Sunday, December 07, 2008

Colin Blunstone: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

"I demand some Colin Blunstone to follow" says the comment on last week's Argent.

Blunstone, of course, was the lead singer of the Zombies and Rod Argent was also a member. The band's classic single She's Not There featured here a year ago.

Although the Zombies are now revered, they enjoyed only limited success in the sixties. The result was that, while the group's songwriters Argent and Chris White were doing nicely out of their royalties, the rest of them were making little money out of music. So much so that when the Zombies split in 1968 Blunstone took a proper job in insurance for a while.

The following year, months after it was issued, Time of the Season became a huge hit in America, but Rod Argent was busy with his new band and the Zombies did not reform to capitalise on this success.

Blunstone returned with some beautiful but only moderately successful albums - Wonderful is a good example from this period. He also sang Old and Wise for the Alan Parsons Project. (I am afraid that this video is a nonsense - Blunstone's recording coupled with a live performance by someone else - so just close your eyes and listen.)

The Zombies have now reformed to the sort of adulatory reviews they deserved but never received in the sixties. This recent performance of A Rose for Emily from the LP Odessey and Oracle shows that much of the wonderful breathy timbre of Blunstone's voice is still intact. The song is introduced by Rod Argent.

But the song I have chosen comes from 1981. It is Blunstone's hit version of the Motown classic made with Dave Stewart (as in Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, not Eurthymics).

The real question is what became of the class sixties artist in the 1980s? The nice jacket and squirty eighties keyboards are both reminiscent of Steve Winwood's While You See a Chance from the previous year, though the video is not half so weird.

Sadly Blunstone did not achieve the solo success that Winwood enjoyed after that song, but at least he and the Zombies now occupy their rightful place in British pop history.

1 comment:

Bionic said...

Thank you!

For me his solo albums start off flawlessly with One Year(1971) and then go slowly downhill from there.