She’s Not There ~ The Zombies

The Zombies are an English rock band, formed in 1961 in St Albans and led by Rod Argent, on piano and keyboards, and vocalist Colin Blunstone.

The group formed in 1961 in St Albans, England, and gained their initial reputation playing the Old Verulamians Rugby Club in that city. The group was formed while the members were at school. Some sources state that Argent, Atkinson and Grundy were at St Albans School, while Blunstone and White were students at St Albans Boys’ Grammar School.   Argent was a boy chorister in St Albans Cathedral Choir.

Their choice of names was out of desperation, and The Zombies won out over Chatterley and the Gamekeepers, according to Blunstone and White.  After winning a beat-group competition sponsored by the London Evening News, they signed to Decca and recorded their first hit, “She’s Not There”  This minor-key, jazz-tinged number, distinguished by its musicianship and Blunstone’s breathy vocal, was unlike anything heard in British rock at the time. It was first aired in the United States in early August 1964 on New York City rock station WINS by Stan Z. Burns, who debuted the song on his daily noontime “Hot Spot”. The tune began to catch on in early fall and eventually climbed to #2.

Like many other British Invasion groups, The Zombies were sent to the United States to tour behind their new hit single. Among their most memorable early U.S. gigs were Murray the K’s Christmas shows at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre, where the band played seven performances a day. Hugh Grundy later recalled also contributing to the sets by the Shangri-Las – not as a musician, but by revving a motorcycle brought backstage as a sound effect for their performance of “Leader of the Pack”. On January 12, 1965 the band was set to make their first in person appearance on U.S. television. The Zombies were to appear on the first episode of NBC’s Hullabaloo. They played “She’s Not There” to a screaming hysterical audience full of teenage girls.

Their first UK LP, Begin Here (1965), was a collection of early singles, featuring half a dozen original songs combined with several R&B covers. While continuing recording in 1965-66 and trying to achieve chart success, they recorded enough material for a follow-up album, but the lack of chart success kept most of those tracks from being issued (most of them were the basis for the unreleased follow-up to their “Odessey and Oracle” LP, which was going to be titled “R.I.P.”)

In 1967, The Zombies signed to CBS Records, for whom they recorded the album Odessey and Oracle. (The word odyssey was misspelled by cover designers.) Because the band’s budget could not cover session musicians, they used a Mellotron, a device designed to imitate orchestral sections.

By the time Odessey and Oracle was released in April 1968, the group had disbanded. The album sold poorly and was only given a U.S. release because musician Al Kooper, then signed to Columbia Records, convinced his label of the album’s merits. An album track, “Time of the Season”, written by Argent, was released as a single and eventually (1969) became a nationwide hit (Billboard #3).

The band’s original lineup declined to regroup for concerts, so various concocted groups tried to capitalize on the success and falsely toured under the band’s name. Another such group toured in 1988, going so far as to trademark the group’s name (since the band had let the mark lapse) and recruit a member named Ronald Hugh Grundy, who was passed off as being an original member.

She’s Not There

Songwriter Rod Argent’s second song was recorded and released in mid-1964. One of the song’s most distinctive features is Argent’s electric piano sound; the instrument used was a Hohner Pianet. The backing vocals are in a folk-influenced close-harmony style. This minor key, jazz-tinged single was first aired in the United States during the first week in August 1964, on New York rock radio station WINS by Stan Z. Burns, who debuted the song on his daily noontime “Hot Spot” segment, during which new songs were played.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/the-zombies-shes-not-there.mp4[/flv]

Well no one told me about her, the way she lied
Well no one told me about her, how many people cried
But it’s too late to say you’re sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don’t bother tryin’ to find her
She’s not there

Well let me tell you ’bout the way she looked
The way she’d act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she’s not there

Well no one told me about her, what could I do
Well no one told me about her, though they all knew
But it’s too late to say you’re sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don’t bother tryin’ to find her
She’s not there

Well let me tell you ’bout the way she looked
The way she’d act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she’s not there

But it’s too late to say you’re sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don’t bother tryin’ to find her
She’s not there

Well let me tell you ’bout the way she looked
The way she’d act and the colour of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she’s not there

  • Audio from the 1965 album, The Zombies:

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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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