Saturday, December 14, 2013

Parrot Records Spotlight: The Zombies - Whenever You're Ready and I Love You

Whenever You're Ready
I Love You
You can't leave everything to fate. Sometimes just because you do good work, doesn't mean you will meet success. Such is the case with The Zombies. Note for note, perhaps the most consistent band to come out of the UK in the 60s. The band of nerds met only modest success.

Now that said, behind perhaps only Tom Jones, no group was more successful for the under achiever Parrot Records than were The Zombies. The Zombies were far more influential and appreciated in America than in their native UK. Yet even in the British Invasion hungry US, The Zombies limped and crawled under the radar too often. Case in point is today's Song of the Week. This August 1965 release on Parrot Records failed to chart in the US top 100. Similarly, when it was released a month later in the UK for Decca Records, the single failed to chart in the UK top 100. Such was the life of a Zombie. Make incredibly great music, influence other musicians (mostly in the US), fail to sell many records, fail to fill even the smallest venues.

Whenever You're Ready was written by the band's pianist, Rod Argent, the band's most prolific songwriter. As is always the case, the vocal work from Colin Blunstone is hauntingly good. The harmonies spot on. The electric piano break wickedly clever. The lyrics tight and thoughtful. How did this not sell records?

The Flip-Side is equally as good. I'm telling you, EVERYTHING they put out was superb. I Love You was written by the band's bassist and secondary songwriter, Chris White. From the title alone, I should hate this song. But I don't. The trademark Zombies minor chord work, the theme of frustration and unrequited love and Colin Blunstone's voice. Rod Argent even better on the keyboards on this song. You can't go wrong with any Zombies record.

As mentioned earlier, The Zombies had a larger influence than they had record sales. To point, a California band with the dreadful name of  People covered I Love You very nicely and released it on Capitol Records in January of 1968. They had a hit with it. Meanwhile, at the same time, The Zombies were getting dropped by Decca Records and were begging for studio time to record their second and last album, Odyssey and Oracle.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


  1. Great pick! One of my fave bands. I believe we discussed this? "Goin out of my head" is their best song, in my opinion;)
    It boggles my mind that they couldn't sell out small venues. Didn't know that.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. The band ultimately dissolved for lack of interest from record companies and the record buying public. They all got along, they wanted to keep going, but they weren't able to sell records. Ironically, after they broke up, Time of The Season became a hit in the US. There was no band anymore, but they were getting played on the radio.

  3. Argent score both of the major hits, bookending their career, and was typically the A side, with White's composition on the flip, but it just doesn't sit right to hear White referred to as the secondary writer. He was as prolific, and as masterful in his work if you ask me. A couple interesting facts: White is the only one to have a single all to himself, and he composed more on Odyssey than his counterpart, for what it's worth.

    1. Argent scores all three hits: She's Not There, Tell Her No and Time of The Season. Further, of the 12 Zombies singles released in the United States, Argent has the A-side on 10 of them. On two of them, his composition is both the A-Side and the Flip-Side. He doesn't have any side on two singles where Blunstone gets an A-side and White gets, as you pointed out, both sides for the second. I'm not trying to put Chris White down by any stretch of the imagination. He was prolific and he was masterful. But Argent was the main guy. I stand by my comments.

  4. I Love You is a superbly crafted song. Funky interchanges between chords that all fit so well. That final note Argent plays sounds like an A minor with a high B thrown in. I guess that would be an A minor add9?

  5. Paul Atkinson's guitar work is subtle and lovely in both songs. You can hear it very clearly at several points. In their entire oeuvre he rarely ever takes a lead, maybe once or twice. And really why would he want to compete with the masterful keyboards of Argent as evidenced in both songs here? In each case Argent leaves a unique memorable color to the song with his amazing solos. That's hard to compete with. Also must have been hard to get a song in edgewise with Argent and White at the wheel. Blunstone managed it a couple times, but I wonder if Atkinson ever wrote any songs and put them in front of the band for consideration.