The Zombies in 1965. From left to right: Hugh Grundy, Paul Atkinson, Chris White, Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone.
The Zombies are an English rock band, formed in St. Albans in 1961. Like many of their contemporaries, they started out playing American rhythm and blues but rapidly developed their own Baroque Pop
sound, characterized by principal songwriter Rod Argent's keyboard and organ solos and lead singer Colin Blunstone's breathy vocals. This culminated in their most highly regarded work, "Odessey and Oracle", in 1968. Although they had a handful of hits in both their home country and the United States, they never received the attention or commercial success of their contemporaries. Indeed, the lack of commercial success meant that by the time "Odessey and Oracle" was released, they had broken up. Ironically, a single taken from the album, "Time of the Season", would go on to become one of their biggest hits despite the absence of a band to promote it.
The Zombies briefly reunited in 1990 (without Atkinson and Argent, and with Sebastian Santa Maria), and recorded the album "New World". Another brief reunion (this time of all 5 founding members) occoured in 1997, and it would be the last time they all reunited. Paul Atkinson died in 2004 from liver and kidney disease.
Argent and Blunstone reunited in 2001, and resurrected "The Zombies" name in 2004. That year they released "As Far As I Can See...", which was poorly received. This reformed Zombies with Argent, Blunstone and others continue to tour to this day and have released the strongly received album "Breathe Out, Breathe In" in 2011.
Principal Members (1961-1968, 1997) (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):
- Paul Arnold - bass (1961-1962)
- Paul Atkinson - guitar, vocals (1961-1968, 1997, died 2004)
- Rod Argent - piano, organ, keyboard, mellotron, backing and lead vocals, harmonica (1961-1968, 1997)
- Colin Blunstone - lead vocals (1961-1968, 1997)
- Hugh Grundy - drums, vocals (1961-1968, 1997)
- Chris White - bass, backing and lead vocals (1962-1968, 1997)
Principal Members (1990-1991, 2001-Present) (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):
- Keith Airey - guitar, vocals (2001-2010)
- Rod Argent - organ, keyboard, vocals (2001-Present)
- Colin Blunstone - lead vocals (1990-1991, 2001-Present)
- Hugh Grundy - drums (1990-1991, 2008)
- Sebastian Santa Maria - organ, keyboard, guitar (1990-1991)
- Jim Rodford - bass, vocals (2001-Present)
- Steve Rodford - drums (2001-Present)
- Tom Tooney - guitar, vocals (2010-Present)
- Chris White - bass, vocals (1990-1991, 2008)
Studio and Live Discography:
- 1965 - The Zombies note
- 1965 - Begin Here
- 1968 - Odessey And Oracle
- 1990 - New World
- 2003 - Live At The BBC
- 2004 - As Far As I Can See...
- 2005 - Live At The Bloomsbury Theatre, London
- 2008 - Odessey And Oracle: 40th Anniversary Live Concert
- 2011 - Breathe Out, Breathe In
- 2012 - Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios
- 2013 - Live In The UK
This band provides examples of:
- Baroque Pop: One of the defining bands.
- Breakup Song: "Maybe After He's Gone", "Brief Candles" (which is about someone else's breakup)
- The British Invasion: Though a less prominent example than certain other bands. They had US hits with "She's Not There" in 1964 and "Tell Her No" in 1965.
- Cherubic Choir: Argent had been a choirboy in St. Albans as a child.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The reunion concerts and reissue of "Odessey and Oracle" meant that they finally received some of the recognition they deserved… forty years too late. The album now frequently appears in “greatest album” lists.
- I Am the Band: Thoroughly averted. Although Blunstone’s distinctive vocals helped to give them their distinctive sound, the band was very much an ensemble and all five members were given equal treatment on record sleeves and promotional materials. The band is also known for its harmonies, and lead vocals were frequently shared.
- In The Style Of: "I Remember When I Loved Her" (similar to The Beatles' "And I Love Her"), "She Does Everything For Me" (similar to The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black"), "Beechwood Park" (similar to Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale"), and "Hung Up on a Dream" (similar to The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" and The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations").
- List Song: "Friends of Mine"
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Care Of Cell 44," an upbeat song whose lyrics are a love letter to a female ex-con.
- Non-Appearing Title: "Care Of Cell 44," "Changes," "Butcher’s Tale (Western Front, 1914)"
- Nostalgia Filter: "Hung Up On A Dream" is nostalgic for the Summer of Love.
- Which had occurred mere months before.
- Pop-Star Composer: They contributed songs to the film Bunny Lake is Missing, in which they briefly appear on a television set.
- Rouge Angles of Satin/Tyop on the Cover: The spelling mistake in the ‘’title’’ of Odessey and Oracle. The band did at the time try to claim it was an intentional play on the word “odes”, but no: the guy who designed the cover just didn’t know how to spell.note
- Silly Love Songs: Plenty.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Chris White sings lead on "Butcher's Tale (Western Front, 1914)"
- War Is Hell/World War One: "Butcher’s Tale (Western Front, 1914)"