Posts Tagged ‘Argent’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #48– Argent: “Hold Your Head Up”

45-adapter-logo2argentholdyourheadup45argentgodgaverockandrolltoyou45

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #48– Argent: “Hold Your Head Up” b/w “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” – Epic Memory Lane Series 45 15-2332 (Q5/R5)

When the British Invasion band The Zombies disintegrated in 1969 before the posthumous release of their biggest hit single “Time Of The Season,” keyboardist Rod Argent formed the band Argent with Jim Rodford on bass, Bob Henrit on drums and Russ Ballard on guitar. (The latter two musicians were members of the group Unit 4+2, the subject of The Jukebox Series #33.)

While The Zombies’ music consisted of finely tuned ear worms that were designed to climb up the charts and go directly into the hearts of music fans around the world, Argent’s music was a far more difficult mix of jazz, prog rock and classical influences. While the group’s first two albums didn’t make any significant waves on the single or album charts, the song “Liar” from their debut became a top ten hit by Three Dog Night.

Today’s jukebox classic is the song Argent is best known for. “Hold Your Head Up” was written by Rod Argent and Chris White (who also wrote songs for The Zombies) and was released in 1972 on their third album All Together Now. The heavily edited single version of the song (from 6:15 on the album down to 3:15 for the single) sold over a million copies and climbed to the #5 spot of the U.S. and UK pop charts. (For our purposes, today’s audio clip is of the far superior unedited version of the song.)

With its propulsive beat, layered vocal harmonies and long sinuous organ solo, the song grabbed hold of the AM charts in 1972, and fit in perfectly alongside tracks by Yes, Genesis and Jethro Tull on the FM radio playlists of the early 1970s. Over the years, the song has been covered by the likes of Steppenwolf, Uriah Heap and the 1980s hard rock band Mr. Big.

The flip of today’s single is “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” which is probably best known by the covers it spawned by KISS and the Christian rock band Petra. The song was actually recorded during sessions for Argent’s All Together Now album but was not released as a single until it appeared on their 1973 album In Deep.

The KISS cover of the song (titled “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You II”) was featured in the 1991 film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and its soundtrack album, and later appeared on KISS’ Revenge album. Petra converted the song into a well-known Christian rock anthem and recorded it twice, once on their 1977 album Come And Join Us, and again on 1984’s Beat The System.

After running its course with little follow up success, Argent broke up in 1976 and Jim Rodford joined The Kinks while Rod Argent focused on producing albums. The original lineup reformed in 2010 for the High Voltage Festival in London, and these days Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone (of The Zombies) tour under their own names and as The Zombies performing Argent and Zombies hits.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: July 6th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #38 – The Zombies: “She’s Not There” b/w “Tell Her No” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL 3556 (Q4/R4)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #38 – The Zombies: “She’s Not There” b/w “Tell Her No” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL 3556 (Q4/R4)

The Zombies’ fingerprints can be felt all over the music of The Byrds, The Doors, Crowded House and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Elvis was a big fan and they were hugely influenced by The Beatles, as well as being an influence on The Beatles. John Lennon wanted to produce them, and the sound of today’s double A-sided jukebox single with their debut hit “She’s Not There” on the A-side and the ultra-Lennonesque “Tell Her No” on the flip is, in my estimation, a perfect single.

They were a British Invasion band every bit as good as The Beatles, Stones, Kinks and The Who. In their ranks, they had one of the greatest vocalists of the entire British Invasion in Colin Blunstone, who could be at once breathy and plaintive, and then gritty and soulful, sometimes in the same song.

Add to that, not one, but two inspired songwriters in Chris White and Rod Argent, whose compositional abilities made perfectly crafted ‘60s pop records, high on melody and infused with great harmonies. It was all held together by Argent’s jazz-infused piano and organ playing, the tasty and tuneful guitar work of Paul Atkinson, and the air-tight rhythm section of White on bass and Hugh Grundy on drums, providing a danceable and infectious back beat.

Yet their impact was far greater in the U.S. than at home where their very first single “She’s Not There” peaked at #12 on the British charts, but made it all the way to #2 on these shores. Its follow up, “Tell Her No,” climbed to #6 in the U.S., but didn’t even make it into the UK top 40.

“She’s Not There” was the group’s debut single which was recorded in one take after the band won studio time in a talent contest. The song makes its impact right from the onset with its folk infused introduction which was rare for early 1960s rock recordings. In the early 1970s, the song was re-recorded by Zombies vocalist Colin Bluestone under the name Neil McArthur. This version climbed to the #34 position of the UK charts, and it also charted again in 1977 by Santana from their Moonflower album. “Tell Her No,” on the flip, was later recorded by Juice Newton in 1983 who brought the song into the pop top thirty.

After a string of great single releases here and abroad including “What More Can I Do,” “I Love You,” “I Can’t Make Up Your Mind,” “Summertime,” “Goin’ Out Of My Head” and “Is This The Dream” that didn’t seem to ignite the imagination of the public, The Zombies released their final magnum opus album, Odessey and Oracle in 1968 and then called it quits.

But timing is everything…so it is somewhat ironic that the group’s biggest worldwide hit, “Time Of The Season,” happened after they disbanded. Odessey and Oracle wouldn’t have even received a release on these shores had it not been for Al Kooper who worked for the group’s U.S. label and convinced them that the album was worth a proper release. Even though the group was no longer together, the album’s release was accompanied by the “Time Of The Season” single which went on to become their biggest hit all over the world.

After the breakup, Rod Argent went on to form the group Argent with Chris White (who wrote songs for the group, but did not perform.) They scored a hit with “Hold Your Head Up” in 1972, and had the distinction of having both KISS and Christian rock group Petra cover their song, “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You.”

Colin Blunstone recorded many solo records, some with the help of his former band mates; he released three albums on Elton John’s Rocket Record Company label during the 1970s, and recorded vocals for The Alan Parsons Project albums Eye In The Sky and Ammonia Avenue. Throughout the years, Argent and Blunstone have toured many times together as a duo, or under the Zombies moniker performing hits from all phases of their intertwined careers. The definitive Zombies collection available today is Zombie Heaven, a four CD box set released by Ace Records in the U.K.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: June 2nd, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #33 – Unit 4+2: “Concrete And Clay” b/w “When I Fall In Love” – London 45 RPM Single 45-LON-9754 (G4/H4)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #33 – Unit 4+2: “Concrete And Clay” b/w “When I Fall In Love” – London 45 RPM Single 45-LON-9754 (G4/H4)

Today’s song is a somewhat forgotten British Invasion classic from 1965, featuring future members of The Kinks and Argent amongst its band members.

Unit 4 was a British harmony vocal group that was started in the early 1960s by Brian Parker who was a member of Adam Faith’s backing band The Roulettes. Parker set out to form his own band and recruited Buster Meikle on vocals and guitar, Tommy Moeller on vocals and piano and Peter Moules on bass. Soon thereafter, they added two more members, Rod Garwood (bass) and Hugh Halliday (drums) who became the “+2” of their namesake. Their first British single was “The Green Fields” which was a top 50 hit in 1964.

By 1965, they were joined by two guest musicians, Bob Henrit who later went on to become a member of The Kinks and Russ Ballard who was a founding member of Argent. Both had worked with Parker and were also members of The Roulettes. Henrit and Ballard later joined Unit 4 + 2 as full members in 1967.

Their 1965 single, “Concrete And Clay” topped the British charts due to its inclusion on pirate radio playlists. In America, Unit 4 + 2’s recording of the song competed on the charts with a rival version by singer and Bob Crewe protégé Eddie Rambeau. Rambeau’s version climbed to number 35 on the charts, while Unit 4 + 2’s made it up to number 28. Both recordings kind of cancelled each other out, so neither was able to attain the attention that it should have.

A full length album was rush-recorded and released to capitalize on the success of the single in England, but the material was lacking and attempts to find a suitable follow up single failed to catch fire on the charts. As time went on, the band delved into psychedelic music as they strived to keep up with the ever changing times. During the late 60s, the group with Henrit and Ballard now full members recorded a version of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” that failed to compete well with the more successful version by The Byrds.

