Inductee Insights: The Zombies
Enjoy the lush, timeless style from 2019 Inductees The Zombies one of the most admired & influential groups of the 1960's in our full Inductee Insights episodes, powered by PNC Bank.
Inductee Insights The Zombies
Inductee Insights The Zombies
Inventive, lush and timeless, the Zombies are psychedelic pop at its best. As members of the British Invasion, they carried sounds and styles from old world to new. Their intricate arrangements and sophisticated atmospherics stood apart from the raw, blues-drenched disciples of American blues and R&B. Jazz-inflected electric piano and choirboy vocals filled space gorgeously, endearing the Zombies overnight to a sea of fans.
The classic lineup of The Zombies fell back to school days in England: Keyboardist and singer Rod Argent met guitarist Paul Atkinson and drummer Hugh Grundy as schoolmates. Bassist Chris White and lead singer Colin Blunstone joined shortly after.
Awarded a recording contract with Decca in 1964, the Zombies were quickly swept up in a whirlwind in of success. Their career kicked off with two massive hit singles “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No.” After being catapulted to the top of the US charts in a matter of months, the group released their debut LP, Begin Here. The album included covers of “Summertime,” and Bo Diddley’s “Road Runner,” as well as new songs penned by Argent including the short, nearly acapella “The Way I Feel Inside.”
The Zombies released several more singles over the next two years before returning to the studio to record what would become their second and final album – the masterful Odessey and Oracle.
The album featured the band’s signature three-part harmonies, but with new complexity from Rod Argent and Chris White’s unique arrangements. Recorded at the iconic Abbey Road studios, The Zombies also experimented with synthesized samples of woodwinds and strings, while also using John Lennon’s mellotron which had been left behind in the studio. The mellotron added a richness to songs like “Changes” and “Hung Up on A Dream.” Balanced by lighter and brighter tracks like “Care of Cell 44” and “Beechwood Park,” the album covered a wide spectrum of tones and moods.
Though Odessey was understood to be the band’s final album, it gave the Zombies their biggest hit to date; the era-defining “Time of the Season.” Featuring a unique mix of call and response interlaced with winding, improvisation organ melodies, the track has transcended cult status, becoming a 60s psychedelic pop staple.
The magic of Odessey and Oracle is its timeless, fresh sounds that still feels as innovative now as it did as its release over 50 year ago. The album has earned its reputation alongside such masterworks as the Beatles’ White Album and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.
The Zombies split quietly shortly after recording Odessey. But in 2004, Argent and Blunstone reunited under the Zombies name, lighting a spark for the band’s new era. Rod Argent’s eponymous band gave majesty and definition to the ’70s, but the Zombies, which he and Colin Blunstone have been helming on records and tours for the past decade, are truly a rock band for all seasons.
The Zombies continue to connect old world and new, pulling from influences including Elvis, the Beach Boys and Little Richard, while inspiring new generations of musicians including Tom Petty, The Bangles, Elliott Smith and the Lemon Twigs. The band continues to tour in support of the enduring Odessey and Oracle; the original lineup has reunited to celebrate the album’s anniversary with fans worldwide.
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