|Birth name||Colin Edward Michael Blunstone|
|Also known as||Neil MacArthur|
|Born||24 June 1945|
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, musician|
Colin Edward Michael Blunstone (born 24 June 1945) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Blunstone came to prominence in the mid-1960s as the lead singer of the English rock band the Zombies, which released four singles that entered the Top 75 charts in the United States during the 1960s, including "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", "She's Coming Home", and "Time of the Season". Blunstone began his solo career in 1969, releasing three singles under a pseudonym of Neil MacArthur. Since then, he has released ten studio albums under his real name. He appears on several albums with the Alan Parsons Project and sang "Old and Wise".
Colin Edward Michael Blunstone was born on 24 June 1945, in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, only son of Arthur Blunstone, an aeronautical engineer at the De Havilland factory at Hatfield who later ran a hairdressing business before returning to work for De Havilland, and housewife Dorothy, a former dancer who also worked for De Havilland. Notwithstanding post-war privations, Blunstone recalled that although his family were not well-off, his parents never owning a car, they had a pleasant lifestyle in rural Hertfordshire. He noted that "as a band we gave off that aura of being middle-class... maybe a couple of the guys' families were comfortable, but the others' weren't. Because of where we came from we talk in a particular way. That... sounded a bit like BBC accents... My parents weren't wealthy at all. We may have been middle-class by aspiration, but not by income." He attended St Albans County Grammar School for Boys.
Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, and Hugh Grundy first played together at a jam on Easter 1961 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Rod Argent wanted to form a band and initially asked his cousin Jim Rodford to join as a bass guitarist. Rodford was playing in local band called the Bluetones at the time, so declined. Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined in early 1961, while all five members were still at school. After they won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Rod Argent's song "She's Not There" got them a recording contract with Decca.
Blunstone's voice was considered[according to whom?] one of the main factors in making the Zombies' single, "She's Not There", a big hit worldwide. In 1968, the band broke up over management issues, shortly after completing the baroque pop classic album Odessey and Oracle. Blunstone briefly worked as a clerk in the insurance business before resuming his musical career. In 1969, he signed with Deram and released three singles under the pseudonym of Neil MacArthur, including a re-make of "She's Not There", which charted in the UK.
Blunstone gained success as a solo artist in 1972 with "Say You Don't Mind" (which peaked at number 15 in the UK chart and was written by future Paul McCartney and Wings member Denny Laine), and "I Don't Believe in Miracles" (which peaked at number 31 in the UK chart and written by Argent member Russ Ballard), both with string arrangements by Christopher Gunning. Additional minor hits followed with "How Could We Dare to Be Wrong" in early 1973 (which peaked at number 45 in the UK chart) and "The Tracks of My Tears" in 1982 (which peaked at number 60 in the UK chart).
One Year (1971), produced by Chris White and Rod Argent was Blunstone's debut solo album, and included the song "Caroline Goodbye" about his break-up with the model and actress Caroline Munro. The album also featured new material written by Argent and White. This was followed by Ennismore and Journey. He then signed a recording contract with Elton John's record label named The Rocket Record Company and released three studio albums: Planes (1976); Never Even Thought (1978); and Late Nights in Soho (1979) which was only released in Europe. Blunstone also contributed to Dave Stewart's hit cover version of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (1980). He went on to appear on several albums by the Alan Parsons Project including Eye in the Sky, where he sings the hit single "Old and Wise", and Ammonia Avenue ("Dancing on a Highwire"). In 1984, he joined with other Parsons musicians, most notably David Paton of PILOT/Parsons to form Keats.
His ninth solo album The Ghost of You And Me was released in the UK, Benelux, and Scandinavia on 9 March 2009. Blunstone completed a twelve date UK tour, his first in several years. He continued to tour with Rod Argent as the Zombies, and the original surviving members of the band played four reunion concerts performing Odessey and Oracle, in April 2009. In 2010, Sony released Colin Blunstone Original Album Classics, a 3-disc boxed set featuring digitally re-mastered versions of Blunstone's solo albums One Year, Journey and Ennismore. The collection also includes two bonus tracks that were originally released as non-LP b-sides in UK.
Blunstone continues to be active, occasionally in tours with 1960s bands such as Manfred Mann, often collaborating with Rod Argent. Some of his more recent albums are As Far As I Can See, the mid-1990s Echo Bridge and Out of the Shadows (with Rod Argent).
The Zombies reunion
In 2004, Blunstone and Rod Argent recorded As Far as I Can See..., a new album in the style of the Zombies. A later album and DVD Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of the Zombies Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre were well received, as was their 2007 US tour. One critic wrote, "The Zombies, still led by original keyboard wizard Rod Argent and featuring the smoked-silk vocals of Colin Blunstone, is the best 60s band still touring which doesn't have Mick Jagger as a front man".
