On their Odyssey and Oracle US tour, The Zombies original band perform Side A tracks from their classic rock album: Care Of Cell 44, A Rose For Emily, Maybe After He's Gone, Beechwood Park and Brief Candles live in concert at the Saban Theater, Beverly Hills, CA on October 24, 2015. Their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Zombies current line up is Colin Blunstone on vocals, Rod Argent on keyboards/vocals, Jim Rodford on bass guitar, Tom Toomey on lead guitar, Steve Rodford on drums. Original members Chris White and Hugh Grundy along with Darian Sahanaja (of the Brian Wilson Band) and Vivienne Boucherat join during the entire Odessey and Oracle album performance during set 2.
THE LATEST VOLUME of MOJO ’60s March 7, 2017, MOJO’s decade-specific sister magazine, features a brand new catch-up with ’60s cult heroes The Zombies.
The venerable group, still led by original undead Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, are set to tour the US later this month, and are also due to play their classic Odessey And Oracle album in its entirety at the prestigious London Palladium on September 29, 2017.
“I’m mystified that people are still discovering the record,” says Blunstone, speaking to Lois Wilson in MOJO ’60s Volume 9. “I can only explain the renewed interest through word of mouth. Musicians like Paul Weller and Dave Grohl often say how much they like the album and that has led to its reassessment and helped introduce it to new generations.”
Odessey And Oracle occupies an exceptional place in the rock canon. Widely proclaimed a work of genius comparable with The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, it is also, simultaneously somehow, a well-kept secret. In many respects, this dichotomy is symptomatic of the position in which the band found themselves back in early 1968 just prior to the album’s release.
Formed in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in the early ’60s, The Zombies arrived in the disguise of a typical beat group of the time. Their debut single, She’s Not There (released in August 1964), provided them with a Top 20 UK hit and peaked at Number 2 in the US, the track characterised by Colin Blunstone’s winsome vocal and composer Rod Argent’s electric piano. In terms of commercial pop success, they never bettered it.
However, by 1967 The Zombies’ sound had grown more sophisticated and they’d signed to CBS, beginning work on a more ambitious second album. Their budget was modest – a mere £1000, with sessions beginning in June and using downtime at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios. However, by the time Odessey And Oracle emerged in April ’68, the five-piece of Blunstone, Argent, Paul Atkinson (guitar), Chris White (bass) and Hugh Grundy (drums) had effectively split. The failure of two singles prior to the album’s release – Friends Of Mine (October ’67) and Care Of Cell 44 (released November ’67) – contributed to their disillusionment with the industry, exacerbating internal tensions over the band’s musical direction.
Since then Odessey’s reputation has grown amongst connoisseurs and, to a degree, mainstream audiences. The album was afforded further exposure when, from the late ’90s onwards, key track Time Of The Season was used in a string of TV commercials to sell goods as diverse as women’s hygiene products, soft drinks and cider.