"Still Got That Hunger" by the Zombies.
Of the many iconic rock bands of the 1960s, only a few have created a sound all their own. I would put the Zombies in that category. Mix the jazz-soaked keyboard playing of Rod Argent, the pellucid lead vocals of Colin Blunstone and the group’s choirboy harmonies, folded into the (often) minor-key songs, and you get something special that only the Zombies provide. For the sake of comparison, consider the Rolling Stones. They are an undeniably great band whose place in the pantheon is unassailable -- but how many other groups have you heard play with a credibly Stones-y sound? A zillion?
As is often the case with bands who forge their own sonic alchemy, the Zombies weren’t able to translate their musical mojo into consistent sales success during their original run. The 1964 debut single “She’s Not There” was a hit in their native England and eventually here in the States, where they managed a follow up charter in “Tell Her No.” They would hit the top 10 again in the U.S. with “Time of the Season” in 1969, but the group was long broken up by then; they didn’t even make it to see the release of Odessey and Oracle, an album now universally considered one of the finest rock albums of all time.
In the 1970s Argent went on to an eponymous band, with Zombies bassist Chris White along as a songwriter; Blunstone’s distinctive voice graced a series of solo albums; and Hugh Grundy (drums) and Paul Atkinson (guitar) went into non-performing roles in the music industry. (For more on the group's history directly from Blunstone and Argent, check out these informative interviews done by WORT-FM's Sal Serio and Aaron Scholz for the "Rattlesnake Shake" show.)
The magic of their sound continued to pull the group together for periodic one-off reunions over the years, but more seriously Blunstone and Argent began touring together regularly in 2000. Gradually this morphed into a new incarnation of the Zombies, which has ended up having a much longer run than the group did in the ‘60s. At times the other original members have also participated, notably including tours performing Odessey and Oracle in full. The four surviving original members (guitarist Atkinson died in 2004) visit the Barrymore Theatre to do just that on Saturday, April 15, making one final tour playing the full album and celebrating the 50th anniversary of its recording.
Over the years the Zombies have created several albums of new material, some of which have taken a beating from the critics and others that have been very well-received. The most recent is 2015’s Still Got That Hunger, newly reissued for the current tour in a blue vinyl edition. It’s an excellent addition to the band’s catalog, anchored in the Zombies’ ‘60s sound while being firmly a modern album by the current incarnation. This lineup has been together since 2011: Argent and Blunstone are joined by bassist Jim Rodford (a founding member of Argent and a latter-day Kink), his son Steve on drums, and guitarist Tom Toomey. Listening to the album, it’s clear this is a band that has been playing together for some time. As a bonus, Terry Quirk – the artist who did the cover for Odessey and Oracle – has been tapped to do the cover for this album, making another link to the band’s history. The album's lead track is "Moving On:"
"Moving On" by the Zombies
The Zombies will be playing songs from Still Got That Hunger and much more at the Barrymore on April 15. Hugh Grundy and Chris White will join in the fun when Odessey and Oracle fills the room with the sounds of 1967. In addition to the tour, the band is releasing a biography of sorts, The Odessey: The Zombies in Words and Images, along with a new CD reissue of the album and bonus tracks by Varese Sarabande. Varese is also issuing a new Greatest Hits comp, and Record Store Day fans will again have a Zombies hunting mission, as a pair of 7-inch singles emerge April 22. (The End Records, TE708-1, 2017)