Podcasts Political Beats

Episode 80: Randy Barnett / The Zombies and Argent

(The Zombies)

Scot and Jeff discuss The Zombies and Argent with Randy Barnett.

Introducing the Band:

Your hosts Scot Bertram (@ScotBertram) and Jeff Blehar (@EsotericCD) with guest Randy Barnett. Randy is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he directs the Georgetown Center for the Constitution. He also writes at The Volokh Conspiracy. Follow him on Twitter at @RandyEBarnett.

Randy’s Music Pick: The Zombies and Argent

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy, which also means that it’s the time of the season to discuss not one, but two of the great semi-forgotten bands of pop-rock era in The Zombies and their progressive-rock sequel Argent. The Zombies — led by keyboardist Rod Argent, bassist Chris White, and lead singer Colin Blunstone — may have gotten inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame very recently, but odds are that unless you are a Sixties music snob you still aren’t aware of just how brilliant they actually were as a band, how underrated Argent and White were as pop songwriters and lyricists, and how shockingly great their entire discography is. As Jeff says during the show, even though The Zombies scored three big hits in America (trust us, you’ve heard “She’s Not There” and “Time Of The Season” even if only subliminally, and you probably know “Tell Her No” as well), the rest of their career exemplifies most bizarre losing streak in rock history, because practically every single one of the songs they released (and several that they didn’t!) were top-tier pop and art-rock compositions, and they ended their career with what ranks among the finest albums of the decade in Odessey And Oracle.

But the story doesn’t end there! After The Zombies broke up due to lack of commercial success and critical recognition (both would eventually come, albeit too late for the group), Argent and White went on to form a new band, the eponymous Argent, based around the songwriting skills of Rod and Chris and with the added strength of lead singer Russ Ballard bringing his own music to bear. Argent rapidly moved away from the bright, brisk pop-rock of The Zombies into the piano/organ-based art- and progressive-rock style of the Seventies, and yet still managed to put out a remarkable amount of fine music on their own. Click play and enjoy — is this the dream band you’ve been crying out for?

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