Argent (band)

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Argent
Argent in 1973
Argent in 1973
Background information
OriginLondon, England
Genres
Years active1969–1976, 2010, 2012, 2013
Past membersRod Argent
Bob Henrit
Jim Rodford
Russ Ballard
John Verity
John Grimaldi

Argent were an English rock band founded in 1969 by keyboardist Rod Argent, formerly of the Zombies. They had three UK top 40 singles: "Hold Your Head Up", which reached number five and spent 12 weeks on the chart, "Tragedy" (number 34), and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" (number 18). Two of their albums charted in the UK: All Together Now, which peaked at number 13 in 1972, and In Deep, which spent one week at number 49 in 1973.[2]

History[edit]

Rod Argent put together Argent just as his former band The Zombies's posthumous single "Time of the Season" was becoming a worldwide hit in 1969. Argent had enjoyed considerable success with The Zombies but wanted his new outfit to become part of the burgeoning progressive rock scene.[citation needed] Indeed, his new band employed much heavier rhythms and a generally weightier sound, but also continued the minor keys and complex lyrics of The Zombies, often by Argent's writing with former Zombie bassist Chris White. Guitarist and vocalist Russ Ballard also developed strong melodies and hit singles, writing a string of FM staples. The band was completed by bassist Jim Rodford and drummer Bob Henrit.[3] Lead vocal duties were shared between Ballard, Rodford, and Argent.[4]

Their first album, Argent, was critically acclaimed, if not a massive seller. It was a solid start and contained the song "Liar", which was subsequently covered by Three Dog Night. 1971's Ring of Hands was their second album and feaured the minor hit "Sweet Mary". All Together Now was their third album released in 1973. It featured the song that they are best remembered for: "Hold Your Head Up" which was a top 5 hit in both UK and the US charts.[2][5]

Their next album In Deep contained two more hits in "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" and "It's Only Money". 1974's Nexus did not have any songs the band considered to be a potential hit;[citation needed] Rod Argent's writing dominated the album, with Ballard only contributing 3 of the album's 9 songs. The album's centerpiece "The Coming of Kohoutek" was inspired by that year's appearance of the comet of the same name. Uninspired by this change and seeking a vehicle for his prodigious songwriting, Ballard left after the album's release to pursue a successful career as a solo artist. Ballard's departure was followed by the release of the live album Encore, whose sound quality is considered to be poor.[citation needed]

The band regrouped as a quintet with the addition of a young virtuoso guitarist John Grimaldi and guitar/vocalist John Verity. Both of their final albums Circus and 1975's Counterpoints were poorly received and failed to sell, though their final concert tours were well attended. In 1975, John Grimaldi decided to leave the band. While Rod Argent considered whether to continue Argent, the remaining members (Henrit, Rodford and Verity) became Phoenix.

The original Argent lineup reunited at the High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London on 25 July 2010, and undertook a short five-date concert tour in December 2010, with gigs in Frome, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leamington Spa, and London.[citation needed]

Argent also reunited for a five-show tour from January to February 2012, before performing one last show at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury as part of a benefit concert, on 2 June 2013, supporting the Zombies, on a bill that also included Marillion members Steve Hogarth and Steve Rothery.[6]

Rodford died after a fall on 20 January 2018, at age 76.[7][8]

Band members[edit]

  • Rod Argent – keyboards, backing and lead vocals (1969–1976, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Bob Henrit – drums (1969–1976, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Russ Ballard – guitar, lead vocals (1969–1974, 2010, 2012, 2013)
  • Jim Rodford – bass guitar, backing vocals (1969–1976, 2010, 2012, 2013; died 2018)
  • John Verity – guitar, lead vocals (1974–1976)
  • John Grimaldi – guitar (1974–1976; died 1983)
1969-1974 1974-1976 2010, 2012, 2013
Rod Argent keyboards, backing and lead vocals, producer, songwriter keyboards, backing and lead vocals, producer, songwriter keyboards, backing and lead vocals, producer, songwriter keyboards, backing and lead vocals
Bob Henrit drums drums drums drums
Russ Ballard guitar, lead vocals, songwriter guitar, lead vocals
Jim Rodford bass guitar, backing vocals bass guitar, backing vocals, songwriter bass guitar, backing vocals, songwriter bass guitar, backing vocals
John Verity guitar, lead vocals guitar, lead vocals
John Grimaldi guitar guitar, songwriter
Chris White producer, songwriter producer producer
Tony Visconti producer

Timeline[edit]

Songs[edit]

Argent's biggest hit was the Rod Argent and Chris White composition "Hold Your Head Up", featuring lead vocals by Russ Ballard, from the All Together Now album, which, in a heavily edited single form, reached No. 5 in the US. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[9] By 2005, all albums, including compilations, have been re-released on CD, except Counterpoints.

