Z – is for The Zombies

Friday 2nd February

Well, I recall the singles, especially the first one, the big one “She’s not There”, and that ethereal voice floating, ever floating, above the melody.  Then they sort of disappeared, the occasional single entering the lower reaches of the charts.  By 1969 they were ready to call it a day, five years since their big hit and since then diminishing returns.  They recorded one last album “Oddysey and Oracle” and then they split.

Rod Argent soon formed his own much heavier band Argent, Chris White released a couple of singles and Colin Blunstone, the voice of The Zombies took a couple of years out but returned in, I think 1972 with the sublimest of records “One Year”.  He had a string of hit albums and singles.   Argent did well too.  But what of that last album?  It was the slowest of slow burners, but gradually started to sell well and became a cult album, a musician’s record, a collector’s treasure.

And I started with Colin’s records – bought every one, and then got Oddysey, and then started to look up, mostly deleted, their earlier stuff (all available now on CD).  They have reformed a couple of times and still play the occasional concert together but are now really just Colin and Rod.  But I love the early stuff, the naïve singles, the gentle ballads, the imperfect pop of mid-sixties bands, trying desperately to sound different, to get a hit, to have a record as big as “She’s Not There”.  In a way having that huge hit was bad for them, they could never write a song that good again.  But what they did write was okay for me.  I have grown to love their early records, the failed singles and b sides too.  So, to close this little alphabet Z must be for the Zombies, an inappropriate name for an inappropriate but immensly talented group.