Rod Argent

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Rod Argent
Rod Argent.jpg
Background information
Birth name Rodney Terence Argent
Born (1945-06-14) 14 June 1945 (age 70)
St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Instruments
  • Keyboards
  • vocals
Years active 1959–present
Labels
Associated acts
Website rodargent.com
External video
Rod Argent - NAMM Oral History Project. Interview date April 12, 2011.

Rodney Terence Argent (born 14 June 1945) is an English rock musician and a founding member of the 1960s English rock group The Zombies[1] and the 1970s band Argent.[2]

Early years[edit]

As a child Rod Argent sang as a boy chorister in St Albans Cathedral Choir.[3] While at St Albans School, he met Paul Atkinson and Hugh Grundy. Argent, Atkinson and Grundy first played together at a jam on Easter 1961 in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

Argent wanted to form a band and initially asked his cousin Jim Rodford to join. Rodford was playing in local band called The Bluetones at the time, so declined. Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined the new band in early 1961 while all five members were still at school. Arnold left not long after and was replaced by Chris White. After the band won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Argent's song "She's Not There" got them a deal with Decca.[4]

Music career[edit]

The Zombies[edit]

In addition to playing piano and keyboards in the Zombies, Argent was (with White) one of the group's two main songwriters, penning the hits "She's Not There", "Tell Her No" and "Time of the Season", amongst others. Argent was initially the group's lead singer, with Blunstone on guitar. When Argent's keyboard talents became apparent, he became the group's full-time keyboard player, conceding the role of lead singer to Blunstone. The group continued to record through the 1960s, but disbanded in December of 1967, reportedly over management disagreements.[5]

Argent[edit]

After the band split, Argent went on to form the band Argent, which had a hit album in 1972 with All Together Now, which contained the single "Hold Your Head Up". His Hammond B3 solo on that track is cited by Rick Wakeman as the greatest organ solo ever.[6] The band also recorded the original version of the rock anthem "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", written by lead singer Russ Ballard, which was later covered by other artists including Petra and KISS. Argent's first album included the song "Liar" (also composed by Ballard), which became a hit for Three Dog Night. In 1976 the band broke up.[7]

Solo career[edit]

In 1978, Argent released the solo album Moving Home with many well-known musicians, including Genesis drummer Phil Collins and Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson. In 1980 he wrote a musical titled Masquerade which premiered in London in 1982. In 1988 he issued another solo album, Red House.[8]

Argent went on to play keyboards with a number of musicians, including piano on the title track of the Who's album Who Are You and on Variations with Gary Moore, Julian Lloyd Webber and Andrew Lloyd Webber. In the 1980s he began writing for television. In 1986 he composed the theme music for ITV's coverage of the 1986 World Cup, "Aztec Gold", which was released as a single under the title of "Silsoe". Also in 1986, he composed the theme music for ITV's The Two of Us. Argent also composed the theme music to the ITV (LWT) sitcom The Piglet Files, which aired from 1990 to 1992.[8]

In 1987 Argent formed a production company with ex-Van Morrison drummer Peter Van Hooke which produced a number of artists. In 1995 Argent produced Soraya's debut album On Nights Like This. Other albums the business partners produced included Tanita Tikaram's Ancient Heart (1988), Nanci Griffith's Late Night Grande Hotel (1991), Joshua Kadison's Painted Desert Serenade (1993) and Jules Shear's Healing Bones (1994).[8]

In 1999 Argent recorded a solo piano album, Rod Argent Classically Speaking, in which he played Chopin études and music by Ravel, Bach and Grieg, as well as three of his own compositions.[9] In 2006, Argent joined Hamish Stuart, Richard Marx, Billy Squier, Edgar Winter and Sheila E. touring with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.[10]

Zombies reunion[edit]

In 2004 Argent and Colin Blunstone recorded a new album, As Far as I Can See..., in the style of the Zombies. A subsequent album and DVD Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of the Zombies Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre received favourable reviews,[11][12] as did their 2007 US tour. One critic noted, "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".[13]

Argent continued to tour with Colin Blunstone as The Zombies, and in April 2009 the original surviving members of the band played four reunion concerts performing Odessey and Oracle. This led to a band reunion. In a 2015 interview with PopMatters journalist J.C. Maçek III 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.”[14]

In 2012 Argent participated in the unveiling of a Blue Plaque at The Blacksmith’s Arms, a St. Albans pub where the Zombies met for their first rehearsal.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Argent and his wife Cathy met at a party in 1967 and married in 1972. They have two adult children, Elesa and Mark.[16]

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • Moving Home (1978)
  • Red House (1988)

Collaborative albums[edit]

Classical album[edit]

  • Classically Speaking (1998)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Zombies | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Rod Argent | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  3. ^ Bridger, Francis; Butler, James T. (2012). "Conversations at the Edges of Things: Reflections for the Church in Honor of John Goldingay". 
  4. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Zombies". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Henson, Jopaquin (15 September 2012). "May the Zombies never rest in peace". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  6. ^ "Ron Galloway: Interview With the Zombie – Rod Argent On Gershwin, Bill Evans, Miles Davis & The Penny Lane Piano". The Huffington Post. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  7. ^ Huey, Steve. "Argent". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Rod Argent". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  9. ^ "Rod Argent Classically Speaking". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "Ringo Starr News". Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Zombies / Zombies Live!". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  12. ^ "Music CD/DVD Review: Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of The Zombies – Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London". Blogcritics. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  13. ^ "Hits keep on coming...". The Washington Times. 1 August 2007. Retrieved 2014-07-17.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ Maçek III, J.C. (4 November 2015). ""There Are No Half-Measures" An Interview with the Zombies' Rod Argent". PopMatters. 
  15. ^ "Blue plaque breathes new life into The Zombies". Welwyn Hatfield Times. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Button, Simon (17 October 2015). "Where are they now... ? The Zombies’ Rod Argent". Retrieved 5 December 2015. 

External links[edit]