“Concrete” was covered by Gary Lewis And The Playboys, Cliff Richard, Martin Plaza (of the group Mental As Anything) who brought the song to the #2 position on the Australian charts in 1986, Randy Edelman who brought the song to #20 on the UK charts in 1976, Kevin Rowland (of Dexy’s Midnight Runners) and They Might Be Giants.

The flip of today’s single is a cover of the Victor Young and Edward Heyman standard “When I Fall In Love” which was popularized by Nat “King” Cole and hundreds of other pop vocalists. The group’s cover puts them more into the category of easy listening artists like The Lettermen.

All in all, Unit 4 + 2 released 16 singles and two albums in England between 1964 and 1969. The song was rerecorded by songwriter and original vocalist, Tommy Moeller for a UK album in 2011. Moeller was also known as the public face of another British one-hit wonder, Whistling Jack Smith who had a number five whistling hit with “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman.” In the U.S. Unit 4+2 are barely remembered for this one great track, which to my ears sounds like a prequel to today’s faux folk groups like Mumford And Sons and The Lumineers.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: May 20th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #48– Argent: “Hold Your Head Up” b/w “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” – Epic Memory Lane Series 45 15-2332 (Q5/R5)

45 adapterargentholdyourheadup45argentgodgaverockandrolltoyou45

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #48– Argent: “Hold Your Head Up” b/w “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” – Epic Memory Lane Series 45 15-2332 (Q5/R5)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

When the British Invasion band The Zombies disintegrated in 1969 before the posthumous release of their biggest hit single “Time Of The Season,” keyboardist Rod Argent formed the band Argent with Jim Rodford on bass, Bob Henrit on drums and Russ Ballard on guitar. (The latter two musicians were members of the group Unit 4+2, the subject of The Jukebox Series #33.)

While The Zombies’ music consisted of finely tuned ear worms that were designed to climb up the charts and go directly into the hearts of music fans around the world, Argent’s music was a far more difficult mix of jazz, prog rock and classical influences. While the group’s first two albums didn’t make any significant waves on the single or album charts, the song “Liar” from their debut became a top ten hit by Three Dog Night.

Today’s jukebox classic is the song Argent is best known for. “Hold Your Head Up” was written by Rod Argent and Chris White (who also wrote songs for The Zombies) and was released on their third album All Together Now which was released in 1972. The heavily edited single version of the song (from 6:15 on the album down to 3:15 for the single) sold over a million copies and climbed to the #5 spot of the U.S. and UK pop charts. (For our purposes, I’ve included an audio clip of the far superior unedited version of the song.)

With its propulsive beat, layered vocal harmonies and long sinuous organ solo, the song grabbed hold of the AM charts in 1972, and fit in perfectly alongside tracks by Yes, Genesis and Jethro Tull on the FM radio playlists of the early 1970s. Over the years, the song has been covered by the likes of Steppenwolf, Uriah Heap and the 1980s hard rock band Mr. Big.

The flip of today’s single is “God Gave Rock And Roll To You” which is probably best known by the covers it spawned by KISS and the Christian rock band Petra. The song was actually recorded during sessions for Argent’s All Together Now album but was not released as a single until it appeared on their 1973 album In Deep.

The KISS cover of the song (titled “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You II”) was featured in the 1991 film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and its soundtrack album, and later appeared on KISS’ Revenge album.  Petra converted the song into a well-known Christian rock anthem and recorded it twice, once on their 1977 album Come And Join Us, and again on 1984’s Beat The System.

After running its course with little follow up success, Argent broke up in 1976 and Jim Rodford joined The Kinks while Rod Argent began producing albums. The original lineup reformed in 2010 for the High Voltage Festival in London, and these days Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone (of The Zombies) tour under their own names and as The Zombies performing Argent and Zombies hits.

Edited: December 18th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #38 – The Zombies: “She’s Not There” b/w “Tell Her No” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL 3556 (Q4/R4)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #38 – The Zombies: “She’s Not There” b/w “Tell Her No” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL 3556 (Q4/R4)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

The Zombies’ fingerprints can be felt all over the music of The Byrds, The Doors, Crowded House and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  Elvis was a big fan and they were hugely influenced by The Beatles, as well as being an influence on The Beatles. John Lennon wanted to produce them, and the sound of today’s double A-sided jukebox single with their debut hit “She’s Not There” on the A-side and the ultra-Lennonesque “Tell Her No” on the flip is, in my estimation, a perfect single.

