Rod Argent is featured in our instrumental and classic rock sequences, including his work with Argent and The Zombies
Rod Argent celebrated some 50 years in the music business in 2011. At the age of 16 he formed The Zombies with Paul Atkinson, Hugh Grundy, Colin Blunstone and Chris White. The band recorded their first work with the Decca label and enjoyed a Top 20 hit in 1964 with ‘She’s Not There’. Their debut album appeared a year later but it wasn’t until 1968’s ‘Odyssey and Oracle’ that they received wider critical acclaim although by the time of that album’s release – in April 1968 – the band had split.
Rod Argent then set about forming his own band Argent with Russ Ballard, Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit. By 1972 this band were a staple at many of the big festival events and their biggest album success was achieved with ‘All Together Now’ which spawned the anthemic and classic rock radio staple ‘Hold Your Head Up’. The album was reissued by Esoteric in April 2012.
In spite of wider success the band went through a major line-up change in 1974 when Russ Ballard left to pursue a lucrative songwriting/solo career and John Grimaldi and John Verity came in on guitar. Argent released two more albums before they split in 1976.
After this time, Rod Argent pursued a successful solo and session career and in the next decade would contribute to albums by artists such as Jack Lancaster (‘Skinningrove Bay’) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (‘Variations’). Also during this period he wrote the theme music to ITV’s World Cup coverage in 1986.
The modern-day incarnation of The Zombies morphed out of Argent’s early millennium work with his long-time musical journeyman Colin Blunstone. ‘Out Of The Shadows’ (2002) paved the way for 2004’s ‘As Far As I Can See’ and subsequently the reconstituted band appeared for several concerts to celebrate the 40th anniversary of ‘Odyssey And Oracle’. In 2011 The Zombies released the critically-acclaimed ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out whilst continuing to tour.
In 2010 the original line-up of ‘Argent’ reformed for the High Voltage event and this led to a series of dates in early-2012.
Rod Argent is perhaps best known for his trailblazing keyboard work in the context of the progressive rock genre and was an early exponent of the mellotron (which was used on the ‘Odyssey’ album) but has also had an interesting session and production career, the latter taking a higher profile in 1988 with the Tanita Takarem album ‘Ancient Heart’.
“Favourite Tracks from Favourite Artists”
First broadcast 20 May 2012
First broadcast Sunday 6 May 2012 (Part 1), Sunday 13 May (Part 2)
Rod talks to David Randall about his long career from the early years to Argent and beyond.
May 2012, Featured Artist