Paul Atkinson (guitarist)

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Paul Atkinson
Birth namePaul Atkinson
BornMarch 19, 1946
DiedApril 1, 2004(2004-04-01) (aged 58)
Occupation(s)musician, A&R executive
Years active1958–2004

Paul Ashley Warren Atkinson (19 March 1946 – 1 April 2004) was a British guitarist and record company executive best known as a founding member of the pop/rock band The Zombies. Atkinson will be posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.[1]

Early years[edit]

Paul Atkinson was born in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, and educated at St Albans School. At St Albans, Atkinson met Rod Argent and Hugh Grundy, and the three formed a band initially called the Mustangs, later changed to The Zombies. Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined the new band in mid 1958, but Arnold soon left and was replaced by Chris White. After the group won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Argent's song "She's Not There" got them a deal with Decca[2] and was a hit in the UK and US. The group continued to record successfully through the 1960s, but disbanded in December 1967, reportedly over management disagreements.[3]

Atkinson later became an artists and repertoire executive at Dick James Music, the Beatles' publishing company, which developed into a production company, discovering and signing such bands as Elton John, ABBA, Bruce Hornsby, Mr. Mister, Judas Priest, Michael Penn and Grayson Hugh, who Atkinson brought to MCA Records from RCA Records in 1991.[citation needed] In January 2004 Atkinson received the President's Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences at a benefit concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. The Zombies reunited for the event.[citation needed]

Atkinson died at the age of 58 in a Santa Monica hospital due to liver and kidney disease on 1 April 2004.[4] He had been suffering from cancer for some time, and had two liver transplants.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The Zombies". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Zombies". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  3. ^ Henson, Jopaquin (15 September 2012). "May the Zombies never rest in peace". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Paul Atkinson, 58; Zombies Guitarist Became Industry Exec". Los Angeles Times. 5 April 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2015.

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