The Zombies, Live at the BBC 1965-1968
They've been covered by everyone from Elliott Smith to The Fastbacks to Santana to The Posies. Influential musicians on a number of levels, their sound was pure 1960s British Invasion pop heaven with a slightly sophisticated edge.
The Zombies were a British band during the mid-60s, whose greatest successes came only after the band had broken up. Best known for their hits "Time of the Season," "She's Not There," and "Tell Her No," The Zombies' music was notable in part because of their use of minor key changes, keyboards, and lovely melodic harmonies. Overall, it's a nice little package.
As Stephen Dunstan says, The Zombies picked the "worst, least appropriate name for a music group ever. Visions of stiff-limbed, raggedy faced Woody Strode-a-likes. They should have just called themselves The Charming English Boys Who Sing Like Angels And Play Like Demons. That name would not have fit onto a record." It wouldn't have fit on a record, but it is catchy and accurate.
That's why I found this collection of tracks to be absolutely charming, an insight into the burgeoning (then floundering) career of the British quintet, during a time when the world was a bit more innocent, and the music perhaps a bit more pure. I think you should listen to this entire set as a whole, as it is collection of snippets across 4 years of live Top of the Pops performance in England for the radio show (there is another first section of the set as well, which I am not posting but you can purchase the whole shebang on Amazon).
Interspersed with great live music from The Zombies (and lots of covers) is fascinating interview dialogue. As the interview introduction says, "Even more popular in America than they are on this side of the pond . . . THE ZOMBIES!" (insert crazed shrieking here):
(With me, you have options: Do things individually, or download all these songs as a zip file at the end of the post)
"I Must Move" (1965)
"Just Out of Reach" (1965)
"Whenever You're Ready" (1965) - this was one I really enjoyed, hadn't heard before.
*Interview dialogue here talks about how they are enjoying their second tour of America, and what their take is on the "new rock folk protest bit." Interesting social climate. They also read some fan mail, including an endearingly simple letter from "Francis & Marilyn," requesting a song for their "youth club."
"It's All Right" (1965) - swingin' Curtis Mayfield cover
More conversation about how wild the American fans are, how we all have cars and how two girls followed them for hundreds of miles, to their bewilderment.
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (1965) - Carole King cover
"When The Lovelight Starts Shining In Her Eyes" (1965)
"Just A Little Bit" (1965)
"Sitting in The Park" (1966) - this is a *great* song. It is an example of perfect songwriting: the song makes you FEEL like it SOUNDS, and the lyrical content dovetails perfectly off the mood that is set. It's almost as if the song could be a soundtrack to the story it tells, if that makes sense.
"Gotta Get Out of Myself" (1966)
"Goin' Out of My Head" (1966) - Little Anthony & The Imperials cover
"This Old Heart of Mine" (1966) - also done by Isley Brothers, among others
"Friends of Mine" (1967) - there is something sublime about listening to this loud, and just getting lost in the layered harmonies. It makes my soul happy. Life just seems a bit simpler, better, and happier when you are listening to something like this.
"The Look of Love" (1967) - Burt Bacharach
"Final Interview Snippets /Jingle" (1968) - The band talks about how they have broken up after "slogging away for 3 1/2 years," and also how they have just finished a new LP coming out later that month. They are asked in the interview, "well, wouldn't it be better to wait until the LP is maybe a huge success and then see if it is a go?" but they dismiss the possibility - and the song that cues up, from their new album (Odessey and Oracle, their best seller, their masterpiece), is "Time of the Season," their biggest hit.
Isn't it ironic? (sorry, a little Alanis, I KNOW)
DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE SET AS A ZIP FILE
BONUS, because I love you all: The ever-fabulous KCRW featured The Zombies on a broadcast in 2004 which you can stream on their website, following the reunion in 2003 of the group and new album they released, entitled As Far As I Can See.