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Penn's Pick: The Zombies Time of the Season

Artist: The Zombies
Song/Album: Time of the Season / Odessey and Oracle
Writer: Rod Argent
Year Released: 1968
Genre/Sub Genre: Rock

Why it’s a “Penn’s Pick”:

Formed in England in 1962 by vocalist Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent, the Zombies were one of the more unique Rock bands of the time, with their Rock/Pop/Jazz/Blues and Progressive leanings setting them apart from their contemporaries such as the Beatles, the Stones and the Animals.

Their first major hit came in 1964 with She’s Not There, but it was their second hit which put them over the top and defined the sound of a generation – a year after they broke up!

Time Of The Season was released in 1968 and possesses a plethora of “hit qualities” that enabled it to stand the test of time for over 40 years including multiple hooks, an ultra-infectious vibe, the perfect blend of K.I.S.S. & complexity, repetition and diversity and more.

This Penn’s Pick clip features the original music video from 1968.

Some Key Compositional Facts:

  • The signature B – D – E – E bass hook defines the intro, both verses and both interludes, where are in effect just a reversion back to the intro theme. Not only does it help to establish the song’s vibe, but its simplistic, repetitive nature gets completely engrained within the listener’s head and fosters memorability.
  • Another key infectious and memorable hook within the song that provides it with a very unique nature in relation to all of the other songs of the time (and since) is the combination of the reverb drenched clap and vocal “ahhhhh.” This also occurs during the intro, both verses and both interludes.
  • As you know, the majority of Pop & Rock songs have their chorus as being one of the longest sections within the song and comprising the vast majority of the song’s overall composition (usually in the 40% – 50% range). However, Time Of The Season‘s chorus clocks in at a miniscule 0:08 and encompasses just 11% of the song’s total composition! What it lacks in time it more than makes up for with its infectious nature, consisting of just 1 jubilant line – “it’s the time – of the sea-ea-son for lov-ing.” It’s this line that came to define the “entire flower” power generation.
  • The vast majority of time within Time Of The Season was allocated to Rod Argent’s signature organ improv. It comprises 42% of the song’s total composition, which is followed far behind by the verse at just 24%.
  • Notice the diversity between the first and second verse. The first verse features a solo vocal by Blunstone, but the second verse incorporates that ultra-infectious call and response which takes the engagement factor of the song to the next level.
  • Notice that with the exception of the verse sections and instrumental breaks that each section of the song clocks in at just 0:08. This frequent turnover of sections does a great job of keeping the listener engaged throughout the song.
  • Notice that most of the vocal lines within the song are “segmented” into short phrases consisting of 3 to 5 lyrics, making it exceptionally easy for the vocal melody to connect and resonate within the listener’s head.
  • The nature of the drums, bass line, claps, “ahhhs” and Blunstone’s vocal work in perfect unison with one another in establishing the laid back, “cool” vibe of the song.
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