Zombies – Care of Cell 44

This is one of my favorite pop songs of the 1960s. The vocals are reminiscent of the Beach Boys. It’s a sunny and bright song musically about a guy writing to his girl…in prison. The song doesn’t express or explain why she is in prison just that he will be with her when her stay is over.

The song is arranged beautifully. with the vocal only arrangements, You can hear Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney’s influence on this recording. Chris White’s (Zombies bass player) bass playing is phenomenal in this song.

It is on the album Odessey and Oracle, one of the best albums of the sixties. The hit song on the album is Time of the Season but it is full of great songs. It charted a year after it was released at #95 in the Billboard 200 album charts in 1969. The song/album would be on my desert island list.

Rod Argent (Zombies keyboard player) talks about recording the album: We didn’t think, “Oh, we have to do something like Pet Sounds,” but I think it did inspire us. There wasn’t any attempt to copy the elements that were in there so much as the creativity of it and the feeling of pushing pop music forward into different spaces than it had been before. I think Pet Sounds was an indirect influence, as it was on Sgt. Pepper. Since then, Paul McCartney’s said the same thing; they felt they had to do something similar.

Rod Argent wrote the song.

From Songfacts

This uptempo pop symphony is about a guy writing to his girlfriend, who is in prison. The group’s main songwriter Rod Argent recalled in Mojo Magazine February 2008: “It just appealed to me. That twist on a common scenario, I just can’t wait for you to come home to me again.”

This was released as the first single from the Odessey And Oracle album in the UK, but it didn’t make the charts, which surprised vocalist, Colin Blunstone. He said in his Songfacts interview, “It’s a wonderfully crafted song. I think it’s got an incredible lyric, wonderful chord sequence and a great melody – it’s just got everything.”

Blunstone was shocked by the song’s lack of popular appeal, as he thought it was a very commercial track. Soon after it stiffed, the band split up and Blunstone took a job in the Burglary Department of a London insurance office. Bassist Chris White admitted: “We tried to promote ‘Care Of Cell 44,’ but there was no positive reaction. It was downhill from then on.” However the band did have a surprise hit in America a year after their breakup when “Time Of The Season” peaked at #3.

Care of Cell 44

Good morning to you, I hope your feeling better baby
Thinkin of me while you are far away
Counting the days until they set you free again
Writing this letter, hoping your okay
Sent to the room you used to stay in every Sunday
The one that is warmed by sunshine every day
And we’ll get to know each other for a second time
Then you can tell me about your prison stay

Feels so good your coming home soon

Its gonna be good to have you back again with me
Watching the laughter play around your eyes
Come up and getcha, saved up for the train fare money
Kiss and make-up and it will be so nice

Feels so good your coming home soon

Walking the way we used to walk
And it could be so nice
Talkin the way we used to talk
And it could be so nice

Its gonna be nice to have you back again with me
Watching the laughter play around your eyes
Come up and getcha, saved up for the train fare money
Kiss and make-up and it will be so nice

Feels so good your coming home soon

(Ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh
Ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh ahh)

Feels so good your coming home soon

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

12 thoughts on “Zombies – Care of Cell 44”

    1. I was thinking about that… That had to be it. They released it as a single the UK but I don’t think they did in the US. If it wasn’t for Al Kooper the album may not have been released in America. He had to talk Clive Davis into it…that is crazy to me. Such a classic album.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I didn’t know the name of this song or that it was The Zombies. I always got it confused with the song called ‘98.6’. They were out around the same time, I think. I liked them both, but having them both on the radio around the same time could have been a contributing factor to this one not being a hit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Someone just commented about why this wasn’t a hit. I just listened to 98.6 and it does have the same pop feel…
      The subject matter couldn’t have helped this one but I thought it was an interesting angle. The vocals and that mid-sixties sounding bass are the two things that I like about this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Never heard this one before. I am finding it hard to wrap my mind about the happy tune with such sombre lyrics. It’s a mismatch. I’d like to see somebody slow it down and put an “unchained melody” spin to it. It has potential to be a smash hit, just needs attitude adjustment….

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The arrangement would be perfect for other lyrics — not about a woman in prison — in my opinion. Write new lyrics for this and give the lyrics of this to a different time and melody….

        Liked by 1 person

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