They were a British Invasion band every bit as good as The Beatles, Stones, Kinks and The Who. In their ranks, they had one of the greatest vocalists of the entire British Invasion in Colin Blunstone, who could be at once breathy and plaintive, and then gritty and soulful, sometimes in the same song.

Add to that, not one, but two inspired songwriters in Chris White and Rod Argent, whose compositional abilities made perfectly crafted ‘60s pop records, high on melody and infused with great harmonies.  It was all held together by Argent’s jazz-infused piano and organ playing, the tasty and tuneful guitar work of Paul Atkinson, and the air-tight rhythm section of White on bass and Hugh Grundy on drums, providing a danceable and infectious back beat.

Yet their impact was far greater in the U.S. than at home where their very first single “She’s Not There” peaked at #12 on the British charts, but made it all the way to #2 on these shores. Its follow up, “Tell Her No,” climbed to #6 in the U.S., but didn’t even make it into the UK top 40.

“She’s Not There” was the group’s debut single which was recorded in one take after the band won studio time in a talent contest. The song makes its impact right from the onset with its folk infused introduction which was rare for early 1960s rock recordings. In the early 1970s, the song was re-recorded by Zombies vocalist Colin Bluestone under the name Neil McArthur. This version climbed to the #34 position of the UK charts, and it also charted again in 1977 by Santana from their Moonflower album. “Tell Her No,” on the flip, was later recorded by Juice Newton in 1983 who brought the song into the pop top thirty.

After a string of great single releases here and abroad including “What More Can I Do,” “I Love You,” “I Can’t Make Up Your Mind,” “Summertime,” “Goin’ Out Of My Head” and “Is This The Dream” that didn’t seem to ignite the imagination of the public, The Zombies released their final magnum opus album, Odessey and Oracle in 1968 and then called it quits.

But timing is everything…so it is somewhat ironic that the group’s biggest worldwide hit, “Time Of The Season,” happened after they disbanded.  Odessey and Oracle wouldn’t have even received a release on these shores had it not been for Al Kooper who worked for the group’s U.S. label and convinced them that the album was worth a proper release. Even though the group was no longer together, the album’s release was accompanied by the “Time Of The Season” single which went on to become their biggest hit all over the world.

After the breakup, Rod Argent went on to form the group Argent with Chris White (who wrote songs for the group, but did not perform.)  They scored a hit with “Hold Your Head Up” in 1972, and had the distinction of having both KISS and Christian rock group Petra cover their song, “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You.”

Colin Blunstone recorded many solo records, some with the help of his former band mates; he released three albums on Elton John’s Rocket Record Company label during the 1970s, and recorded vocals for The Alan Parsons Project albums Eye In The Sky and Ammonia Avenue. Throughout the years, Argent and Blunstone have toured many times together as a duo, or under the Zombies name performing hits from all phases of their intertwined careers. The definitive Zombies collection available today is Zombie Heaven, a four CD box set released by Ace Records in the U.K.

Edited: December 3rd, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #33 – Unit 4+2: “Concrete And Clay” b/w “When I Fall In Love” – London 45 RPM Single 45-LON-9754 (G4/H4)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #33 – Unit 4+2: “Concrete And Clay” b/w “When I Fall In Love” – London 45 RPM Single 45-LON-9754 (G4/H4)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Today’s Song Of The Day is a somewhat forgotten British Invasion classic from 1965, featuring future members of The Kinks and Argent amongst its band members.

Unit 4 was a British harmony vocal group that was started in the early 1960s by Brian Parker who was a member of British star, Adam Faith’s backing band The Roulettes. Parker set out to form his own band and recruited Buster Meikle on vocals and guitar, Tommy Moeller on vocals and piano and Peter Moules on bass. Soon thereafter, they added two more members, Rod Garwood (bass) and Hugh Halliday (drums) who became the “+2” of their namesake. Their first British single was “The Green Fields” which was a top 50 hit in 1964.

