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For the undead creature of Vodou lore, see zombie. For other meanings, see Zombie .


The Zombies are an Englishmarker rock band. Formed in 1959 in St Albansmarker and led by Rod Argent on piano and Colin Blunstone on vocals, the band scored US hits in the mid- and late-1960s with "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", and "Time of the Season". Their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle, comprised of twelve songs by the group's principal songwriters, Argent and Chris White, is now considered one of the best of its time and is ranked 80 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

History

1959-1968

The group formed in 1959 in St Albansmarker, Englandmarker, and gained their initial reputation playing the Old Verulamians Rugby Club in that city. The group was formed while the members were at school. Some sources state that Argent, Atkinson and Grundy were at St Albans Schoolmarker, while Blunstone and White were students at St Albans Boys' Grammar School (since renamed Verulam Schoolmarker). . James' father was the original drummer.

After winning a beat-group competition sponsored by the London Evening News, the Zombies signed to Decca and recorded their first hit, "She's Not There" (Argent's second song, written specifically for this session), which was released in mid-1964 and peaked at number 12 in the UKmarker, where it was their only UK Top 40 hit. 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 Statesmarker in early August 1964 on New York Citymarker rock station WINSmarker 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.

Like many other British Invasion groups, the Zombies were sent to the United States to tour behind their new hit single. Among their most memorable early U.S. gigs were Murray the K's Christmas shows at the Brooklynmarker 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 was set to make their first in person appearance on U.S. television. The Zombies were to appear on the first episode of NBC's Hullabaloo. They played "She's Not There" to a screaming hysterical audience full of teenage girls.

In early 1965, Rod Argent's "Tell Her No" became another big seller in the United States, but failed to make the Top 40 in the band's native UK. Subsequent recordings such as "I Love You" (which became a hit for People! in 1968), "Indication", "Whenever You're Ready", and "Is This the Dream" failed to achieve the success of the previous two singles.

Their first LP, Begin Here (1965), was a collection of early singles, featuring half a dozen original songs combined with several R&B covers. In 1967, 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 (Billboard #3).

The band's original lineup declined to regroup for concerts, so various concocted groups tried to capitalize on the success and falsely toured under the band's name. Another such group toured in 1988, going so far as to trademark the group's name (since the band had let the mark lapse) and recruit a member named Ronald Hugh Grundy, who was passed off as being an original member.

Solo careers

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, including working in the burglary claims section of an insurance company. Both Argent and White provided him with new songs.

1991-present

In 1991 Blunstone, Grundy and White briefly reunited as The Zombies with guitarist Sebastian Santa Maria and recorded the album New World.

On 25 November, 1997, all five Zombies reunited at the Jazz Cafemarker in London's Camden Townmarker as part of a solo show by Blunstone, to perform "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season".

Blunstone and Argent reunited for an album and tour together in 2001 under the Blunstone & Argent moniker and continued playing live shows together into 2004 when they began going out under The Zombies name again. The new line-up included Rod's cousin Jim Rodford (formerly of The Kinks and Argent), his son Steve Rodford on drums, and Keith Airey (brother of Don Airey) on guitar.

An album of new material released in 2004, As Far as I Can See..., received poor reviews from both Pitchfork and Allmusic. A 1997 120-track compilation of the original band's work, Zombie Heaven, was released on UK Ace/Big beat. In 2002, Ace/Big Beat released the 48 track "The Decca Stereo Anthology", which, for the first time, mixed all of the Decca/Parrot recordings into true stereo. (For the casual Zombies fan, this anthology, along with "Odessey And Oracle" are essential.)

Guitarist Paul Atkinson died in Santa Monica, Californiamarker, on 1 April 2004. Having retired as a performer, he was an A&R man for many years.

In 2005 Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of The Zombies released a DVD and 2-CD album (Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre), which received excellent reviews.

In 2006, Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone carried on touring as The Zombies. Their U.S. tour of 2007 garnered stellar reviews. Their touring continued into 2009.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Odessey & Oracle, the four surviving original members of The Zombies participated in a three-night series of concerts at London's Shepherd's Bushmarker Empire Theatre between 7 and 9 March, 2008.

Rod and Colin's respective websites had advertised that the 8 March concert was recorded for a CD and/or DVD release later in 2008, and the CD has been officially posted by Amazon.com to be presold for a release of 1 July, 2008.


The Zombies started a North American tour on 3 July, 2008, with an outdoor festival performance at the Comerica Cityfest in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker.

Line-ups

1959 to 1968
2004 to date

Discography

Studio albums



Live albums



Compilation albums



Contributions



Singles

Release date Title Chart positions
UKmarker U.S.marker CANmarker
August 1964 "She's Not There" /
"You Make Me Feel Good"
#12 #2 #2
November 1964 "Leave Me Be" /
"Woman"
December 1964 "Tell Her No" /
"What More Can I Do?"

("Leave Me Be" in US)
#42 #6 #6
March 1965 "She's Coming Home" /
"I Must Move"
#58 #21
June 1965 "I Want You Back Again" /
"Remember When I Loved Her" (US only single)
#95
August 1965 "Whenever You're Ready" /
"I Love You"
#110
September 1965 "Just Out of Reach" /
"Remember You"
#113
February 1966 "Is This the Dream?" /
"Don't Go Away"
June 1966 "Indication" /
"How We Were Before"
September 1966 "Gotta Get a Hold of Myself" /
"The Way I Feel Inside"
November 1966 "Goin' Out of My Head" /
"She Does Everything for Me"
November 1967 "Care of Cell 44" /
"Beechwood Park"
March 1968 "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)" /
"This Will Be Our Year" (US only single)
August 1968 "Time of the Season" /
"I'll Call You Mine"
November 1968 "Time of the Season" (US 2nd issue) /
"Friends of Mine"
#3 #1
May 1969 "Imagine the Swan" /
"Conversations Off Floral Street"
#109 #59
One of the reasons why UK Decca continued to support the group, despite their lack of UK hits is that they were quite popular in a number of countries, including Phillipines and in Sweden.

Covers



References

  1. allmusic Biography
  2. The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time : Rolling Stone
  3. Zombies' heyday recalled - The Hendon Times
  4. Classic Bands - The Zombies
  5. "Jim Powers, The Zombies Biography", enotes.com
  6. "MC Tom, Flop: 2 Degrees Separated from Cat Butt", Lamestain

Sources

  • Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
  • Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
  • Guinness Rockopedia - ISBN 0-85112-072-5
  • The Great Rock Discography - 5th Edition - ISBN 1-84195-017-3
  • The Book of Golden Discs - 2nd Edition - ISBN 0-214-20512-6


External links




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