“Hold Your Head Up” – The Story Behind The Song
“Hold Your Head Up” happened because The Zombies thought they weren’t writing hits and the band was over. I kid you not.
The UK band, The Zombies made their last album, Odessey and Oracle, (Odessy was accidentally misspelled by their cover designer) in 1967. In that time frame, bands mostly made their money playing live gigs. The band had seen numbers dropping in the UK and decided they’d go back to their everyday lives after this one last hurrah. The first two singles failed to chart and the band went their separate ways, some hoping to find a different group to better their shot at having a stronger income. There was no fighting or animosity. The Zombies just thought they weren’t a success.
Odessey and Oracle wasn’t released in the U.S. until 1968. In 1969, “Time of the Season” took hold. When the band found out about the plays they were getting in the U.S., they were stunned, but they had also moved on. They did reunite to play the song a couple of times, but there was no Zombies tour until 2017. In 2019, The Zombies were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not bad for a band that felt they should split because they had gone as far as they thought they would go (Grunge.com). Fast froward to 1972…
“Hold Your Head Up” – 1972
“Hold Your Head Up” was written by Chris White (previous bassist for The Zombies). The band is named after their keyboardist, Rod Argent (previous keyboardist of The Zombies). Chris White wasn’t a member of the band, but rather a producer and co-songwriter with Rod Argent.
The song wasn’t meant to be a single, but CBS Records decided to make it one. Argent played the song on the British TV show Top Of The Pops, and got huge exposure. Russ Ballard (guitarist) sang lead on the track: “People are getting a shock when they realize that not all of our numbers are like ‘Hold Your Head Up.’ We’re attracting a lot of people who’ve seen us on Top Of The Pops – people who would normally dismiss us as being just another progressive band.” (Creem magazine 1972)
This was Argent’s only song that charted in the U.S. It peaked at #5 (in the U.S. and in the U.K.).
“Hold Your Head Up” has been covered countless times. Some of the most notable: Steppenwolf covered the song in 1982, Uriah Heap in 1989, and the band, Phish has played part of the song more than 500 times in their live shows.
Find out more stories behind the songs: