Music

Zombies Never Die: The Classic Brit Band Rocks Santa Monica Pier

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(Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

(Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

By Bill Dudley/CBS Radio LA

The creaky wooden boards of the Santa Monica Pier were rocking hard at last night’s ‘Twilight Concert,’ to the strong melodies of a British band that was formed 50 years ago, “The Zombies.”

Of the thousands of people there, most of them (and many of their parents) were not even born when the group first broke up in the late 1960s. I thought the kids came because the word “Zombies” is so cool these days. I was mistaken, as everyone was singing along and knew ALL of their music, both old and new.

If it is perplexing to you how a group that only put two albums in their original run can be so popular today, please read on.

(1) The Zombies have been nominated to ‘The Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame’. (2)Named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the ‘Top 100 Albums Of All Time,’ their 1968 release “Odessey And Oracle” is considered one of the finest gems in the history of Rock n’ Roll. It was recorded in 1967, and featured “Time Of The Season,” which became a worldwide hit a full two years after the group had broken up. (3) Rockers Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), and Tom Petty are huge Zombie fans.

The Zombies are an eclectic mix of Rod Argent’s hard rocking (and Jazz influenced) electric keyboard, blending perfectly with Colin Blunstone’s piercing vocals. They both are still at the top of their game, harmonizing perfectly, and very grateful to their worldwide legions of fans. Remember, along with The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals, Kinks and Hollies, The Zombies were part of the original British Invasion. Their first two big Argent penned hits, “She’s Not There,” (later covered by Santana), and “Tell Her No” still sound strikingly pure today.

Argent had another huge hit in 1972 (under his own name) with “Hold Your Head Up,” co-written by Rod with Zombies bassist Chris White, still a friend of the group.The current line-up includes the ageless Jim Rodford on bass, who was their first choice for that job in the early days, but never joined the band until the 1990s. Jim adds much to the line-up, as he has also played with Argent, Kinks, and Animals.

His son Steve is the drummer, and Tom Toomey plays acoustic and electric guitar. Blunstone and Argent know they need each other to preserve the perfect Zombies sound, but an excellent band does help.

The Zombies are currently working on another new album (their 6th), after releasing two very good ones recently. Their popularity seems to transcend generations for a reason. They connect!

A very humble Colin Blunstone claimed a man speaking to him just before last night’s show said: “I thought you were dead.” Colin responded with “Zombies never die.”

Zombies Setlist:

1. I Love You
2. Can’t Nobody Love You
(Solomon Burke cover)
3. Breathe Out, Breathe In
4. I Want You Back Again
5. You Make Me Feel Good
6. She’s Coming Home
7. I Don’t Believe in Miracles
(Colin Blunstone song)
8. Any Other Way
(Colin Blunstone song)
9. A Rose for Emily
10. Care of Cell 44
11. This Will Be Our Year
12. I Want Her She Wants Me
13. Time of the Season
14. Moving On
15. Tell Her No
16. You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me / Bring It On Home to Me
17. Old and Wise
(The Alan Parsons Project cover)
18. Hold Your Head Up
(Argent cover)
19. She’s Not There
20. Encore:
20. God Gave Rock and Roll to You
(Argent cover)
21. The Way I Feel Inside

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