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Chris White

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Chris White was the bassist and, more important, one of the two primary songwriters for the Zombies. If people know any of the individual Zombies members, they tend to be familiar with just Rod Argent, who played electric keyboards and wrote their three big hits, and lead singer Colin Blunstone. White, however, wrote about as many of the Zombies' songs as Argent did. Remarkably, his songwriting style was quite similar to that of Argent's: heavy on the enchanting minor melodies and wispy harmonies. It was White's misfortune, however, never to have an A-side that became a hit. Still, his writing was nearly on the same level as Argent's, and some of the best Zombies songs were White's work. These compositions would include "Leave Me Be," "I Must Move," "Remember You," and, on Odessey & Oracle, "Maybe After He's Gone," "Changes," and the sublime "Beechwood Park." Odessey and Oracle also contained White's sole lead vocal with the band, "Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)," as it was felt that his thin, trembling voice suited the song's gothic chronicle of World War I horror. In fact, it was chosen as the first U.S. single from the LP, although it flopped. When the Zombies broke up near the end of the 1960s, there was a confusing period in which Argent and White continued to record and write together with different musicians. Some of these tracks, such as "Imagine the Swan," "Smokey Day," and "Girl Help Me," were released, either at the time or on compilation reissues, under the Zombies name. To make matters more confusing, the songs were credited to Argent-White, although actually they continued to write separately, using a joint byline for contractual purposes. In fact the musicians on some of these tracks were an early version of Argent, also including Jim Rodford on bass, Russ Ballard on guitar, and Bob Henrit on drums. With Argent, White would take the unusual role of continuing to collaborate with Rod Argent as songwriter and producer, but not actually playing or performing with the band, a loss perhaps, as he had demonstrated his skills as a bass player and harmonizing vocalist with the Zombies. ~ Richie Unterberger

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