Blunstone on TopPop, in 1973
|Colin Edward Michael Blunstone|
24 June 1945|
Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
|Singer, songwriter, musician|
Colin Edward Michael Blunstone (born 24 June 1945) is an English singer, songwriter and musician. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Blunstone came to prominence in the mid 1960s as the lead singer of the English rock band The Zombies, which released four singles that entered the Top 75 charts in the United States during the 1960s, including "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", "She's Coming Home", and "Time of the Season". Blunstone began his solo career in 1969, releasing three singles under a pseudonym of Neil MacArthur. Since then, he has released ten studio albums and one live album under his real name. His solo hits include "She's Not There", "Say You Don't Mind", "I Don't Believe in Miracles", "How Could We Dare to Be Wrong", "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", and "The Tracks of My Tears".
Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, and Hugh Grundy first played together at a jam on Easter 1961 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. Rod Argent wanted to form a band and initially asked his cousin Jim Rodford to join as a bass guitarist. Rodford was playing in local band called the Bluetones at the time, so declined. Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined in early 1961, while all five members were still at school. After they won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Rod Argent's song "She's Not There" got them a recording contract with Decca.
Blunstone's voice was considered one of the main factors in making the Zombies' single, "She's Not There", a big hit worldwide. In 1968, the band broke up over management issues, shortly after completing the baroque pop classic album Odessey and Oracle. Blunstone briefly worked as a clerk in the insurance business before resuming his musical career. In 1969, he signed with Deram and released three singles under the pseudonym of Neil MacArthur, including a re-make of "She's Not There", which charted in the UK.
Blunstone gained success as a solo artist in 1972 with "Say You Don't Mind" (which peaked at number 15 in the UK chart and was written by future Paul McCartney and Wings member Denny Laine), and "I Don't Believe in Miracles" (which peaked at number 31 in the UK chart and written by Argent member Russ Ballard), both with string arrangements by Christopher Gunning. Additional minor hits followed with "How Could We Dare to Be Wrong" in early 1973 (which peaked at number 45 in the UK chart) and "The Tracks of My Tears" in 1982 (which peaked at number 60 in the UK chart).
One Year (1971), produced by Chris White was Blunstone's debut solo album, and included the song "Caroline Goodbye" about his break-up with the model and actress Caroline Munro. This was followed by Ennismore and Journey. He then signed a recording contract with Elton John's record label named The Rocket Record Company and released three studio albums, Planes (1976), Never Even Thought (1978), and Late Nights in Soho (1979), which was only released in Europe.
Blunstone also contributed to Dave Stewart's hit cover version of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" (1980). He went on to appear on several albums by the Alan Parsons Project including Eye in the Sky, where he sings the hit single "Old and Wise", and Ammonia Avenue ("Dancing on a Highwire"). In 1984, he joined with other Parsons musicians, most notably David Paton of PILOT/Parsons to form Keats.
His ninth solo album The Ghost of You And Me was released in the UK, Benelux, and Scandinavia on 9 March 2009. Blunstone completed a twelve date UK tour, his first in several years. He continued to tour with Rod Argent as the Zombies, and the original surviving members of the band played four reunion concerts performing Odessey and Oracle, in April 2009.
In 2010, Sony released Colin Blunstone Original Album Classics, a 3-disc boxed set featuring digitally re-mastered versions of Blunstone's solo albums One Year, Journey and Ennismore. The collection also includes two bonus tracks that were originally released as non-LP b-sides in UK.
Blunstone continues to be active, occasionally in tours with 1960s bands such as Manfred Mann, often collaborating with Rod Argent. Some of his more recent albums are As Far As I Can See, the mid-1990s Echo Bridge and Out of the Shadows (with Rod Argent).
In 2004, Blunstone and Rod Argent recorded As Far as I Can See..., a new album in the style of the Zombies. A later album and DVD Colin Blunstone & Rod Argent of the Zombies Live at the Bloomsbury Theatre were well received, as was their 2007 US tour. One critic wrote, "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".
Blunstone continued to tour with Argent 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 article for PopMatters, journalist J.C. Maçek III quoted Argent 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."
Blunstone has appeared many times on radio and television shows in the UK and on soundtracks. He and his band performed several sessions for John Peel and Johnnie Walker, and on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1971, where he performed live with a string quartet.
Blunstone appeared in The Savages (2001) and Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1997) both as a singer. Other TV appearances include The Dan and Dusty Show (2004) as the Zombies, Shindig! Presents British Invasion Vol. 2 (1992) also as the Zombies, and Pop Quiz (1982). His sole film part was in Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), directed by Otto Preminger (as the Zombies) and starring Laurence Olivier.
Blunstone is married to Suzy Blunstone, and the couple have a daughter.
As Neil MacArthur