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She's Not There

"She's Not There"
Single by The Zombies
from the album Begin Here
B-side "You Make Me Feel Good" (White)
Released 24 July 1964
Format 7"
Recorded June 12 1964, Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London
Length 2:25
Label Decca F11940 (UK)
Parrot 45PAR 9695 (US)
Writer(s) Rod Argent
The Zombies singles chronology
"She's Not There"
"Leave Me Be"

"She's Not There" is the debut Rod Argent. It reached No.12 in the UK Singles Chart in September 1964,[1] and reached No.1 on the Cashbox chart (No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100) in the United States at the beginning of December 1964. In Canada, it reached number two.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked "She's Not There" number 297 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2]


  • Song profile 1
  • Album releases 2
    • Cover versions 2.1
    • Santana cover 2.2
    • Videogame Version 2.3
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Song profile

Rod Argent built the lyrics of "She's Not There" from a John Lee Hooker song, whose title - "No One Told Me" - became the opening phrase of "She's Not There". Following an April 29 1964 performance by the Zombies at St Albans Market Hall, Argent played the one verse he had written of the song for Ken Jones who was set to produce the band's first recording session. Jones encouraged Argent to write a second verse for the song, intending for the band to record it. Argent recalls: "I wrote the song for Colin's range" -- referring to Zombies' vocalist Colin Blunstone -- "I could hear him singing it in my mind". The song's genres and musical styles are described by authors and music journalists as jazz rock,[3] beat[4] and pop rock.[5]

"She's Not There" was the second of four songs recorded by the Zombies at a June 12 1964 recording session at Decca's West Hampstead Studio No. 2. The song's backing track necessitated seven takes.[6] One of the song's most distinctive features is Argent's electric piano sound; the instrument used was a Hohner Pianet. The backing vocals are in a folk-influenced close-harmony style.

The narrator has unsatisfactory dealings with an untrustworthy female. He reproaches unspecified associates for failing to warn him of her unsavoury character. The real inspiration behind the song, however, was Argent's first love Patricia who called off their wedding weeks before and broke his heart.

This minor key, jazz-tinged single was first aired in the United States during the first week in August 1964, on New York rock radio station WINS by Stan Z. Burns, who debuted the song on his daily noontime "Hot Spot" segment, during which new songs were played. The tune began to catch on in early autumn and eventually reached No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1964.[7]

Album releases

The song was later released both on The Zombies' UK album Begin Here (Dec 1964) and US album The Zombies (Jan 1965). It was also included on the soundtrack to the 1979 feature film, More American Graffiti.

Cover versions

  • Noël Deschamps (fr) recorded the French rendering "Te Voilà" which was a minor hit in France peaking at #50 in early 1965: this version was remade in 1969 by Pussy Cat (fr).
  • A French version makes a prominent, yet uncredited, appearance in "Sting in the Tail", an October 1965 episode of ITC's Danger Man (known as "Secret Agent" in the US), starring Patrick McGoohan.
  • In 1966 Les Bel Canto, a Québec yé-yé band, has released a French cover "Les Filles d'Ève".
  • In 1966 Polish band Pesymiści recorded Polish-language rendering "Mówiłem jej, że ją kocham".
  • British psychedelic rock band The Doves recorded a manic version in February 1968 intended for release on EMI in the Summer, though the record label eventually declined to release the single. The recording did not see the light of day until released by Riviera Records in 2011.
  • The Litter recorded it on their 1968 album, $100 Fine
  • The Vanilla Fudge included a version on their debut album in 1967.
  • A solo version by Colin Blunstone under the name "Neil MacArthur" was released on the Deram label in 1969, reaching number 34 in the UK singles chart.
  • Věra Špinarová (cs) recorded the Czech-language rendition "Den A Noc" for her 1972 album Andromeda.
  • In 1975 an all-girl band, Band of Angels released a gender-reversed version, "He's Not There" on Mums Records, produced by Neil Merryweather.[8]
  • The Finnish rendering "Yksin Jään" was recorded by Jarmo Seppälä (fi) for his 1978 album 2 Seppälää.
  • A version by the UK Subs was released in 1979, and reached number 36 in the UK Singles Chart.[9]
  • Tim Curry covered this song in 1981 on his album Simplicity.
  • Panic covered the song in 1982 on PRT label 259.
  • Moon Martin covered the song on his 1985 album Mixed Emotions.
  • Crowded House recorded a version of this song in 1990, which was featured in the film "The Crossing" (1990).
  • Finnish band Russian Love covered the song on their third album, Hover Jack, in 1992.
  • The Cruel Sea recorded it for the 1996 film Boys.
  • Former Top Of The Pops presenter Mark Franklin covered this song in dance form in 1997. It features on the double CD compilation NRGx2 which was a big seller in the north of England.
  • The Magnets covered the song on their 2001 debut album Giving It All That.
  • Chris Sligh covered the song on the 2007 season of American Idol.
  • Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush covered it instrumentally on the 2004 Real Live album.
  • Jennifer Finney Boylan borrowed the song's title for her memoir She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders, in which she discusses the song's impact on her.
  • The song is featured in the musical Return to the Forbidden Planet.
  • The Road covered the song WKBW 30 Klassics 30 album on Post Records.
  • "About Her", Malcolm McLaren's mash-up of "She's Not There", and Bessie Smith singing W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues", is prominently featured in the soundtrack of the Quentin Tarantino film, Kill Bill.
  • Television pop band Bel's Boys recorded a cover version of the song.
  • The TV series Glee covered the song in the February 6, 2011 episode The Sue Sylvester Shuffle.
  • Neko Case and Nick Cave recorded a duet version for the fourth season premiere of the HBO series True Blood.
  • Delta Spirit recorded a cover, available for download from their website.
  • In 2012, The Black Angels recorded their own cover version.
  • In 2012, The Stripminers released a cover of the song on their album Frail Hope Ranch.
  • In 2012, Barb Jungr covered the song on her album From Stockport to Memphis
  • In 2013, LOOM covered the song as a b-side to their single "I get a taste".

Santana cover

The song was a hit again for Santana, which also appeared on their 1977 album Moonflower. Their version of "She's Not There" peaked at No.11 in the UK[10] and No.21 in Canada.

Videogame Version

In 2009, the music video game series Rock Band sought to license the song as downloadable content. For gameplay reasons, this requires the full multitrack tape. Surprisingly, the original multitrack tape has remained intact since 1964, and a unique remastering was prepared with contemporary tastes, including greatly increased bass guitar volume and dynamic compression. This lends the song the distinction of being the oldest original recording available in the Rock Band catalog.


  1. ^ "UK Top 40 Hit Database". Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  2. ^ "'"297 The Zombies, 'She's Not There. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Bob Mason (2004). Magic Circles: Another Side of the Beatles. Duffy & Snellgrove. p. 100.  
  4. ^ Peter Buckley (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock. Rough Guides. p. 1222.  
  5. ^ Martin Charles Strong; Brendon Griffin (2008). Lights, camera, sound tracks. Canongate. p. 243.  
  6. ^ Johansen, Claes (2001). The Zombies: hung up on a dream. London: SAF Publishing. pp. 74–75, 80–81.  
  7. ^ "The Zombies". Billboard Music Charts. Archived from the original on 2007-12-25. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  8. ^ "Yesterday and Today Records". Retrieved 20 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, 7th Edition
  10. ^ "The Official Charts Company - She's Not There". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013. 

External links

  • The Zombies discography
  • Rod Argent's website
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