cool a** white boys
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fariborz1500
I believe they are on tour now . Great music with memories .
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I AM OLD SCHOOL!
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Cool song
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christinadea n
Summertime is a sexy song. ;)
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christinadea n
I think Summertimeis a sexy song. ;)
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Ben Taylor Band has a great cover of Time of the Season. It is fitting that a band named the Zombies had their biggest hit well after they'd broken up.
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