It's the Time of the Season again for The Zombies as part of Chelsea Football Club's kit launch
- Credit: Supplied by Hush PR
The domestic football season may be over, but it's definitely the 'Time of The Season' for Hertfordshire band The Zombies.
A track by the legendary 1960s group was used as the soundbed for the launch of the new Chelsea Football Club 2021-2022 kit.
The Champions League finalists' online promotional video features star players Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder, and the music perfectly suits the 60s psychedelia vibe of the launch.
Zombies singer Colin Blunstone, a lifelong Blues fan, is pictured on the Chelsea FC website proudly holding and wearing the 1960s-inspired new home strip.
Originally from Hatfield, Blunstone, 75, formed The Zombies in St Albans with keyboardist Rod Argent in the early 60s, with the original line-up meeting for the first time at The Blacksmiths Arms.
The group found international fame with debut single She's Not There, but the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers split up before the end of the Swinging Sixties. They have since reformed.
Time of the Season was an American number one hit on the Cash Box Top 100 singles chart in March 1969 – and is finding a new audience 52 years later.
Taken from the seminal Odessey and Oracle album, the single failed to chart in the UK when released, despite The Zombies having a huge hit with 1964 single She's Not There.
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Chelsea FC are not the first to use the iconic track.
Ridley Scott's 2017 crime thriller All The Money in the World, which stars the Oscar-nominated Christopher Plummer as billionaire J. Paul Getty, also features the song.
Parts of that movie were filmed on location in Blunstone's hometown, with Jacobean mansion Hatfield House doubling for Getty's UK home.
"It is a very interesting song because it's been in so many films," said Blunstone when talking to the official Chelsea website.
"I think that if anyone's trying to evoke a feeling of the ‘60s, that is one of the songs that is used the most."
The singer said it was great for the band, as it introduces their music to a "whole new audience who wouldn't know about that song otherwise".
He added: "It was number one in America but never number one here, but most people know it because of the films."
The devoted Blues supporter is even related to a former Chelsea title winner, 1950s and 60s winger Frank Blunstone.
"I first came to Chelsea with my father and that was the only time I’ve met Frank Blunstone," reveals Colin on the Chelsea website.
"My father was Frank’s father's cousin, and I've never quite worked out what that makes me."
The Zombies were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019, along with the likes of The Cure, Def Leppard and Roxy Music.
At the induction event in Brooklyn they performed Time of the Season, a song the band will no doubt play at the Under the Bridge venue at Stamford Bridge on Friday, March 4, 2022.
Before then, The Zombies are due to stream a concert from the famous Abbey Road Studios in London, where they first recorded Time of the Season in the 1960s.
The Zombies – Live from Studio Two will be the first and only 'World Tour in One Night' livestream on September 18.
The British psychedelic pop pioneers will perform a career-spanning concert in Abbey Road’s Studio Two, returning five decades later to the hallowed space where they recorded their seminal album Odessey and Oracle in 1967.
Fittingly, the band's concert coincides with the start of Abbey Road’s 90th anniversary celebrations.
The show will be broadcast by Veeps.com, the streaming platform founded by Good Charlotte’s Joel and Benji Madden in 2017. Good Charlotte headlined Slam Dunk Festival South in Hatfield Park in 2018.
The Zombies' livestreaming event on Saturday, September 18 will start at 12pm Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), 3pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and 8pm BST.
The concert will be followed by an online Q&A session with founding members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone.
Hosted from “across the pond” by legendary rock journalist David Fricke, the group will also field questions from a virtual audience of surprise celebrity guests.
With all their touring plans postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Zombies jumped at the chance to do a “world tour” in one night.
The global stream is the band's only live performance of 2021.
“We’re really excited for this opportunity to reconnect with our fans,” said lead singer Blunstone, “and especially to reach places around the globe like Australia and South America, where we’ve never had the chance to play live before!”
Band members are also excited to try out some new songs during the concert.
With the forced break from touring, The Zombies' current line-up – singer Blunstone and keyboardist Argent, along with Steve Rodford (drums), Tom Toomey (guitar) and Søren Koch (bass) – have been pouring their creative energies into recording the long-awaited follow-up to their Billboard charting 2015 album Still Got That Hunger.
According to Argent: “Of course, I know these last 15 months have been testing for everybody. What's suddenly feeling terrific for us though, is at last being able to continue the recording of our new album!
"We pretty much just completed the fifth song, and there are already three more currently in the pipeline to be rehearsed and recorded.
"The initial reaction to the completed tracks has been great, and the feeling of excitement is almost like starting again!”
The Zombies first burst onto the scene in 1964 at the forefront of the 'British Invasion' with hit singles like She’s Not There and Tell Her No.
The original members – Blunstone, Argent, bassist Chris White, guitarist Paul Atkinson and drummer Hugh Grundy – first entered Abbey Road, then called EMI Recording Studios, in June 1967 armed with only a £1,000 recording budget from CBS Records, and the ambition to self-produce their second album, Odessey and Oracle.
The band famously walked into Studio Two on the heels of The Beatles, who had just finished Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and benefitted from the Fab Four’s new advances in multi-track recording – and also the mess they left behind!
Recalls Argent: "They left quite a few instruments lying around the Abbey Road Studios, one of which was John Lennon's Mellotron, which ended up all over the album.
"I didn't ask anybody's permission; I just used it because it was there!"
Released in 1968, Odessey and Oracle was initially a commercial disappointment, leading to the band’s break-up.
Ironically, one year later, the final track on the album, the aforementioned Time of the Season, became a chart-topping single in the US.
And over the decades, Odessey and Oracle has been rediscovered as a pop touchstone, regularly making 'Top Albums of All Time' lists in the likes of Rolling Stone and Mojo, and being cited by Paul Weller and Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl.
Following the break-up of the original band, vocalist Blunstone went on to develop an acclaimed solo career, with hits including Say You Don't Mind, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, and Old & Wise with Alan Parsons Project.
Rod Argent, meanwhile, rocked 70s arenas with his eponymous band Argent, best known for hits Hold Your Head Up and God Gave Rock and Roll To You.
But the legend of The Zombies continued to take on a life of its own. By the start of the new millennium, Blunstone and Argent were inspired to resurrect The Zombies.
With relentless touring and critically-acclaimed new releases, the band slowly reclaimed their legacy while developing new generations of fans.
After receiving their fourth nomination in five years, and with a groundswell of support from both the public and their peers, The Zombies joined Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, and Roxy Music as the 2019 Class of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Time of the Season continues to permeate popular culture, and is emblazoned on an exclusive T-shirt debuting at Urban Outfitters this July.
The live concert on Veeps will see the band play some new tracks.
Rod Argent said: "We're going to be including, of course, lots of Zombies classics but also some brand new songs that we're very excited about from our brand new album that we're currently recording.
"We really hope you can join us on September 18."
For tickets for The Zombies - Live from Studio Two visit https://thezombies.veeps.com/
The new Chelsea kit is available to buy now – shop at the official Chelsea online store or in the Stadium Megastore at Stamford Bridge.