The Great Songs: The Zombies – Care of Cell 44

by Eric Melin on April 21, 2010

in Columns,The Great Songs

In June 1967, just after The Beatles recorded “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and Pink Floyd recorded “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” at the same studio, The Zombies entered Abbey Road to record nine songs that would appear on “Odessey and Oracle” (and no, that’s not my misspelling, but one by the album cover’s designer which The Zombies tried to cover up at the time by saying it was deliberate). By January 1968 when the stereo mixes were completed, the band had split up.odessey and oracle cover

The lush vocal harmonies and bouncy bass line immediately caught me the first time I heard “Care of Cell 44,” which opens the album. It’s one of those magnificently perfect pop concoctions, with just the right mix of tunefulness and melancholy. Written from the point of view of someone writing a letter to their lover in jail, the lyrics seemed a little impenetrable at first, but it’s all about that explosion of hopefulness in the chorus: “Feels so good, you’re coming home soon!” I think everyone can relate to that.

Despite the complete indifference that met this song when it was released as an advance single for “Odessey and Oracle” in 1967, the album itself has finally found its recognition as a classic, landing at number 80 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003.

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The Great Songs: Pavement – Summer Babe

Eric is the Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com and writes the Screen Stealers column for The Pitch. He’s President of the KCFCC, and drummer for The Dead Girls and Ultimate Fakebook. He is also Air Guitar World Champion Mean Melin. Eric goes to 11. Follow him at:

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Xavier April 21, 2010 at 5:31 am

Thanks for that one I always love finding new songs and artists I haven’t really heard before.

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2 Xavier April 21, 2010 at 5:31 am

Thanks for that one I always love finding new songs and artists I haven’t really heard before.

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3 Reed April 21, 2010 at 6:04 am

For my money (wait a sec, I didn’t pay anything to get in here!), you could pick a Zombies song every week. This is a great one!

Three others that I’ve been totally hooked on for like a year now is “Call Me When You’re Ready,” “This Will Be Our Year,” and “I Want You Back Again.”

Great pick, Eric.

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4 Reed April 21, 2010 at 6:04 am

For my money (wait a sec, I didn’t pay anything to get in here!), you could pick a Zombies song every week. This is a great one!

Three others that I’ve been totally hooked on for like a year now is “Call Me When You’re Ready,” “This Will Be Our Year,” and “I Want You Back Again.”

Great pick, Eric.

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5 C.Tolle April 21, 2010 at 6:09 am

I really like Colin Blunstone solo albums (especially Ennismore, which was produced by fellow Zombie Rod Argent)

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6 C.Tolle April 21, 2010 at 6:09 am

I really like Colin Blunstone solo albums (especially Ennismore, which was produced by fellow Zombie Rod Argent)

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7 Rich Yarges April 21, 2010 at 6:36 am

Very Nice. I am partial to “Brief Candles” myself but I think you could probably use any song on this album for this post.

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8 Rich Yarges April 21, 2010 at 6:36 am

Very Nice. I am partial to “Brief Candles” myself but I think you could probably use any song on this album for this post.

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9 Eric Melin April 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I really could have used any of them. I recommend buying the box set Zombie Heaven immediately. Or Blunstone’s solo stuff–maybe one of those tunes will make an appearance sometime in this series…

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10 Eric Melin April 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm

I really could have used any of them. I recommend buying the box set Zombie Heaven immediately. Or Blunstone’s solo stuff–maybe one of those tunes will make an appearance sometime in this series…

Reply

11 sb April 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Thanks, Eric!
Except for Beechwood Park, Butcher’s Tale, and Changes (too “psychedelic / hippie for me), I think this is a perfect record
Chris White was one hell of a bass player, and his bass playing made everything Argent did spring to life, but his writing and singing contributions really smeared a bad smell on parts of an otherwise stunning record for me. Like, uhhh, Paul McCartney did with The Beatles.
I love the chorus for “Maybe After He’s Gone,” so he farted out *something* passable.
Eric, please write an article about the reasoning for the attempt to make the big “breakthrough” single for the U.S. be “Butcher’s Tale.” Shouldn’t someone have been fired?

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12 sb April 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Thanks, Eric!
Except for Beechwood Park, Butcher’s Tale, and Changes (too “psychedelic / hippie for me), I think this is a perfect record
Chris White was one hell of a bass player, and his bass playing made everything Argent did spring to life, but his writing and singing contributions really smeared a bad smell on parts of an otherwise stunning record for me. Like, uhhh, Paul McCartney did with The Beatles.
I love the chorus for “Maybe After He’s Gone,” so he farted out *something* passable.
Eric, please write an article about the reasoning for the attempt to make the big “breakthrough” single for the U.S. be “Butcher’s Tale.” Shouldn’t someone have been fired?

Reply

13 Eric Melin April 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

Yeah, what is up with that? “Butcher’s Tale” is an … ahem … interesting song. I like “Beechwood Park” quite a bit, though. Saying McCartney smeared all the Beatles songs with a bad smell is pretty hardcore, though, don’tcha think? I mean, he did write some amzing stuff…

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14 Eric Melin April 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

Yeah, what is up with that? “Butcher’s Tale” is an … ahem … interesting song. I like “Beechwood Park” quite a bit, though. Saying McCartney smeared all the Beatles songs with a bad smell is pretty hardcore, though, don’tcha think? I mean, he did write some amzing stuff…

Reply

15 jack duhamel January 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

nice

- Jack Duhamel

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