THE ZOMBIES: “SHE”S NOT THERE”, “TELL HER NO”, "TIME OF THE SEASON"
By Alan L. Chrisman
THE ZOMBIES were a British group who had several hits during The British Invasion of the ‘60’s: “Time of the Season”, “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No”. They had a very haunting organ/keyboard sound, played by leader and songwriter, Rod Argent, with vocals by Colin Blunstone, a kind of more jazzy feel more than traditional British rock. They had their first hit, “She’s Not There”, in 1964 and followed up with “Tell Her No” in ’65. Their first British album, Begin Here, contained those, plus some R&B covers.
But it wasn’t until they recorded their 2nd album, Odessy and Oracle, that they finally had another big hit with “Time of the Season”. Actually, the album wasn’t popular at first, until Al Kooper (keyboard player on Dylan’s Hiway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, founder of Blood, Sweat & Tears, and session player on many other albums), put pressure on their record company, Columbia, that it was finally released in the States in ’69 and the song became a #3 hit. The Zombies had recorded Odessey and Oracle at Abbey Road studio and had used a Studor four-track recorder, similar to the one used on The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers, and like them, had used a Mellotron and cello. As I say, the album didn’t sell well, but it’s now considered one of the best albums released in the 60’s with its psychedelic production (it’s ranked # 100 out of the top 500 albums of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine).
By but by this time, The Zombies had broken up. Leader, Rod Argent, would go on to co-write songs with former Zombies bassist, Chris White, with vocals by Russ Ballard, in his new band, Argent, again with that strong keyboard sound on a Hammond B3 organ and have a big hit, “ Hold Your Head Up” on their album, All Together Now, in 1972. The song would also be a hit for the band, 20/Twenty in 1987.
So the Zombies were an interesting band with their haunting, jazz-tinged minor key organ backing and captivating vocals and songs. Their underappreciated 2nd album, Odessey and Oracle, is now considered a classic; they can “Hold Their Head Up”.
See below The Zombies’ “Time of the Season”, Jimmy Fallon Show, 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xjf8F3v18DY
See below The Zombies doing “She’s Not there”, 1965: