The Zombies

Since the first time I heard this band, I loved their sound. I liked their hits but a few years ago I bought their album Odessey and Oracle and was blown away. The Beatles were big fans of them in the sixties.

They formed in 1961 by Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone. The hit big in 1964 with singles She’s Not There that went to #2 in American and the follow up Tell Her No that went to #6 on the charts. After that, they released some more singles but nothing hit.

They went into Abbey Road studio right after The Beatles recorded the Sgt Pepper album. When recording the album they even used The Beatle’s Mellotron they left there. They recorded it in Abbey Road and some in Olympic Studio in London.

By the time the album came out they had already broken up. In 1968 CBS records were not going to release it in America at all but a young  A&R man at the time named Al Kooper who worked for CBS told Clive Davis (President of CBS Records) that there were hit singles on the album. The album was released and the single “Time of Season” went to number 1 on the Cash Box Top 100 and number 3 in US Billboard Hot 100…

The album contains much more than that though. Personally, I think “Care of Cell 44” is one of the best pop songs I’ve heard. It’s as if mid-60s Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson had a baby…and Care Of Cell 44 is it.

A Rose for Emily is another good pop song. “This Will Be Our Year” is another one. This album is one of my favorite pop albums of all time. The songs have well-crafted melodies and the sound is wonderful. Time of Season is a classic and has a mood, unlike any other song.

Colin Blunstone has a unique voice all his own. He did have a few solo hits in the UK charts during the 1970s.

Rod Argent went on to form the band Argent… they had a hit with “Hold Your Head Up” and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” later covered by Petra and KISS with modified lyrics.

The Zombies regrouped in the 90s and are still touring. Get a good pair of headphones and listen to Care of Cell 44.

From the Al Kooper book, Backstage Passes… Talking about Odessey and Oracle

I made an appointment with Clive Davis and put the album on his desk. “I really think we should purchase the master rights to this album for the U.S.,” I aggressively suggested. He took one look at the cover and replied, “We already own this album. I was just about to sign off on our option to release it domestically.”
Now, it got good to me—
“I think that would be a huge mistake Clive. Why there’s at least two hit singles here.” He told me he would sleep on it and thanked me for bringing it to his attention. Two weeks later I got an interoffice memo saying they were gonna put it out, with instructions to rewrite the liner notes and pick a single. Cautiously, Clive released it on a little subsidiary label CBS had called Date Records, in case I turned out to be wrong. But my lucky streak was goin’ strong and that is how the single “Time of the Season” by The Zombies came to be number one. The album Oddesey [sic] and Oracle had been out quite awhile in England. (In fact, the band had already broken up and metamorphosed into a new band called Argent that CBS had signed before “Time” was released.) A buncha Zombies crossed the ocean to take photos and get gold records. No one at CBS thanked me for this; I received no gold record or cash recompense. But The Zombies, who knew what really happened, made sure to come to my office and thank me profusely. That was worth it all to me at that time.

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

12 thoughts on “The Zombies”

  1. Yes The Zombies- one of the most under-rated groups ever. They seem to be remembered for their three hits songs but so much more! Do you have Zombies Heaven? One of my favorite box sets! They are still touring- I tried to get tickets but they were sold out a few months ago.

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    1. No, but I need to get it. I had their greatest hits back in the 90s and I loved it but when I heard Odessy and Oracle that was it. I will put the box set on my list. I missed them here a few years ago. They were here and gone before I knew it…

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      1. I got the box set years ago- and I was simply amazed at how great these guys were. I knew the three hits I don’t understand why they didn’t have dozens of hits so many of the songs sounded like hits to my ears.

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      2. I was thinking the same thing. Their songs are universal…it’s not like they are too British. Probably mishandled by their record company or manager. I was reading about them and I read where John Lennon offered to manage them in 1967. I found an interview with Colin Blunstone and he said he heard the same thing but he thought John wanted to produce them… which would make more sense than manage.

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      3. I had to laugh at the thought of John managing them… I need to get out the booklet that came with the box and read it maybe that will shed some light on their problems not making it big. .. Blunstone is an amazing singer. Jagger could only dream of singing like that!

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      4. I’m with you on John Lennon…especially in 1967…can, you imagine? Producing yea I could see but he did well to manage his self… His voice is just so unique…No Jagger is not in the same league. That’s not a knock on Jagger but Blunstone is just that good.

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