The Zombies have been eligible for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction since 1989, and they've been nominated four times since then: in 2014, 2017, last year and and as part of 2019's short list of nominees. While they didn't have as many hits as their British Invasion contemporaries, their catalog is a strong and sturdy one, starting with their debut single, "She's Not There" in 1964, and including 1968's landmark Odessey and Oracle album. We can think of many, many reasons the Zombies should be in the Hall of Fame, but here are the Top 5.
Their Catalog Is Deeper Than You Think
The Zombies hit Billboard's Top 100 only five times, with three of those singles reaching the Top 10. (Their first, "She's Not There," was the biggest, making it all the way to No. 2.) And they released only two albums before they broke up ... one of which didn't come out until after they called it quits. (They later reunited for a few more records.) But they recorded enough material – like the jazzy "I Want You Back Again" – during their prime to fill an excellent four-disc box set.
That Sublime "Whoa-Oh-Oh-Oh" in 'Tell Her No'
"Tell Her No" was released in early 1965 as the Zombies' second U.S. single, and it followed their debut, "She's Not There" into the Top 10, stopping at No. 6. It's a great song, barely two minutes long, but not a second is wasted. And at around the 40-second mark, singer Colin Blunstone lets out a sensual-but-vulnerable "whoa-oh-oh-oh" that ranks as one of popular music's all-time greatest wordless asides.
Three Words: 'Odessey and Oracle'
The Zombies released their debut album, Begin Here (retitled The Zombies for U.S. listeners), in 1965. Over the next couple years, they continued to release a series of singles. They finally got around to making a second album, Odessey and Oracle, in mid-1967, but it sat on the shelf and didn't see release until the following year. By that time, the group had broken up, and the LP pretty much disappeared – a shame, since it's a paisley-colored masterpiece from the Summer of Love. In early 1969, one of its songs, "Time of the Season," started to pick up momentum, climbing all the way to No. 3, and the album slowly earned its way to cult-classic status.
They Made One of Rock's Great Unreleased Albums
After Odessey and Oracle became a surprise, and posthumous, hit, keyboardist Rod Argent and bassist Chris White started to assemble a follow-up record featuring some new songs as well as some leftovers from the period when singer Colin Blunstone was still with them. After one single, "Imagine the Swan" (which stalled at No. 109), was released in 1969, the project fell apart. The dozen songs slated for R.I.P. were shelved until years later, when they started to show up on various compilations.
Like Real Zombies, They Refuse to Die
The Zombies released only two albums during their '60s peak, after which keyboardist Rod Argent moved on to his own band with bassist Chris White ("Hold Your Head Up" hit No. 5 in 1972), and singer Colin Blunstone launched a solo career. In 1991, they got back together for an album. Then they made another one in 2004 and the another one in 2011. In 2015, they released the solid Still Got That Hunger, and hit the road in support of it, playing songs from their past, including much of the classic Odessey and Oracle album.