The Zombies

Band members                             Related acts

  line-up 1 (1963-64)

- Rod Argent -- vocals, keyboards, violin 
- Paul Arnold -- bass
- Paul Atkinson -- guitar, harmonica, violin 
- Colin Blunstone -- vocals, percussion, guitar 
- Hugh Grundy -- drums, percussion


  line-up 2 (1964-68)

- Rod Argent -- vocals, keyboards, violin 
- Paul Atkinson -- guitar, harmonica, violin
- Colin Blunstone -- vocals, percussion, guitar
- Hugh Grundy -- drums, percussion
NEW - Chris White -- vocals, bass (replaced Paul Arnold)


  line-up 3 (1990)

- Colin Blunstone -- vocals

- Hugh Grundy -- drums, percussion

NEW - Sebastián Santa María (RIP 1996) -- keyboards, guitar,


- Chris White -- bass, vocals) 


  supporting musicians: (1990)

- Paul Atkinson (RIP 2004) -- guitar

- Duncan Browne -- vocals, guitar

- Tim Renwick -- guitar

- Laurie Wisefield -- guitar

- John Wolloff -- guitar



- The Accent (Rick Birkett)

- Rod Argent (solo efforts)
- Argent (Rod Argent and Jim Rodford)

- Mike Batt and Friends (Colin Blunstone)
- Colin Blunstone (solo efforts)

- The Bolland Project (Colin Blunstone)

- The Mike Cotton Sound

- The Crowd (Colin Blunstone)

- The Geckos (Hugh Grundy)

- Jellybread (Rick Birkett)
- Keats (Colin Blunstone)

- The Kinks (Jim Rodford)

- Krew (Keith Airey)

- Lucas and the Mike Cotton Sound (Jim Rodford)
- Neil MacArthur (Colin Blunstone) 

- Phoenix (Jim Rodford)

- Piano Seven (Sebastián Santa María)

- Shadowshow (Rod Argent)

- The Jericho (Keith Airey)

- Chris White (solo efforts)

- The Chris White Experience

- Wild Connections (Rod Argent)

- The Wilsations (Keith Airey)





Genre: psych

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Odessey & Oracle

Company: Date

Catalog: TES 4013

Year: 1967

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: minor edge and corner wear; initials on back cover

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5284

Price: $60.00


Increasingly frustrated with Decca's lack of support and unwillingness to finance a second album, in late 1967 the group switched to Columbia's recently formed Date subsidiary. The self-produced (and partially self-financed), "Odessey and Oracle" (their spelling, not mine), was a clear effort to shed their 'pop' reputation in order to gain respect as 'serious' musicians. Given extensive creative freedom, working separately Argent and White were again responsible for all of the material and while tracks such as 'Butcher's Tale: (Western Front 1914)' and 'Brief Candles' occasionally bordered on the pretentious (can't think of a lot of bands writing about World War 1 atrocities), thankfully the group's trademarked ethereal melodies and restrained, keyboard dominated sound remained intact. An overlooked era classic, the entire set was worth hearing; to my ears highlights included the weird 'Care of Cell 44' (girlfriend about to be released from jail), the pseudo-psychedelic 'Beechwood Park', 'Changes' and the delicious pop-oriented 'I Want Her She Wants Me'. Considering the album too uncommercial for American audiences Date initially decided not to release the album in the States. Date's decision saw the frustrated group elect to call it quits. Ironically, after constant prodding from fan Al Kooper, Date relented, releasing the set in the States posthumously. Unexpectedly the album's first single 'Time of the Season' b/w 'I'll Call You Mine' (Date catalog number 2-1628) went top-5. Propelled by the single, the parent album hit # 95.


Date executives hastily offered the band a large cash bonus to reform and tour in support of the album. Already involved in a new project Argent refused the offer, but did agree to complete several previously written and partially recorded Zombie tracks. Working with guitarist Rick Birkett, drummer Grundy and bassist Jim Rodford the quartet returned to the studio recording several previously written, but unrecorded numbers. Unfortunately, after 'Imagine the Swan' b/w 'Conversation on Floral Street' (Date catalog number 2-1644) was released as an unsuccessful single (it peaked at # 109), enthusiasm within the band and within Date faded and the follow-up album project was shelved.

