Number 700 - Zombies
"Time Of The Season"
And Yup it is "The Time of the Season"
Aside from the Beatles and perhaps the Beach Boys, no mid-'60s rock group wrote melodies as gorgeous as those of the Zombies. Dominated by Colin Blunstone's breathy vocals, choral backup harmonies, and Rod Argent's shining jazz- and classical-influenced organ and piano, the band sounded utterly unique for their era. Indeed, their material -- penned by either Argent or guitarist Chris White, with unexpected shifts from major to minor keys -- was perhaps too adventurous for the singles market. To this day, they're known primarily for their three big hit singles, "She's Not There" (1964), "Tell Her No," (1965), and "Time of the Season" (1969). Most listeners remain unaware that the group maintained a remarkably high quality of work for several years.
The Zombies formed in the London suburb of St. Albans in the early '60s, and didn't actually entertain serious professional ambitions until they won a local contest, the prize being an opportunity to record a demo for consideration at major labels. Argent's composition "She's Not There" got them a deal with Decca, and the song ended up being their debut release. It was a remarkably confident and original first-time effort, with a great minor melody and the organ, harmonies, and urgent, almost neurotic vocals that would typify much of their work. It did well enough in Britain (making the Top 20), but did even better in the States, where it went to number two.
The tragedy was that throughout 1965 and 1966, the Zombies released a string of equally fine, intricately arranged singles that flopped commercially, at a time in which chart success of 45s was a lot more important to sustain a band's livelihood than it would be a few years down the road. "Remember When I Loved Her," "I Want You Back Again," "Indication," "She's Coming Home," "Whenever You're Ready," "Gotta Get a Hold of Myself," "I Must Move," "Remember You," "Just out of Reach," "How We Were Before" -- all are lost classics, some relegated to B-sides that went virtually unheard, all showing the group eager to try new ideas and expand their approaches. What's worse, the lack of a big single denied the group opportunities to record albums -- only one LP, rushed out to capitalize on the success of "She's Not There," would appear before 1968.
By 1967, the group hadn't had a hit for quite some time, and reckoned it was time to pack it in. Their Decca contract expired early in the year, and the Zombies signed with CBS for one last album, knowing before the sessions that it was to be their last. A limited budget precluded the use of many session musicians, which actually worked to the band's advantage, as they became among the first to utilize the then-novel Mellotron to emulate strings and horns.
Odessey and Oracle was their only cohesive full-length platter (the first album was largely pasted together from singles and covers). A near-masterpiece of pop/psychedelia, it showed the group reaching new levels of sophistication in composition and performance, finally branching out beyond strictly romantic themes into more varied lyrical territory. The album passed virtually unnoticed in Britain, and was only released in the States after some lobbying from Al Kooper. By that time it was 1968, and the group had split for good
The Zombies had been defunct for some time when one of the tracks from Odessey, "Time of the Season," was released as a single, almost as an afterthought. It took off in early 1969 to become their biggest hit, but the members resisted temptations to re-form, leading to a couple of bizarre tours in the late '60s by bogus "Zombies" with no relation to the original group. By this time, Rod Argent was already recording as the leader of Argent, which went in a harder rock direction than the Zombies. After a spell as an insurance clerk, Colin Blunstone had some success (more in Britain than America) in the early '70s as a solo vocalist, with material that often amounted to soft rock variations on the Zombies sound.
Much more influential than their commercial success would indicate, echoes of the Zombies' innovations can be heard in the Doors, the Byrds, the Left Banke, the Kinks, and many others. After a long period during which most of their work was out of print, virtually all of their recordings have been restored to availability on CD. ~ [Richie Unterberger]
For the Beatles see Number 947, 894 & 587
For Beach Boys see Number 714, 641, 576 & 560
For The Doors see Number 851, Number 746 & Number 729
What does Rolling Stone think about The Zombies
Formed in suburban London, the Zombies had some U.S. success with their early garage singles, 1964's "She's Not There" and '65's "Tell Her No." But by the time the quintet entered Abbey Road Studios in the summer of 1967, the U.K. music scene had changed drastically, and psychedelia was in bloom. Unlike many British Invasion groups, the Zombies actually had the chops and the introspection to meet psychedelia's challenge. The band would break up before Odessey and Oracle's release, but the album's final track, "Time of the Season," became a surprise smash, sporting a combination of love-era lyrics, vocal dexterity, brain-embedding hooks and jazzy keyboard flash. The rest of the disc is beloved by fans of baroque pop for its ornate melodies and nuanced arrangements, as well as the masterful harpsichord, organ, piano and Mellotron playing of Rod Argent. On Beatles-ish ballads such as the mournful "A Rose for Emily," the Zombies harmonize like an English-choirboy answer to Pet Sounds. Throughout Odessey, Colin Blunstone croons with a breathy, mentholated coolness: His androgynous tenor hits an emotional tone to which Jeff Buckley and Radiohead's Thom Yorke would later return.
For Radiohead see Number 640
For more Radiohead visit Mellow Mix Vol 1 #137
For the Beatles see Number 947, 894 & 587
Crowbarreds choice for Website to find more on The Zombies ... Click on the address http://zom.thefondfarewells.com/index.html