Blunstone continued to tour with Argent as the Zombies, and in April 2009 the original surviving members of the band played four reunion concerts performing Odessey and Oracle. Blunstone and Rod Argent decided to put together a touring band, perform live and release new material as The Zombies. Jim Rodford (Argent, The Kinks) was on bass, Steve Rodford on drums and Keith Airey on guitar. Airey left and was replaced by Tom Toomey. After the death of Jim Rodford in 2018, Soren Koch became the Zombies' new bass player. In a 2015 article for PopMatters, journalist J.C. Maçek III quoted Argent about the Zombies' latest album Still Got That Hunger. Argent said, "Still Got That Hunger is the first album that has really recaptured some of the resonance of feeling of a group. We're so tight as a group together now. And the whole process has become so organic that we're 100% happy with the Zombies name and rediscovering and playing all the old stuff and at the same time carving a new path forward which is also very, very important to us."
Radio, television, and film
Blunstone has appeared many times on radio and television shows in the UK and on soundtracks. He and his band performed several sessions for John Peel and Johnnie Walker, and on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1971, where he performed live with a string quartet.
Blunstone appeared in The Savages (2001) and Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1997) both as a singer. Other TV appearances include The Dan and Dusty Show (2004) as the Zombies, Shindig! Presents British Invasion Vol. 2 (1992) also as the Zombies, and Pop Quiz (1982). His sole film part was in Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), directed by Otto Preminger (as the Zombies) and starring Laurence Olivier.
Blunstone is married to Suzy Blunstone, and the couple have a daughter.
- The Zombies - Begin Here (1965)
- The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle (1968)
- The Zombies - R.I.P. (1969)
- Argent-Blunstone - Out of the Shadows (2001) - Redhouse REDHCD
- The Zombies - Live at the BBC (2003) (Expanded and re-released as The BBC Radio Sessions (2016)
- The Zombies - As Far as I Can See… (2004)
- The Zombies - Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London (2005)
- The Zombies - On The BBC Radio (2007)
- The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle: 40th Anniversary Live Concert (2008)
- The Zombies - Breathe Out, Breathe In (2011)
- The Zombies - Live In Concert At Metropolis Studios (2012)
- The Zombies - Live in the UK (2013)
- The Zombies - Still Got That Hunger (2015)
- One Year – Epic EPC64557 (1971)
- Ennismore – Epic EPC65278 (1972)
- Journey – Epic EPC65805 (1974)
- Planes – Epic EPC81592 (1977)
- Never Even Thought – Rocket BXL1-2903 (1978)
- Late Nights in Soho – Rocket (Netherlands) 9103 510 (1979)
- Sings His Greatest Hits - JSE Records – CLACD 351 (1991)
- Echo Bridge – Permanent PERMCD38 (1995)
- Live at the BBC (1996)
- The Light Inside – Mystic MYSCD125 (1998)
- The Ghost of You and Me – Ennismore ENNISCD1 (2009)
- On the Air Tonight – Ennismore ENNISCD2 (2012)
- Some Years : It's the Time of Colin Blunstone - Epic/Legacy 489487 2
- Greatest Hits + Plus - Mystic MYS CD194 (2006)
- Collected - Universal (Netherlands) 534 274-2/4
- "Mary, Won't You Warm My Bed" / "I Hope I Didn't Say Too Much Last Night" – Epic EPC7095 (1971)
- "Caroline, Goodbye" / "Though You Are Far Away" – Epic EPC7520 (October 1971)
- "Say You Don't Mind" / "Let Me Come Closer" – Epic EPC7765 (January 1972) (UK #15)
- "I Don't Believe in Miracles" / "I've Always Had You" – Epic EPC8434 (October 1972) (UK #31)
- "How Could We Dare to Be Wrong" / "Time's Running Out" – Epic EPC1197 (February 1973) (UK #45)
- "Wonderful" / "Beginning" – Epic EPC1775 (September 1973)
- "It's Magical" / "Summersong" – Epic EPC2413 (May 1974)
- "When You Close Your Eyes" / "Good Guys Don't Always Win" – Epic EPC4576
- "Planes" / "Dancing in the Dark" – Epic EPC4752 (November 1976)
- "Beautiful You" / "It's Hard to Say Goodbye" – Epic EPC5009 (February 1977)
- "Lovin' and Free" / "Dancing in the Dark" – Epic EPC5199 (April 1977)
- "I'll Never Forget You" / "You Are the Way for Me" – Epic EPC6320 (May 1978)
- "Ain't It Funny" / "Who's That Knocking?" – Epic EPC6535 (July 1978)
- "Photograph" / "Touch and Go" – Epic EPC6793 (November 1978)
- "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (with Dave Stewart) / "There Is No Reward" – Stiff Broken 1 (1980) (UK #13) (AUS #34)
- "Miles Away" / "Excerpts from Exiled" (non-Blunstone B-side) – Panache PAN1 (September 1981)