"Odessey and Oracle" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Care of Cell 44   (Rod Argent) - 3:54
2.) A Rose for Emily   (Rod Argent) - 2:17
3.) Maybe After He's Gone   (Chris White) - 2:32
4.) Beechwood Park   (Chris White) - 2:43
5.) Brief Candles   (Chris White) - 3:30
6.) Hung Up On a Dream   (Chris White) - 3:01

(side 2)

1.) Changes   (Rod Argent) - 3:15
2.) I Want Her She Wants Me - 2:48
3.) This Will Be Our Year   (Chris White) - 2:06
4.) Butcher's Take (Western Front 1914)   (Chris White) - 2:47
5.) Friends of Mine   (Chris White) - 2:15
6.) Time of the Season   (Rod Argent) - 3:30

Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Time of the Zombies

Company: Epic

Catalog: KEG-23861

Year: 1973

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: double album set; gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5286

Price: $20.00


Released by Epic, 1973's "Time of the Zombies" was a comprehensive two album, 28 track retrospective. In addition to their American hits, the set included all 14 "Odessey and Oracle" tracks. Up until the release of the boxed set, it stood as the most comprehensive retrospective (it remains the most affordable compilation for the curious and casual fans.) Sporting one of the year's uglier covers, the set manage to squeak to # 204. (The album was originally released with a gatefold sleeve.)

"Time of the Zombies" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) She's Not There (Rod Argent) - 2:23
2.) Tell Her No (Rod Argent) - 2:04
3.) Whenever You're Ready (Rod Argent) - 2:41
4.) Is This The Dream (Rod Argent) - 2:43
5.) Summertime (George Gershwin - D. Heward) - 2:16
6.) I Love You (Chris White) - 3:21
7.) You Make Me Feel Good (Chris White) - 2:39

(side 2)

1.) She's Coming Home (Rod Argent) - 2:38
2.) She Loves the Way You Love Her (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 3:02
3.) Imagine the Swan (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 3:02
4.) Smokey Day (Rod Argent - Chris White) - 2:25
5.) If It Don't Work Out (Rod Argent) - 2:27
6.) I Know She Will (Chris White) - 2:35
7.) Don't Cry For Me (Chris White) - 2:14

(side 3)

1.) Walking In the Sun (Rod Argent) - 2:38
2.) I'll Call You Mine (Chris White) - 2:42
3.) Care of Cell 44 (Rod Argent) - 3:54
4.) A Rose for Emily (Rod Argent) - 2:17
5.) Maybe After He's Gone (Chris White) - 2:32
6.) Beechwood Park (Chris White) - 2:43
7.) Brief Candles (Chris White) - 3:30

(side 4)

1.) Hung Up On a Dream (Chris White) - 3:01
2.) Changes (Rod Argent) - 3:15
3.) I Want Her She Wants Me - 2:48
4.) This Will Be Our Year (Chris White) - 2:06
5.) Butcher's Take (Western Front 1914) (Chris White) - 2:47
6.) Friends of Mine (Chris White) - 2:15
7.) Time of the Season (Rod Argent) - 3:30



Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Zombies Live On the BBC 1965-67

Company: Rhino

Catalog: RNLP-120

Year: 1985

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5287

Price: $15.00


Having acquired rights to the band's catalog, in 1985 Rhino Records released "The Zombies Live On the BBC 1965-67." As reflected by the title, recorded across a two year period, the retrospective pulled together 14 tracks drawn from six appearances on BBC programs including "Tops of the Pops," "Saturday Club" and "The David Symonds Show." Musically the collection offered up a mixture of the band's hits and lesser known covers - many such as Curtis Mayfield's 'It's Alright' and Isley Brothers' 'This Old Heart Of Mine' well known soul chestnuts. While considerably rawer than the studio versions, the differences weren't without their appeal. On material such as 'Tell Her No', 'Just Out Of Reach' (drawn from their soundtrack "Bunny Lake Is Missing") and 'Whenever You're Ready?' the group showed themselves to be a tight rock outfit. Very impressive ...