By 1965, they were joined by two guest musicians, Bob Henrit who later went on to become a member of The Kinks and Russ Ballard who was a founding member of Argent. Both had worked with Parker and were also members of The Roulettes. Henrit and Ballard later joined Unit 4 + 2 as full members in 1967.

Their 1965 single, “Concrete And Clay” topped the British charts due to its inclusion on pirate radio playlists. In America, Unit 4 + 2’s recording of the song competed on the charts with a rival version by singer and Bob Crewe protégé Eddie Rambeau. Rambeau’s version climbed to number 35 on the charts, while Unit 4 + 2’s made it up to number 28. Both recordings kind of cancelled each other out, so neither was able to attain the attention that it should have on these shores.

A full length album was rush-recorded and released to capitalize on the success of the single in England, but the material was lacking and attempts to find a suitable follow up single failed to catch fire on the charts. As time went on, the band delved into psychedelic music as they strived to keep up with the ever changing times. During the late 60s, the group with Henrit and Ballard now full members recorded a version of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” that didn’t hold a candle to the more successful version by The Byrds.

The song was covered by Gary Lewis And The Playboys, Cliff Richard, Martin Plaza (of the group Mental As Anything) who brought the song to the #2 position on the Australian charts in 1986, Randy Edelman who brought the song to #20 on the UK charts in 1976, Kevin Rowland (of Dexy’s Midnight Runners) and They Might Be Giants.

The flip of today’s single is a cover of the Victor Young and Edward Heyman standard “When I Fall In Love” which was popularized by Nat “King” Cole and hundreds of other pop vocalists. The group’s cover puts them more into the category of easy listening artists like The Lettermen.

All in all, Unit 4 + 2 released 16 singles and two albums in England between 1964 and 1969. The song was rerecorded by songwriter and original vocalist, Tommy Moeller for a UK album in 2011. Moeller was also known as the public face of another British one-hit wonder, Whistling Jack Smith who had a number five whistling hit with “I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman.” In the U.S. Unit 4+2 are barely remembered for this one great track, which to my ears sounds like a prequel to today’s faux folk groups like Mumford And Sons and The Lumineers.

Edited: November 20th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 4/1/13


Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Concrete And Clay” by Unit 4 + 2

Today’s Song Of The Day is a somewhat forgotten British Invasion classic from 1965, featuring future members of The Kinks and Argent amongst its band members.

Unit 4 was a British harmony vocal group that was started in the early 1960s by Brian Parker who was a member of British star, Adam Faith’s backing band The Roulettes. Parker set out to form his own band and recruited Buster Meikle on vocals and guitar, Tommy Moeller on vocals and piano and Peter Moules on bass. Soon thereafter, they added two more members, Rod Garwood (bass) and Hugh Halliday (drums) who became the “+2” of their namesake. Their first British single was “The Green Fields” which was a top 50 hit in 1964.

By 1965, they were joined by two guest musicians, Bob Henrit who later went on to become a member of The Kinks and Russ Ballard who was a founding member of Argent. Both had worked with Parker and were also members of The Roulettes. Henrit and Ballard later joined Unit 4 + 2 as full members in 1967.

Their 1965 single, “Concrete And Clay” topped the British charts due to its inclusion on pirate radio playlists. In America, Unit 4 + 2’s version of the song competed on the charts with a rival version recorded by singer and Bob Crewe protégé Eddie Rambeau. Rambeau’s version climbed to number 35 on the charts, while Unit 4 + 2’s made it up to number 28. Both recordings kind of cancelled each other out, so neither was able to attain the attention that it should have.

A full length album was rush-recorded and released to capitalize on the success of the single in England, but the material was lacking and attempts to find a suitable follow up single failed to catch fire on the charts. As time went on, the band delved into psychedelic music as they strived to keep up with the ever changing times. During the late 60s, the group with Henrit and Ballard now full members recorded a version of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” that failed to compete well with the more successful version by The Byrds.

All in all, Unit 4 + 2 released 16 singles and two albums in England between 1964 and 1969, however in the U.S., they are barely remembered for this one great track, which to my ears sounds like a prequel to today’s faux folk groups like Mumford And Sons and The Lumineers.

Edited: March 31st, 2013