Rod Argent

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Rod Argent
Rod Argent in September 2019.jpg
Argent playing live in September 2019
Background information
Birth nameRodney Terence Argent
Born (1945-06-14) 14 June 1945 (age 76)
St Albans, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • record producer
Instruments
  • Keyboards
  • vocals
Years active1958–present
Labels Decca, CBS
Associated acts
Website rodargent.com

Rodney Terence "Rod" Argent (born 14 June 1945) is an English musician, singer, songwriter, composer, and record producer. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Argent came to prominence in the mid 1960s as the founder and keyboardist of the English rock band the Zombies, [1] and went on to form the band Argent after the first break-up of the Zombies. [2]

Contents

Argent is one of the main composers of the Zombies' music and made major lyrical contributions to the band's songs. As the band's keyboardist he used a variety of instruments, including the Mellotron, the harpsichord, and the organ.

In addition to his work with the Zombies and Argent, Argent has made music for television series, been a session musician, produced albums by other artists, and has had a solo career which has included three studio albums: Moving Home, Red House, and Classically Speaking. Argent was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Zombies in Brooklyn in March 2019. [3]

Early years

Argent was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, into a working-class family. His father, Les Argent, was an aeronautical engineer who machined parts at the De Havilland aircraft factory; he had also been the leader of two semi-professional dance bands, the Les Argent Quartet and Les Argent and his Rhythm Kings. Although his father did not teach Argent music, he was raised hearing him playing the upright piano in the family home. Argent's mother was one of eight children, and Argent grew up with "a substantial network of cousins, uncles and aunts" living in the town. [4] [5]

As a child, he sang as a chorister in the St Albans Cathedral Choir. [6] While at St Albans School, he met Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy. Argent, Atkinson, and Grundy first played together at a jam on Easter 1961 in St Albans.

Argent wanted to form a band and initially asked his cousin Jim Rodford to join as a bass guitarist. Rodford was playing in local band called the Bluetones at the time, so declined. Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined the new band in early 1961, while all five members were still at school. Arnold left not long after and was replaced by Chris White. After the band won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Argent's song "She's Not There" got them a recording contract with Decca. [7]

Career

The Zombies

In addition to playing the piano and keyboards in the Zombies, Argent was (with White) one of the group's two main songwriters, penning the hits "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", and "Time of the Season", amongst others. Argent was initially the group's lead singer, with Blunstone on guitar. When Argent's keyboard talents became apparent, he became the group's full-time keyboard player, conceding the role of lead singer to Blunstone. The group continued to record through the 1960s, but disbanded in December 1967, reportedly over management disagreements. [8]

Argent

After the band broke up, Argent went on to form the band Argent, which had a hit album in 1972 with All Together Now , which contained the single "Hold Your Head Up". His Hammond B3 solo on that track is cited by Rick Wakeman as the greatest organ solo ever. [9] The band also recorded the original version of the rock anthem "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", written by lead singer Russ Ballard, which was later covered by other artists including Petra and Kiss. Argent's first album included the song "Liar" (also composed by Ballard), which became a hit for Three Dog Night. In 1976, the band broke up. [10]

Solo career

In 1978, Argent released his debut solo album Moving Home with many well-known musicians, including Gary Moore, Genesis drummer Phil Collins, and Weather Report bass guitarist Alphonso Johnson. In 1980, he wrote a musical titled Masquerade which premiered in London in 1982. In 1988, he issued another solo album, Red House. [11]

Argent went on to play keyboards with a number of musicians, including piano on the title track of The Who's album Who Are You , and on Variations with Gary Moore, Julian Lloyd Webber, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. In the 1980s he began writing for television. In 1986, he composed the theme music for ITV's coverage of the 1986 FIFA World Cup, "Aztec Gold", which was released as a single under the title of "Silsoe". Also in 1986, he composed the theme music for ITV's The Two of Us and for 1987's LWT series Bust. Two years later, the Argent/Van Hooke composition "Goal Crazy" was used by ITV's The Big Match from 1988 until 1992. Argent also composed the theme music to the ITV (LWT) sitcom The Piglet Files , which aired from 1990 to 1992. [11]

In 1987, Argent formed a production company with ex-Van Morrison drummer Peter Van Hooke which produced a number of artists. In 1995, Argent produced Soraya's debut album On Nights Like This and her second album Wall Of Smiles . Other albums the business partners produced included Tanita Tikaram's Ancient Heart (1988), Nanci Griffith's Late Night Grande Hotel (1991), Joshua Kadison's Painted Desert Serenade (1993), and Jules Shear's Healing Bones (1994). [11]

In 1999, Argent recorded a solo piano album, Rod Argent Classically Speaking, in which he played Chopin études and music by Ravel, Bach, and Grieg, as well as three of his own compositions. [12] In 2006, Argent joined Hamish Stuart, Richard Marx, Billy Squier, Edgar Winter and Sheila E. to tour with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. [13]

