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In 1967, the Zombies signed a recording contract with CBS Records for whom they recorded the album Odessey and Oracle (odyssey was accidentally misspelled by Terry Quirk, an art teacher who designed the cover).Because the band's budget could not cover session musicians, they used a Mellotron.According to Argent, this was in fact John Lennon's, and had been left in the studio as the Beatles had just finished recording Sgt. As another concession toward the limited budget, Argent and White (who, due to their songwriting royalties, had earned more than the rest of the members) personally paid for the stereo mixes.
They held their original rehearsals at the Pioneer Club, then situated in Hatfield Road, using equipment lent to them by local band the Bluetones.A song by the Zombies released only as a B-side (to "Whenever You're Ready") in the US and the UK in 1965, "I Love You" subsequently became a sizeable hit for the group People! The Zombies's first UK album, Begin Here (1965) was an equal mix of original songs and rhythm and blues cover versions.While continuing recording in 1965-66 and trying to achieve chart success, they recorded enough material for a follow-up album, but the lack of chart success kept most of those tracks from being issued."I thought this was a name that no one else is going to have. Colin was wary, I'm sure, at the beginning, I know, but I always, always really, really liked it." After winning a beat-group competition sponsored by the London Evening News, they signed a recording contract with Decca and recorded their first hit, "She's Not There".It was released in mid-1964 and peaked at number 12 in the UK, becoming their only UK Top 40 hit.
After the follow-up single to "She's Not There", "Leave Me Be", was unsuccessful in the UK (and was not issued as a single in the US, although it was on the B side of "Tell Her No").