The sound of the band was a mix of rock and pop, but also covered more progressive rock territory in songs like "The Coming of Kohoutek", an instrumental from their Nexus album. When Ballard left the band after Encore, they took an even more progressive/fusion turn with their final Epic album Circus[3] and then signed to a new record label (RCA) for the final 1975 album Counterpoints. By 2005, all albums, including compilations, have been re-released on CD, except Counterpoints.

Legacy[edit]

Argent recorded the original version of "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", written by Russ Ballard, which was covered by Kiss in 1991 under the name "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II", and featured prominently at the end of the film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. The song also became a Contemporary Christian rock anthem and was twice covered by the Christian Rock band Petra, in 1977 (on the album Come and Join Us) and again in 1984 (on the album Beat the System), with new verses.[10]

Some of Ballard's compositions became hits when they were covered by other artists, including Rainbow ("Since You Been Gone", from the album Down to Earth, and "I Surrender", from the album Difficult to Cure), Kiss, Petra, Hello, Santana, and more recently the Brazilian metal band Oficina G3. The Russ Ballard song "Liar", on Argent's first album, became a hit for Three Dog Night in 1971[11] and was also released as a single, ten years later, by Graham Bonnet (former Rainbow vocalist, who sang the vocal on "Since You Been Gone"), taken from his debut album Line-Up.

Fish (former lead singer of Marillion) recorded a version of "Hold Your Head Up" for his 1993 album Songs from the Mirror, a selection of his favourite songs.[12][13] The American band Phish play an instrumental version of "Hold Your Head Up", usually as a transition into a "joke song" by drummer Jon Fishman.[14] "Hold Your Head Up" was covered in 1987 by the band 20/Twenty and (in the same year) by Australian group the Party Boys.[citation needed] Mother Love Bone recorded a cover of "Hold Your Head Up" in 1989. Their version was released on a promotional only 7" vinyl in 1989. It was reissued on 7" vinyl in 2014 as a limited edition Black Friday Record Store Day release on Stardog/Republic Records.[citation needed] The band Jellyfish opened most of their shows with an abbreviated version of "Hold Your Head Up".[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Label Peak chart positions
US
[5]
UK
[2]
1970 Argent Epic
1971 Ring of Hands
1972 All Together Now 23 13
1973 In Deep 90 49
1974 Nexus 149
1975 Circus 171
Counterpoints RCA
"–" denotes releases that did not chart.

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Peak chart positions
US
[5]
UK
[2]
1974 Encore: Live in Concert 151
1995 In Concert
1997 The Complete BBC Sessions
2010 High Voltage Festival
"–" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Best of Argent - An Anthology (Epic, 1976)
  • Hold Your Head Up (1978)
  • Music from the Spheres (1991)
  • Greatest: The Singles Collection (2008)
  • Argent: Original Album Classics [A collection of the band's first five albums in miniature album sleeves] (2009)
  • God Gave Rock and Roll to You: The Greatest Hits (2010)
  • Hold Your Head Up: The Best of Argent (2022)

Singles[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions Album
US
[15]
UK
[2]
1970 "Liar" Argent
"Schoolgirl"
1971 "Sweet Mary" 102 Ring of Hands
"Celebration"
1972 "Hold Your Head Up" 5 5 All Together Now
"Tragedy" 106 34
1973 "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" 114 18 In Deep
"It's Only Money, Part 2" 53[A]
1974 "Man for All Reasons" Nexus
"Thunder & Lightning"
"Time of the Season" Encore: Live in Concert
1975 "The Jester" Circus
"Highwire"
"Rock 'n' Roll Show" Counterpoints
"–" denotes releases that did not chart.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chart position is from the official UK "Breakers List".
  1. ^ a b c Eder, Bruce. "Encore: Live in Concert Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 29. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ a b "Argent". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  4. ^ Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 49/50. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  5. ^ a b c "Argent - Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  6. ^ "Gig review: Johnny's Rock N Roll Show – The Zombies, Argent, Aylesbury, 2 June 2013". Get Ready to Rock!. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Jim Rodford, of Argent, Kinks, Zombies Fame, Dies". Bestclassicbands.com. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Jim Rodford, Kinks and Argent Bassist, Dead at 76". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  9. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 308. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  10. ^ Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 693. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
  11. ^ "Three Dog Night, "Liar" U.S. Chart Position". Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Songs From The Mirror". Fish-thecompany.com. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  13. ^ Wilding, Philip (26 January 2018). "Fish – Songs From The Mirror reissue review". Louder. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Phish.net". Phish.net. Phish.net. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Argent Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved 5 November 2022.

External links[edit]