“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, topped the Cashbox chart, 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.
Milwaukee’s Third Coast Daily.com called the song “something of a counterculture anthem”.
In 2012, NME named the track the 35th-best song of the 1960s.
“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.