- "The Tracks of My Tears" / "Last Goodbye" – PRT 7P236 (April 1982) (UK #60)
- "Old and Wise" / "Children of the Moon" (non-Blunstone B-side) Arista released 1982
- "Touch" / "Touch" (instrumental) – PRT 7P64 (February 1983)
- "Where Do We Go From Here?" / "Helen Loves Paris" – Sierra FED22 (May 1986)
- "She's Not There" / "Who Fires the Gun" – Sierra FED27 (October 1986)
- "Cry an Ocean" / "Make It Easy" – IRS IRM151 (May 1988)
- "So Much More" – Go Entertainment (Jan 2013)
As Neil MacArthur
- "She's Not There" / "World of Glass" – Deram DM225 (January 1969) (UK #34)
- "Don't Try to Explain" / "Without Her" – Deram DM262 (June 1969)
- "It's Not Easy" / "12:29" – Deram DM275 (December 1969)
- The Alan Parsons Project – Pyramid (1978) – "The Eagle Will Rise Again"
- Mike Batt – Tarot Suite (1979) – "Losing Your Way in the Rain"
- Iva Twydell – Duel (1982) (backing vocals)
- The Alan Parsons Project – Eye in the Sky (1982) – "Old and Wise" (UK No. 74, US #22)
- Keats – Keats (1984)
- The Alan Parsons Project – Ammonia Avenue (1984) – "Dancing on a Highwire"
- The Alan Parsons Project – Vulture Culture (1985) – "Somebody Out There"
- The Crowd – You'll Never Walk Alone (1985)
- Don Airey – K2 (1989) – "Julie"
- Nadieh – No Way Back (1989) – "Splendid Morning" (duet)
- The Bolland Project – Darwin (The Evolution) (1991) – "The Way of the Evolution", "Emma My Dear"
- Just Like a Woman soundtrack (1992) – "Politics of Love"
- Split Second soundtrack (1992) – "Nights in White Satin"
- Heineken Night of the Proms '93 – "She's Not There"
- Time Code 64 W/ Colin Blunstone – Dance Trax (1993) – "She's Not There (Club Mix)"
- Duncan Browne – Songs of Love And War (1995) – "Misunderstood", "Love Leads You", "I Fall Again"
- Steve Hackett – Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (1996) – "For Absent Friends"
- Mike Batt – Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1998) – "Tiger in the Night"
- Mike Batt with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Philharmania (1998 – released only in Germany) – "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
- Alan Parsons – The Time Machine (1999) – "Ignorance Is Bliss"
- Sir John Betjeman & Mike Read – Words & Music (2000) – "Peggy", "In Memory"
- Edward Rogers – Sunday Fables (2004) – "Make It Go Away" (backing vocals)
- Colin Blunstone at AllMusic
- "The Zombies". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
- The Zombies: Hung up on a Dream- A Biography 1962-1967, Claes Johansen, SAF Publishing Ltd, The Cromwell Press, 2001, pp. 13-14
- Where Have All The Rock Stars Gone? vol. 1, Marti Smiley Childs, Jeff March, EditPros, 2011, p. 272
- Unterberger, Richie. "The Zombies". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Henson, Jopaquin (15 September 2012). "May the Zombies never rest in peace". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Piniak, Jeremy. "Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone". Chicago Innerview. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Webb, Robert (2012). "Say You Don't Mind". 100 Greatest Cover Versions: The Ultimate Playlist. p. 192. ISBN 9780857160577. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Colin Blunstone". The Avenue Online. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "The Ghost of You and Me". PopMatters. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Colin Blunstone – Original Album Classics CD". CD Universe. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Still far out, Mann". The Guardian. 19 November 1999. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "The Zombies / Zombies Live!". Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- "Music CD/DVD Review: Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of The Zombies – Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London". Blogcritics. Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- "Hits keep on coming..." The Washington Times. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2014. (subscription required)
- Maçek III, J.C. (4 November 2015). ""There Are No Half-Measures" An Interview with the Zombies' Rod Argent". PopMatters.
- "Blue plaque breathes new life into The Zombies". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Old Grey Whistle Test". Vintage Rock TV Archive. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Introducing our Patron Colin Blunstone". Megan Baker House. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 67. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 39. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 336. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.