"The Zombies Live On the BBC 1965-67" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Tell Her No (live)   (Rod Argent) - 2:03
2.) Just Out Of Reach (live)   (Colin Blunstone) - 2:00
3.) Whenever You're Ready? (live)   (Rod Argent) - 2:35
4.) Can't Nobody Love You (live)   (Mitchell) - 2:15
5.) What More Can I Do (live)   (Chris White) - 2:02
6.) This Old Heart Of Mine (live)   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) 
- 2:21
7.) For You My Love (live)   (Gayton) - 2:03

(side 2)

1.) It's Alright   (Curtis Mayfield) (live) - 2:40
2.) Gotta Get a Hold Of Myself (live)   Ballard Jr. - Riela) - 2:30
3.) Goin' Out Of My Head (live)   (Randazzo -Weinstein) - 2:30
4.) When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through Her Eyes   (Brian Holland 
- Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) (live) - 2:25
5.) You Must Believe Me   (Curtis Mayfield) (live) - 2:15
6.) Soulville (live)   (Turner - Ivey - Glover - Washington) - 2:19
7.) I'm Goin' Home (live)   (Bain) - 2:01


Genre: pop

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Return of the Zombie

Company: RCA

Catalog: PL 74505

Year: 1990

Country/State: UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: German pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00


So The Zombies last studio album was 1968's classic "Odessey and Oracle."  Forward twenty-two years and singer Colin Blunstone, drummer Hugh Grundy and bassist Chris White reunited with Chilean keyboardist Sebastián Santa María replacing an AWOL Rod Argent.   Co-produced by the band and Dave Richards, the result was 1990's less-than-classic "Return of the Zombies."  A quick scan of the liner notes was enough to cause concerns.  The album included a remake of The Zombies' 'Time of the Season.'  The irony of that selection was Rod Argent penned the tune.  Another concern; newcomer Sebastián Santa María picked up a lot of the creative slack, getting credits on four of the ten performances.  Finally, between his work for the likes of Bowie, Francis Hardy and Queen, you wondered how an in-demand producer like Dave Richards found the time to support a "comeback" project like The Zombies?  Yeah, there was a lot that could wrong here.

The band's label RCA apparently had some concerns as well, releasing the album  throughout the world, with the exception of the US. Unfortunately those concerns were well placed.  Mind you, I'm a big Zombies fan and a wonderful "comeback" would have thrilled me.  This wasn't that product.  Blunstone was clearly the focus of attention and the good news was his voice remained instantly recognizable; seemingly as young as ever.  The rest of band ...  well they didn't really matter since Richards' production churned them into background noise.  Any semi-professional house band, or good music software program would have done the job.  The same criticisms applied to most of these ten songs.  First the obvious target - their remake of 'Time of the Season' was dreadful.  Adding Santa María keyboards to the melody did nothing to improve the song.  Wonder of Argent ever forgave them?  On tracks like 'Moonday Morning Dance' and 'Heavens Gate' producer Richards smothered the group under a faceless blanket of '90s synthesizers and production effects.  Perhaps the greatest sin - exemplified by material like 'Night On Fire', 'Losing You' and 'Knowing You', time after time Blunstone's wonderful voice was wasted on faceless, sleep-inducing corporate ballads. So was there anything worth hearing?  Well, I'd go along with RCA and their choices for the German singles.  The opener 'New World' and 'Lula Lula' were modestly commercial pop tunes.  Other than Blunstone's instantly recognizable voice they had little in common with classic Zombies, but compared to the rest of the album the performances kept you listening.

"The Return of the Zombies" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) New World (Chris White - Andy Nye) - 4:45 rating: **** stars

'New World' was a surprisingly enjoyable AOR ballad.  Blunstone's ethereal choirboy voice seemingly had not  aged over the ensuing years.  The song reflected a pleasant, patented slice of '90s corporate rock.  Guess it fell squarely in the "Yacht Rock" vein.  In a nice nod to their history, original Zombies guitarist Paul Atkinson guested on the song.  Atkinson passed away in April 2004.  White subsequently released a demo version of the song as part of his "The Chris White Experience Volumes One - Six Production Sessions" collection.  The song was tapped as a German single, released in 7", 12" and CD single formats:


