The Zombies said their upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is "a career-defining [and] life-defining moment." "There’s been lots of ups and downs in this 50-year career," singer Colin Blunstone told Rolling Stone. "This is the pinnacle, to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What a reward for all of the ups and downs over the years."

This is the Zombies' year, but it took a long time to come. Even though they've been eligible since 1989, they didn't receive their first nomination until 2014. They were shortlisted as nominees in 2017 and 2018. They're part of an induction class that also includes Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson, Radiohead, Roxy Music and the Cure.

Coming out of the British Invasion movement in 1964, the Zombies distinguished themselves thanks to Rod Argent's jazzy keyboards and Blunstone's breathy tenor. Still, their sound was not initially appreciated.

"I remember when we played our first single [“She’s Not There”] to the record company, they didn’t think it was commercial," scoffed Argent. "She's Not There" and the follow-up single "Tell Her No" both became Top 10 hits, though later records failed to build on that success and the band broke up at the end of 1967.

But veteran session musician Al Kooper, who was working for the Zombies' record label, heard an unreleased album the group was working on during a trip to London and persuaded Columbia Records to put it out. His instincts were correct: Odessey and Oracle is a psychedelic masterpiece, with pastoral melodies, gorgeous harmonies, Mellotrons and strings.

The single "Time of the Season" later became their third Top 10 hit. The LP made it to only No. 95, in part because the band refused to reunite in order to tour behind it.

Instead, Argent formed his own self-named band, striking big with the classic rock radio staple "Hold Your Head Up" before breaking up in 1976. Blunstone embarked on a solo career without much commercial success.

Over the next few decades, the reputation of Odessey and Oracle gained in stature, and Blunstone and Argent eventually reunited, first as a duo, then bringing a revamped Zombies lineup on the road. They played shows in 2008 with the other two surviving original members, bassist Chris White and drummer Hugh Grundy, and performed the landmark album in its entirety. The band has continued touring and recording, with their most recent release, Still Got That Hunger, arriving in 2015.

Argent sees some significance in the band's Rock Hall nod. "I’ve read that the induction ceremony is going to take place on March the 29th, 2019," noted the keyboardist. "That’s — to the day — 50 years after 'Time of the Season' became No. 1 on Cashbox. That seems like an unbelievable milestone, really."

 

 

Top 100 Albums of the '60s