Today is the 55th birthday of former Zombies bassist Chris White. The
Zombies separated themselves in the mid-1960s from the other groups in the fabled
British Invasion pack by layering their songs with jazz rhythms, melodies
in minor keys and harmonies that wouldn't have been out of place on a
Beach Boys record. Born in Barnet, England, White joined the Zombies after
the departure of original bassist Paul Arnold in 1964. Later that year,
the group's cover of "Summertime" won a battle of the bands contest
sponsored by the London Evening News and landed the Zombies a contract with
British Decca, a label that was still kicking itself for passing on the
Beatles. The Zombies' first single, "She's Not There," went to #2 in the
U.S., with "Tell Her No" also hitting the top 10 later in the year. While
the Zombies were among the first British Invasion groups to hit the U.S.
charts, 1965's Begins Here failed to spawn any
other singles on the charts.
Having been dropped by Decca due to lower than expected sales for their
debut, the Zombies returned to the studio in 1967 to record Odyssey and
Oracle for CBS. White and vocalist Rod Argent produced the album and
paid for studio time at Abbey Road Studios out of their own pockets.
Recorded while the group was on its last legs, the album spawned the
Brit-pop classic "Time of the Season" and is considered by many to be a
forgotten gem of the British Invasion. The Zombies broke up two weeks
after completing the recording of Odyssey and Oracle and
declined to re-form when "Time of the Season" hit #3 in 1968. While other
members of the Zombies went on to solo careers, most notably Argent,
White seemingly retired from the music business for many years. In 1991,
the group reunited for an album entitled New World, which was never
released in the U.S. The Zombies released a box set entitled Zombie Heaven in 1997, and they reunited to perform "She's Not There" and "Time of the Season" at a London club.
Other birthdays: Peter Wolf (J. Geils Band), 52; Matthew Fisher (Procol
Harum), 52; Taylor Dayne, 35; and Paul Davis (Happy Mondays), 32.