They Don’t Want To Eat Your Brains; They Just Want To Rock

The Zombies, despite their completely terrifying moniker, are not scary at all. That is, of course, unless amazing psychedelic rock gives you a particular fright. Starting in England 1964, they made a hit or two, "She’s Not There" and "Tell Her No," they released only three albums (one of which was a hodgepodge of singles and unreleased materials,) never invaded the United States with the other British bands, and broke up in 1967. But that third album… what an album. The Zombies pulled together to make Odessey and Oracle [sic]. Though one of the best albums ever made, at the time, O&O almost didn't get a U.S. release, and only did in 1968 at the intervention and insistence of Al Kooper, and let’s just be glad he was around.

The album features beautiful harmonies, jazz-inspired piano, songs that range from wistful and sunny to provocative and dramatic. While most casual listeners of any oldies station will recognize "Time of the Season," so many other songs like the bouncy "Care of Cell 44," the sad "A Rose for Emily" (whose lyrics hold thematic similarities to Eleanor Rigby,) and the truly wonderful "I Want Her She Wants Me" really steal the show.

The Zombies released Odessey and Oracle in 1967 along with so many other psychedelic classics like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Days of Future Passed, Headquarters, Surrealistic Pillow, The Velvet Underground and Nico, The Doors, the aborted Beach Boys' project Smile (with some tracks featured on their box set,) Are You Experienced?, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and yet, in this year of amazing music, Odessey and Oracle stands at the top of the heap.

On a side note, the 1998 30th Anniversary Edition, like many anniversary editions of mid-sixties records, contains both the mono and stereo mixes.