  7" format

- 1990's 'New World' b/w 'Monday Morning Dance' (RCA catalog number PB 43427)

   12" format

- 1990's 'New World' b/w 'Monday Morning Dance' and 'Alone In Paradise' (RCA catalog number PT 43427)

   CD single format

- 1990's 'New World', 'Monday Morning Dance' and 'Alone In Paradise' (RCA catalog number PD 43427)





2.) I Can't Be Wrong (Sebastián Santa María) - 3:33 rating: *** stars

The first of new keyboardist Sebastián Santa María's four songs, 'I Can't Be Wrong' was a pretty, classically-influenced ballad.  The tune wasn't awful, but sounded like one of those ballad-by-the-numbers efforts that corporate rock had begin to churn out in the hunt for radio dominance.  Ultimately the song was saved from oblivion by Blunstone's voice and the ear candy group refrain.  

3.) Moonday Morning Dance (Sebastián Santa María) - 3:24 rating: ** stars

The title confuses me, but since the song was slathered in an arsenal of hyperactive '90s synthesizers, I ultimately didn't really care.  I guess it was interesting from the perspective it showed Blunstone could sing an up-tempo rock tune.  It just wasn't a very good up-tempo rock song.  By the way, the backing vocals were way irritating.

4.) Lula Lula (Chris White) - 4:05  rating: **** stars

Momentarily I thought I was hearing the opening song again.  Blame Blunstone's unique voice ...  Setting aside my inherent cynicism, after a couple of spins I had to admit the combination of Blunstone's voice White's dreamy melody made for a nice effort.  The song was released as a German single in both vinyl and CD formats.




  7" format

- 1990's 'Lula Lula' b/w 'I Can't Be Wrong' (RCA catalog number PB43671)

  CD single format

- 1990's 'Lula Lula', 'I Can't Be Wrong' and 'Nights On Fire' (RCA catalog number PD43671)




5.) Heavens Gate (Chris White - Andy Nye) - 4:19 rating: *** stars

'Heavens Gate' opening up with some acapella group vocals before plunging into faceless corporate rock territory.  Bluestone's performance was nice, but to be honest, the first half of the song just faded into background noise.  The refrain momentarily brought the song back into focus, but darn if there was anything here that screamed "Zombies."  Hugh Grundy's tribal drums sounded like they'd been lifted from any of dozens of '90s radio hits.

(side 2)

1.) Blue (Sebastián Santa María) - 4:12  rating: ** stars

Opening up with a suite of synthesizer washes, 'Blue' didn't sound like Blunstone - Santa Marie wrote it, so I'm guessing he handled the vocals.  I wonder if anyone hearing this on the radio would have pegged it as a Zombies song.  I sure wouldn't have.

2.) Nights On Fire (Colin Blunstone - Sebastián Santa María) 3:34  rating: ** stars

What a surprise - an orchestrated ballad ...  Well, the classical guitar was pretty.  Elsewhere it sounded like an Alan Parsons Project cast-off. By the way, nothing here was on fire.

3.) Losing You (Colin Blunstone - Phil Dennys) - 2:59  rating: ** stars

I'm a sucker for songs opening with pretty strumming acoustic guitars so I had hope for 'Losing You.'  That hope was largely dashed by another faceless corporate ballad.  This one struck me as being little more than a write-by-number exercise, pulling pieces from a multitude of sources. Completely forgettable and a waste of Blunstone's talent.  Tim Renwick on lead guitar?

4.) Time Of The Season (Rod Argent) -  2:32 rating: ** stars

Bands that feel the need to revisit and record earlier classic tunes are normally not good signs.  Hence seeing 'Time of the Season' on the track listing was a source of concern.  The fact the tune was written by the missing-in-act Rod Argent added to the sense of irony.  The melody remained instantly recognizable, but the remake adding some needless Santa María doodling keyboards and did nothing to improve the original.  Moral - don't mess with a classic.

5.) Knowing You (Colin Blunstone) -  2:34 rating: ** stars

'Knowing You' was a pretty acoustic ballad.  Accompanied by acoustic guitar and background synthesizer, Blunstone's multi-tracked vocals were sweet, but the song just never shifted gears.  To be blunt, the song closed the album on a downbeat.