25 February 2011

TGIF Rock-n-Roll Oldies: The Zombies - 1964


The Zombies are an English rock band formed in 1961 and led by Rod Argent on piano and Colin Blunstone on vocals.

The schoolboy chums who came to be known as The Zombies got their start playing at a St. Alban's rugby club, but soon rose from unknown local act to score major US hits later in the decade, such as "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", and "Time of the Season". 

Their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle -comprising twelve songs by the group's principal songwriters, Argent and White- ranks #80 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the '500 Greatest Albums of All Time'.

The Zombies signed to Decca and recorded their first hit "She's Not There"- which was released in the Summer of 1964 and peaked at #12 in the UK. This minor-key, jazz-tinged number, distinguished by its musicianship and Blunstone's breathy vocal, was unlike anything heard in British rock at the time. 

It was first aired in the United States in early August 1964 on New York City rock station WINS by Stan Z. Burns, who debuted the song on his daily noontime "Hot Spot". The tune began to catch on in early fall and eventually climbed to #2 in the US.

Like many other British Invasion groups, The Zombies were sent to The States to tour in support of a new hit single. Among their most memorable early U.S. gigs were Murray the K's Christmas shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre, where the band played seven performances a day. Hugh Grundy later recalled also contributing to the sets by the Shangri-Las -not as a musician... but by revving a motorcycle brought backstage as a sound effect for their performance of "Leader of the Pack"- 

In January 1965 the band made their debut on live U.S. television, playing "She's Not There" to hysterical teen girls on NBC's Hullabaloo. "Tell Her No" became another big seller in the United States (in 1965), but failed to make the Top 40 in the band's native UK. 

The Zombies signed to CBS Records, for whom they recorded the album Odessey and Oracle. (The word odyssey was misspelled by cover designers.) 

Because the band's budget could not cover session musicians, they used a Mellotron, a device designed to imitate orchestral sections. By the time Odessey and Oracle was released in April 1968, the group had disbanded. The album sold poorly and was only given a U.S. release because musician Al Kooper, then signed to Columbia Records, convinced his label of the album's merits. An album track, "Time of the Season", written by Argent, was released as a single and eventually (1969) became a nationwide hit (#3). 

After The Zombies disbanded, Rod Argent formed a band called Argent, with Chris White as a non-performing songwriter. Colin Blunstone started a solo career after a brief period outside the music business... he also later worked with the Alan Parsons Project...


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More RR Rock n Roll Oldies features -here-

 The Zombies, She's Not There, zombies, oldies, rock n roll, video, british invasion, 1964Tell Her No, Time of the Season, Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone

6 comments:

Adrienne said...

I haven't seen that many pairs of fairy boots in one place since, well - the 60's.

I was 18 when that song was a hit (which is hard to believe since I'm only 32 now ;-)

Matt said...

Man, I had no idea that there was a connection to the band Argent. Thanks for the info sir.

Reaganite Republican said...

I like your math Adrienne, I need to try that lol

And the band Argent, yup same guy... good trivia eh

Randy-g said...

I need some of that Idaho water Adrienne drinks...

Maggie Thornton said...

Adrienne, love your 'fairy boot' comment. I know this song but couldn't have ever named the band.

Teresa said...

Enjoyed the music, RR. Good trivia too.

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