Tell Her No (as made famous by The Zombies)

“Tell Her No” is a hit single written by Rod Argent and included by British rock band The Zombies on their eponymous debut album The Zombies in 1965. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States in March 1965 and was one of three big American hits by The Zombies (the others being “She’s Not There”, in 1964, and “Time of the Season”, in 1969). “Tell Her No” was only a minor hit for The Zombies in their native Britain, where it peaked at No. 42 on the UK Singles Chart in February 1965.

In 1983, Juice Newton scored a Billboard Top 40 hit in the United States with her version of the song.

According to Argent, “Tell Her No” was influenced by the music of Burt Bacharach and Hal David.[1] The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll described it as “a standard Beatles cop” stating that it was “almost as good” as the Zombies’ earlier hit single “She’s Not There.”[2] Music critic Maury Dean described it as a precursor to jazz fusion for the way the song moves in fits and starts and for its polyrhythms.[3] According to Allmusic critic Lindsay Planer, the song’s “quirky instrumental introduction is repeated throughout and practically sounds off-key before it remarkably resolves into the slightly baroque verses.”[1] Planer praised the catchy melody, the tight arrangement and the song’s “creative advancement.”[1] Dean called it an “excellent song,” especially noting how Rod Argent’s keyboards drive it.[3] Michael Gallucci of Ultimate Classic Rock states that the song doesn’t waste a second of its little more than two minutes.[4]

The word “No” is mentioned a total of 63 times in the lyrics of the song. Lead singer Colin Blunstone mumbled one line in the second refrain and wanted to rerecord it, but producer Ken Jones liked it that way and left it in, leading listeners to wonder what was actually being sung.[5] Blunstone thinks the words sung were “Don’t love this love from my arms.”[5] Gallucci particularly praised how Blunstone sang the “whoa-oh-oh” a little earlier in the song, during the second verse.[4]

In 1983, country-pop singer Juice Newton remade “Tell Her No”.[6] Newton’s version reached No. 14 on the US Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary singles chart and No. 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Newton changed the song’s lyrical gender and point of view, which significantly altered the song’s meaning, now being about a woman convincing her man to resist the temptations of a potential adulteress.

Del Shannon also covered the song.[1] Tahiti 80 covered the song in concert.[7]

She’s Not There (as made famous by The Zombies)

“She’s Not There” is the debut single by British rock band The Zombies, written by organist Rod Argent. It reached No.12 in the UK Singles Chart in September 1964,[1] and reached No.1 on the Cashbox chart (No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100) in the United States at the beginning of December 1964. In Canada, it reached number two.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked “She’s Not There” number 297 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2]

Rod Argent built the lyrics of “She’s Not There” from a John Lee Hooker song, whose title – “No One Told Me” – became the opening phrase of “She’s Not There”. Following an 29 April 1964, performance by the Zombies at St Albans Market Hall, Argent played the one verse he had written of the song for Ken Jones who was set to produce the band’s first recording session. Jones encouraged Argent to write a second verse for the song, intending for the band to record it. Argent recalls: “I wrote the song for Colin’s range”—referring to Zombies’ vocalist Colin Blunstone — “I could hear him singing it in my mind”. The song’s genres and musical styles are described by authors and music journalists as jazz rock,[3] beat[4] and pop rock.[5]

“She’s Not There” was the second of four songs recorded by the Zombies at a 12 June 1964, recording session at Decca’s West Hampstead Studio No. 2. The song’s backing track necessitated seven takes.[6] One of the song’s most distinctive features is Argent’s electric piano sound; the instrument used was a Hohner Pianet. The backing vocals are in a folk-influenced close-harmony style.

The narrator has unsatisfactory dealings with an untrustworthy woman. He reproaches unspecified associates for failing to warn him of her unsavoury character. The real inspiration behind the song, however, was Argent’s first love, Patricia, who called off their wedding weeks before and broke his heart.

This minor key, jazz-tinged single was first aired in the United States during the first week in August 1964, on New York rock radio station WINS by Stan Z. Burns, who debuted the song on his daily noontime “Hot Spot” segment, during which new songs were played. The tune began to catch on in early autumn and eventually reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1964.[7]

The song was later released both on The Zombies’ UK album Begin Here (December 1964) and US album The Zombies (January 1965). It was also included on the soundtrack to the 1979 feature film More American Graffiti.

Time of the Season (as made famous by The Zombies)

“Time of the Season” is a song by the British rock band The Zombies, featured on their 1968 album Odessey and Oracle. It was written by keyboard player Rod Argent and recorded at Abbey Road Studios in August 1967.

Several other songs from Odessey and Oracle were released as singles prior to “Time of the Season”. Columbia Records supported the album and its singles at the urging of new A&R representative Al Kooper. One of the singles issued on Columbia’s Date label was the non-commercial-sounding “Butcher’s Tale”, which Columbia thought might catch on as an anti-war statement, at the time a popular trend. “Time of the Season” was only released at Kooper’s urging, initially coupled with its original UK B-side, “I’ll Call You Mine”, without success. After previous singles flopped, Date rereleased “Time Of The Season” backed with another UK flop single, “Friends Of Mine”, and it made its breakthrough in early 1969, over a year after the band split up. It reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March,[1] topped the Cashbox chart,[2] and reached number 1 in Canada. It did not chart in the band’s native Britain, although in mid-1969 it peaked at number 2 on the South African hit parade.

The song’s characteristics include the voice of lead singer Colin Blunstone, the bass riff (which is similar to Ben E. King’s hit “Stand By Me”), and Rod Argent’s fast-paced psychedelic improvisation. The lyrics are an archetypical depiction of the emotions surrounding the Summer of Love. It is famous for such call-and-response verses as “What’s your name? (What’s your name?) / Who’s your daddy? (Who’s your daddy?) / He rich? (Is he rich like me?)” approximately 50 seconds into the track. Both stereo and monaural original releases contain vocal responses.

In 1998, Big Beat Records released a CD reissue of Odessey and Oracle containing both the original stereo and mono versions of “Time of The Season”. It also featured a newly remixed alternate version containing instrumental backing underneath the vocals during the entire chorus. These instrumental backings had been mixed out on the original 1968 stereo and mono versions to create a cappella vocal sections.

Music critic Antonio Mendez called it one of the sublime songs on Odessey and Oracle.[3]

Milwaukee’s Third Coast Daily.com called the song “something of a counterculture anthem”.[4]

In 2012, NME named the track the 35th-best song of the 1960s.[5]

“Time of The Season” is frequently used in pop culture to represent the late 1960s. In that sense, it is featured in the films 1969, Awakenings, A Walk on the Moon and Riding the Bullet, all of which depict 1969. The song was played during the 2013 supernatural horror movie The Conjuring, which took place in 1971.

It has been used as incidental or scene-setting music during many episodes of many television programs. The song is featured in the Friends episode, “The One With the Flashback.”

“Time of the Season” has been featured in several TV commercials, such as a 1999 Tampax ad set at the Woodstock Festival, a 2005 Fidelity Investments commercial, and a 2006 ad for Sprite. It was also used in the advertising campaigns of Nissan Tiida in Japan (2004), Greece (2007), Russia (2008) and Toyota RAV4 (2013) in Russia.

During the 2006 playoffs, the song was played in Shea Stadium as the home-team New York Mets took the field.