The ZombiesBaroque pop visionaries
Visionary British Invasion band who became baroque-pop pioneers
Though they didn't release their first single, the urgent classic "She's Not There," until 1964, The Zombies formed right around the same time as the Beatles, just as the ‘50s were giving way to the decade in which British Invasion bands would rule the world. Among the U.K. beat groups, the Zombies were second only to the Beatles in terms of songcraft and innovation. Like all their peers, they began by pumping out their version of American R&B, but from the beginning of their recording career, their strengths were on display: Colin Blunstone's haunted, breathy tenor, Rod Argent's jazzy, Ramsey Lewis-meets-Georgie Fame keyboard work, and the pure pop genius of their twin songwriters, Argent and bassist Chris White. By 1968, they created the baroque-pop masterpiece Odessey and Oracle, taking the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper innovations to the next step and scoring a massive hit with the utterly unique "Time of the Season," but the band had already broken up by the time it was released. (Argent and White formed the '70s boogie band Argent, while Blunstone went solo.) After a couple generations of soft pop bands knelt at the Zombies' altar, Argent and Blunstone reformed the group in the 1990s.