by Robert Wilkinson
Today is the birthday of one of the most remarkable talents in music. He’s given us more than a few tunes that are known to hundreds of millions. If you never heard of him, well, he’s an electric piano and organ player. An awesome one.
Rod Argent (14 June 1945) founded the Zombies in 1962, one of the most underrated and electrifying acts ever to come along. He's also written some of the most memorable (and played) songs ever offered up in the world of pop music. What follows are a few performances, and more than a few of the many tunes he’s written and played.
This guy is one for the ages! I saw the Zombies last year in Tucson, and they’re mos def NOT an “oldies” show! They did all the hits, of course, as well as a fair piece of Odessey and Oracle, along with tunes from Argent, Colin Blunstone’s solo career, and their new album released a few years ago. One of the best shows of its kind I’ve ever seen, Colin can still hit the high notes 50 years later! Wow!!
Remember as you're listening, every organ and piano piece is our birthday boy. For your enjoyment, the amazing Rod Argent! (If some of these take too long to load, refresh your browser window.)
Our Saturday Night Attitude tune has plenty, and is a great way to stomp it! From 1972 on the BBC, Rod’s first huge hit with his post-Zombies band “Argent,” giving us major attitude to “hold your head up!”
We now go back to a bygone era, where our next tune, Rod’s first global smash hit, is played almost every day somewhere on earth. Rod on organ, Colin on lead vocals, and the rest live on television a long time ago performing their #2 hit from 1964, “She’s Not There” (complete with some very real screams! Yes, they had that effect when they played!)
Think of all these as twist tunes! Live on Hullabaloo in the same era, their second hit (also written by Rod) to reach the top 10, “Tell Her No”
A great live performance on tv featuring a frantic Rod Argent organ solo! For your enjoyment, from the mid-60s, the Zombies performing bassist Chris White’s rave up, “What More Can I Do”
Here’s the studio version of bassist Chris White’s song set to a clip from a Peter Sellers’ movie, “I Love You”
Here’s another Rod composition that made the top 3 in the Summer of Love! From a 2005 live performance on Belgian television, “Time of the Season”
Here’s one of the greatest albums ever recorded! From 1967, it’s a classic of psychedelia and the atmosphere of the Summer of Love. From beautiful ballads through some very trippy stuff into some rockers and timeless classics, all written by Rod Argent or Chris White, here’s the entire 44 minutes of the legendary Zombies album, “Odessey and Oracle”
After the Zombies broke up (when they hit the top of the charts with the album “Odessey and Oracle” with the hit “Time of the Season,” just one of the incredible tunes on that unique album), Rod went on to form the group Argent. Here are a few great ones from that era.
We’ll begin with a live performance of their biggest hit from the post-Zombies era, our Saturday Night Attitude tune, “Hold Your Head Up”
From 2010 at the High Voltage Festival, a great live performance by Argent of “Liar” (Yes, 3 dog Night also had a hit with it!)
From the same show, here they are doing “Since You’ve Been Gone”
Here's the third from the High Voltage Festival with “It’s Only Money”
We’ll close this birthday tribute and dance with one of the great rock and roll anthems ever written! Written by Russ Ballard, produced by Rod and his bandmate from the Zombies Chris White, an amazing live performance by Argent on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” of one of my faves, “God Gave Rock and Roll To You”
And since it's such a great tune, here's a newer live performance from 2013 at Aylesbury of "God Gave Rock and Roll To You."
For our first encore, the original studio long version of our Saturday Night Attitude tune, “Hold Your Head Up”
And for our finale, live in 1973 on the Midnight Special television show, Argent cranking out “Hold Your Head Up”
Thanks for the great tunes across the decades, Rod. A big Happy and Merry to you, and may you live to rock on for many more years!
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson