Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent
“If a group like the Zombies appeared now, they would own the world.” Music geeks will recognize those words as Tom Petty’s encomium (printed in the book accompanying the essential Zombie Heaven boxed set) to the most beloved of all ’60s cult acts. The band’s charting singles, notably “She’s Not There” and “Time of the Season,” only hinted at its members’ capabilities, especially classically trained keyboardist Rod Argent‘s songwriting and singer Colin Blunstone‘s purring tenor. The Zombies’ original output was slim, culminating with the misspelled masterpiece Odessey and Oracle in 1968. After that, Argent slapped his own name on a new band (recording the distinctly un-Zombieslike “Hold Your Head Up”), and Blunstone, having rejected, post-Zombies, a buttoned-down career in insurance, released a series of feather-soft solo records before lending his voice to several Alan Parsons Project albums. Though Petty’s remark posits an unlikely level of interest in melodic, very British chamber pop, the Zombies’ music has come back from the dead since the 1997 boxed set. Zombie Heaven has become a de rigueur token among rock cognoscenti, and Odessey has taken its place next to Pet Sounds on lists of orchestral pop’s most enduring achievements. Naturally, then, Argent and Blunstone have crawled out of the grave, too. The pair, both 58, released an album of new, Argent-penned material in 2001 and are at work on a follow-up. Expect Zombies material to get vigorous treatment alongside new songs and lesser-known numbers from Argent’s and Blunstone’s solo albums.