The Zombies reunion

In 2004, Argent and Colin Blunstone recorded a new album, As Far as I Can See... , in the style of The Zombies. A subsequent album and DVD Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of the Zombies Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre received favourable reviews, [14] [15] as did their 2007 US tour. One critic noted, "The Zombies, still led by original keyboard wizard Rod Argent and featuring the smoked-silk vocals of Colin Blunstone, is the best 60s band still touring which doesn't have Mick Jagger as a front man". [16]

Argent continued to tour with Colin Blunstone as The Zombies, and in April 2009 the original surviving members of the band played four reunion concerts performing the album Odessey and Oracle . This led to a band reunion. In a 2015 interview with PopMatters journalist J.C. Maçek III about the Zombies' latest album Still Got That Hunger , Argent said "Still Got That Hunger is the first album that has really recaptured some of the resonance of feeling of a group. We're so tight as a group together now. And the whole process has become so organic that we're 100% happy with the Zombies name and rediscovering and playing all the old stuff and at the same time carving a new path forward which is also very, very important to us." [17]

In 2012, Argent participated in the unveiling of a Blue Plaque at The Blacksmith's Arms, a pub in St Albans where the Zombies met for their first rehearsal. [18]

Personal life

Argent and his wife Cathy met at a party in 1967, and they married in 1972. They have two children, Elesa and Mark. [19]

Discography

Band albums

Solo albums

Albums Argent served a minimal role on

Related Research Articles

The Zombies English rock band

The Zombies are an English rock band formed in 1960 in St Albans and led by keyboardist and vocalist Rod Argent and vocalist Colin Blunstone. The group scored a British and American hit in 1964 with "She's Not There". In the US, two further singles—"Tell Her No" in 1965 and "Time of the Season" in 1968—were also successful. Their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle is ranked number 100 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Zombies were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.

<i>Odessey and Oracle</i> 1968 studio album by the Zombies

Odessey and Oracle is the second studio album by English rock band the Zombies. It was originally released in the UK in April 1968 by CBS Records.

Colin Blunstone Musical artist

Colin Edward Michael Blunstone is an English singer, songwriter and musician. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Blunstone came to prominence in the mid 1960s as the lead singer of the English rock band the Zombies, which released four singles that entered the Top 75 charts in the United States during the 1960s, including "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", "She's Coming Home", and "Time of the Season". Blunstone began his solo career in 1969, releasing three singles under a pseudonym of Neil MacArthur. Since then, he has released ten studio albums and one live album under his real name. His solo hits include "She's Not There", "Say You Don't Mind", "I Don't Believe in Miracles", "How Could We Dare to Be Wrong", "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", and "The Tracks of My Tears". In 2019, Blunstone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of The Zombies.

Time of the Season Single by the British band The Zombies

"Time of the Season" is a song by the British rock band the Zombies, featured on their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. It was written by keyboard player Rod Argent and recorded at Abbey Road Studios in August 1967. Over a year after its original release, the track became a surprise hit in the United States, rising to number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Cashbox chart. It has become one of the Zombies' most popular and recognizable songs, and an iconic hit of 1960s psychedelia that continues to enjoy frequent airplay on classic rock and oldies radio.

Argent (band) English rock band

Argent were an English rock band founded in 1969 by keyboardist Rod Argent, formerly of the Zombies. They had three UK top 40 singles; "Hold Your Head Up", which reached number five and spent 12 weeks on the chart, "Tragedy" and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You". Two of their albums charted in the UK; All Together Now, which peaked at number 13 in 1972, and In Deep, which spent one week at number 49 in 1973.

Jim Rodford Musical artist

James Walter Rodford was an English musician, who played bass for several British rock bands. He was a founding member of Argent, which was led by his cousin Rod Argent, and performed with them from their formation in 1969 until they disbanded in 1976. He was the bassist for the Kinks from 1978 until they disbanded in 1997. In 2004, he joined the reunited Zombies, whom he had been closely associated with since the early 1960s, and remained a member until his death in 2018. He was also a member of the Swinging Blue Jeans and the Kast Off Kinks.

Shes Not There Single by the Zombies

"She's Not There" is the debut single by British rock band the Zombies, written by keyboardist Rod Argent. It reached No. 12 in the UK Singles Chart in September 1964, and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States at the beginning of December 1964. In Canada, it reached No. 2.

Christopher Taylor White is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer.

<i>As Far as I Can See...</i> 2004 studio album by The Zombies

As Far As I Can See is the fourth studio album by the British rock band the Zombies, and their first since 1991. The lineup includes three of the band's original members: Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone and Chris White, with fourth original member Paul Atkinson also serving as A&R for the record.

Tell Her No 1965 single by The Zombies

"Tell Her No" is a hit single written by Rod Argent and included by English rock band The Zombies on their eponymous debut album The Zombies in 1965. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States in March 1965 and was one of three big American hits by The Zombies. "Tell Her No" was only a minor hit for The Zombies in their native Britain, where it peaked at No. 42 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1965.

