Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Zombies!

The Zombies are on tour and will be playing in a town close to me.  I'm listening to an interview with Rod Argent on WMBR, Cambridge (MA), the MIT radio station on a program called "Lost and Found".  There's gonna be a ticket giveaway with a special invitation to MEET the band beforehand!

"Odessey and Oracle"-(sic) album.  The Zombies used Abbey Road Studios, literally occupying the studio right after The Beatles had completed "Sgt Pepper".  The title is persistently spelled wrong so as to be consistent with the artist who drew the album cover.  (Who says you can't rewrite the rules as an artist?)

"Time of the Season"-song (#3 in 1969), recorded 1967, released 1968.  Note the harmonies and the percussive breath used consistently through the song.  This is NOT a tape loop. This is Rod Argent's exhale every time!  Note the phrase: "Who's your daddy?"  It's the first mention of this phrase in pop culture.  At least according to Wikipedia.

"She's Not There" song, (#2, 1964) was noted by Pat Metheny (jazz guitarist) to be influenced in a modal style by Miles Davis.  Argent hadn't intended this, but acknowledged the reference immediately.

My personal theory is that the lyrics are lifted in spirit (if not quoted) from an old vaudeville routine called "Slowly I turn".   There are a variety of clips from "I Love Lucy" or the Three Stooges or Abbot & Costello.  I remember seeing it on The Danny Thomas Show, a.k.a. "Make Room For Daddy".  (That show itself offers connections to the Monkees through Hans Conried, Sheldon Leonard, and Annette Funicello, for those who are looking for a Sixth Degree payoff).

However, the best version (in existence on Youtube) of the routine is by Lucille Ball & Phil Silvers.  Just my opinion, but check it out & see if you can sense the similarity of the shape of the shtick.  Quiet, complaining about the loss of the lover, then a trigger word or phrase which makes the singer/teller go crazy.  In the song, it/s "She's not there".  In the routine, it's the place, "Niagara Falls" or the name, "Martha".

Shh . . .  I just won the tickets to the Sold Out Show AND the Meet&Greet! So expect a full report in a few days!

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