The Zombies: Hung Up on a Dream
Directed by: Robert Schwartzman
USA, 2023, 116m
East Coast Premiere
Trivia question: What was the first British band after The Beatles to hit number one in the U.S.? Nope, not the Stones, Herman’s Hermits, or The Dave Clark Five. It was The Zombies with “She’s Not There,” a title which nearly captures the trajectory of The Zombies’ career after their debut. Not yet out of their teens, the band—anchored by vocalist Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent—followed their initial hit with another (“Tell Her No”), and then began to fade amid the crush of British Invasion bands. They pushed all their chips onto the table with the audaciously baroque Odessey and Oracle [sic] album, recorded at Abbey Road Studios just after the Beatles finished laying down Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. (They even borrow John Lennon’s mellotron keyboard.) After the first single died, The Zombies split in December 1967, before the album was released. Luckily, the very last song on Odessey and Oracle was a moody little number called “Time of the Season” (you’ve heard it, right?). It percolated on radio for over a year until it became a global hit in 1969. Odessey and Oracle would eventually be crowned one of the greatest rock albums of all time, and The Zombies would join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Still playing and recording together after more than 60 years, The Zombies have an amazing story to tell about some teenage friends who got lucky, rose to the top, and then nearly vanished in the music industry.