"A Rose for Emily"
The Zombies are back in England after their latest triumphant U.S. tour, but the historic 1960s British Invasion band left enough excitement in their wake to justify the release next week of a radio single.
Longtime fans of the band will recognized the release--"A Rose for Emily"—as a choice track from the legendary 1968 Odessey and Oracle album, which spawned the Zombies' immortal hit "Time of the Season" but was released after the band broke up. The album has long since been acknowledged by the likes of Dave Grohl and Rolling Stone as one of rock's all-time great discs, but was never played live until 2008.
But the band's recent tour presented Odessey and Oracle in its entirety, and was performed by vocalist Colin Blunstone and keyboardist/vocalist Rod Argent along with their fellow surviving originals (bassist Chris White and drummer Hugh Grundy) and the current lineup of Blunstone, Argent, guitarist Tom Toomey (original guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004), bassist Jim Rodford (formerly of Argent's post-original Zombies band Argent and the Kinks), son Steve Rodford on drums and Brian Wilson collaborator Darian Sahanaja on keyboards and harmony vocals.
"A Rose for Emily" was the second track on Odessey and Oracle, which was recently reissued by Varese Sarabande in a 50th anniversary edition featuring seven bonus tracks (including an alternate "A Rose for Emily" take). Significantly, it was used as the closing theme for the popular seven-episode investigative journalism podcast S-Town, which was released in March.
"It's so huge that 16 million people downloaded it the first week," notes Zombies co-manager Cindy da Silva. "We got over a thousand times more downloads of the song than usual. It brought new life to a relatively obscure song, that was kind of hidden. But when we did Conan two weeks ago, he specifically requested that they play it as the second song [after Odessey and Oracle's big hit 'Time of the Season'] because of its relevance from the podcast. So people are getting introduced to the Zombies as never before through the podcast."
Da Silva adds that many publications have jumped on S-Town's usage of the melancholic "A Rose for Emily," which is titled after William Faulkner's short story. A special rose-colored vinyl pressing of the song was made available for last month's Record Store Day, with all 2,000 copies selling out.
"Now we're taking it to radio," says da Silva, who's sending it out digitally for radio adds next week. The Zombies' Talent Consultants International management team has enlisted top indie record promotion company M:M Music to push the song at radio heavier.
"The cool thing is that it's a 50-year-old recording that still sounds young, hip and fresh," says da Silva. "I've even been asked if it's a new record! Nobody's treating it like a 50-year-old song."
Meanwhile, the Zombies are back in the U.K., with upcoming dates including Spain's Primavera Sound festival, and in September, the London Palladium.