<i>One Year</i> 1971 studio album by Colin Blunstone

One Year is the debut solo studio album by English singer-songwriter Colin Blunstone, a member of the Zombies. It was released by Epic Records in 1971. It includes "Say You Don't Mind", which peaked at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart.

<i>Ennismore</i> 1972 studio album by Colin Blunstone

Ennismore is the second solo studio album by the English singer Colin Blunstone of rock band the Zombies. The name of the album comes from Ennismore Gardens, a square in Knightsbridge where Blunstone was living; the name is a variant spelling of the island Inishmore.

Journey is the third album by singer Colin Blunstone, former member of the British rock band The Zombies. It was released in 1974.

Hugh Grundy English musician

Hugh Birch Grundy is an English musician. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Grundy came to prominence in the mid 1960s as the drummer of the English rock band The Zombies. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.

Care of Cell 44 1967 single by The Zombies

"Care of Cell 44" is a single by The Zombies, from their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. It was featured on Pitchfork Media's 200 Best Songs of the 1960s list, and has since been covered by modern artists including Elliott Smith and Of Montreal.

<i>Breathe Out, Breathe In</i> 2011 studio album by The Zombies

Breathe Out, Breathe In is the fifth studio album by English rock band The Zombies, released on 9 May 2011.

<i>Still Got That Hunger</i> 2015 studio album by The Zombies

Still Got That Hunger is the sixth studio album by English rock band the Zombies, released on 9 October 2015. The band funded production of the album through the crowdfunding web site PledgeMusic, receiving donations from 958 pledgers and reaching 143% of its funding goal.

R.I.P., also known as R.I.P. - The Lost Album, is a studio album by English rock band the Zombies. It was originally scheduled to be released in 1969, but was cancelled. It was finally released in Japan in October 2000 by Imperial Records.

Leave Me Be 1964 single by the Zombies

"Leave Me Be" is a song written by British bassist Chris White and recorded by his band the Zombies. Following the release of their debut single "She's Not There" in July 1964, White wrote a handful of songs in between performances during the band's heavy schedule. Most of the work on the song occurred in August 1964, when the Zombies recorded both a demo and the backing track for it. The instrumentation largely differs from both earlier and later Zombies records; it features electric organ played by Rod Argent, compared to his previous usage of the electric piano. Together with record producer Ken Jones, they returned in September to finish the vocal track, which was disliked by most band members for its similarity to "She's Not There"; the vocals would eventually be re-recorded a few months later.

Whenever Youre Ready (The Zombies song) 1965 single by the Zombies

"Whenever You're Ready" is a song written by English keyboardist Rod Argent, first recorded by his band the Zombies. Following an American tour in April 1965 supporting their then single "She's Coming Home", the band were disappointed in finding out it had been a chart failure. After the follow-up "I Want You Back Again" was an even less commercial song, pressure from the group's management came forward in order for them to write a commercial song in the style of their earlier singles, which had been hits.

References

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  2. Huey, Steve. "Rod Argent | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  3. "The Zombies". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  4. The Zombies: Hung up on a Dream- A Biography 1962-1967, Claes Johansen, SAF Publishing Ltd, The Cromwell Press, 2001, pp. 16-17
  5. Where Have All The Rock Stars Gone? vol. 1, Marti Smiley Childs, Jeff March, EditPros, 2011, p. 265
  6. Bridger, Francis; Butler, James T. (2012). "Conversations at the Edges of Things: Reflections for the Church in Honor of John Goldingay".Missing or empty |url= (help)
  7. Unterberger, Richie. "The Zombies". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  8. Henson, Jopaquin (15 September 2012). "May the Zombies never rest in peace". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  9. "Ron Galloway: Interview With the Zombie – Rod Argent On Gershwin, Bill Evans, Miles Davis & The Penny Lane Piano". The Huffington Post. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  10. Huey, Steve. "Argent". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  11. 1 2 3 Huey, Steve. "Rod Argent". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  12. "Rod Argent Classically Speaking". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  13. "Ringo Starr News". Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  14. "The Zombies / Zombies Live!" . Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  15. "Music CD/DVD Review: Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of The Zombies – Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London". Blogcritics. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  16. "Hits keep on coming..." The Washington Times . 1 August 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2014.(subscription required)
  17. Maçek III, J.C. (4 November 2015). ""There Are No Half-Measures" An Interview with the Zombies' Rod Argent". PopMatters .
  18. "Blue plaque breathes new life into The Zombies". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  19. Button, Simon (17 October 2015). "Where are they now... ? The Zombies' Rod Argent" . Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  20. "Barbara Courtney-King, Rod Argent, Ray Cooper, Julian Lloyd Webber And The Gabrielli String Quartet* - Pastourelle (Inspired By The Songs Of The Auvergne)". Discogs. Retrieved 19 April 2021.