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Paul Atkinson
Background information
Birth namePaul Ashley Warren Atkinson
Born19 March 1946
Cuffley, Hertfordshire, England
Died1 April 2004(2004-04-01) (aged 58)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, A&R executive
Years active1958–2004

Paul Ashley Warren Atkinson (19 March 1946 – 1 April 2004) was a British guitarist and record company executive, best known as a founding member of the pop/rock band The Zombies. Atkinson was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. [1]

Early life and education

Paul Atkinson was born in Cuffley, Hertfordshire on 19 March 1946, son of Stanley Atkinson, a stockbroker's accountant who worked in the City of London, and Clyde, a teacher of English, languages, and secretarial skills courses at a technical college. When he was nine, the family moved to St Albans. He was educated at St Albans School, and contemplated going into the Diplomatic Service like several members of his family, or studying anthropology. Having passed the requisite A-levels, he enrolled at Newcastle University, but having met with musical success did not continue his studies. [2] [3]

The Zombies

At St Albans, Atkinson met Rod Argent and Hugh Grundy, and the three formed a band initially called the Mustangs, later changed to The Zombies. Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined the new band in mid 1958, but Arnold soon left and was replaced by Chris White. After the group won a local contest, they recorded a demo as their prize. Argent's song " She's Not There" got them a deal with Decca Records [4] and was a hit in the UK and US.

An album, Begin Here (renamed to The Zombies when released in the US) would follow. They would appear on American television for the first time on January 12 1965, when they appeared on the first episode of Hullabaloo. [5]

The Zombies would have another chart-topper in 1964 with Tell Her No. The group continued to record successfully through the 1960s, but disbanded in December 1967, reportedly over management disagreements. [6] A second album was released in 1968 titled Odessey and Oracle, which featured the song Time of the Season. Time of the Season is one of the Zombies most successful singles, along with She’s Not There.

Later works

Following the disbandment of the Zombies in early 1968, Atkinson enjoyed a brief stint as a computer programmer before returning to the music industry. He began by managing a number of unsuccessful bands before joining Dick James Music in 1969. While working as a talent scout, Atkinson came across aspiring singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading in the London production of Hair. Despite his recommendation, James refused to sign her, prompting Atkinson to leave the company and, along with Grundy, join CBS Records UK as an A&R man in 1972. [7] There he succeeded in signing the then-unknown Swedish group ABBA for only £1,000 in advance. [7] [8] Atkinson also introduced Philadelphia International Records in the UK, managing the promotions for Bruce Springsteen among other American acts. [7] [9] He discovered and signed such acts as Elton John, ABBA, Bruce Hornsby, Mr. Mister, Michael Penn and Grayson Hugh, who Atkinson brought to MCA Records from RCA Records in 1991.[ citation needed]

In January 2004 Atkinson received the President's Merit Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences at a benefit concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. The Zombies reunited for the event.[ citation needed]


Atkinson died at the age of 58 in a Santa Monica hospital due to liver and kidney disease on 1 April 2004. [10] He had been suffering from cancer for some time, and had two liver transplants.[ citation needed]

Atkinson was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. [11] [1]


The Zombies

Studio albums



Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
(A-side only)


" She's Not There"
b/w "You Make Me Feel Good"
1964 12 11 2 2 1 Begin Here / The Zombies
" Leave Me Be"
b/w "Woman"
81 Non album single
" Tell Her No"
UK & AUS b/w "What More Can I Do?"
US & CAN b/w " Leave Me Be"
42 60 6 6 6 The Zombies
" She's Coming Home"
b/w "I Must Move"
1965 21 58 48 Non album singles
" I Want You Back Again"
b/w "Remember When I Loved Her"
95 92 / 122
" Whenever You're Ready"
b/w " I Love You"
110 114
" Just Out of Reach"
b/w "Remember You"
113 110
"Is This the Dream?"
b/w "Don't Go Away"
b/w "How We Were Before"
"Gotta Get a Hold of Myself"
b/w "The Way I Feel Inside"
" Goin' Out of My Head"
b/w "She Does Everything for Me"
"Friends of Mine"
b/w "Beechwood Park"
Odessey and Oracle
" Care of Cell 44"
b/w "Maybe After He's Gone"
" Time of the Season"
b/w "I'll Call You Mine"
b/w "Friends of Mine" (1969 US re-release)
1968 43 1 14 3 1
" I Love You"
b/w "The Way I Feel Inside"
Non album single
" Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)"
b/w "This Will Be Our Year"
Odessey and Oracle
"Imagine the Swan"
b/w "Conversation Off Floral Street"
1969 59 109 77 Non album singles
"If It Don't Work Out"
b/w "Don't Cry For Me"
"—" denotes singles that did not chart or were not released in that region.


  1. ^ a b "The Zombies". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ Where Have All The Rock Stars Gone? vol. 1, Marti Smiley Childs, Jeff March, EditPros, 2011, p. 272
  3. ^ The Zombies: Hung up on a Dream- A Biography 1962-1967, Claes Johansen, SAF Publishing Ltd, The Cromwell Press, 2001, p. 16
  4. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Zombies". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  5. ^ Binder, Steve (12 January 1965), Episode #1.1, Hullabaloo, retrieved 12 February 2023
  6. ^ Henson, Jopaquin (15 September 2012). "May the Zombies never rest in peace". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Russo, Greg (1999). Time of the Season: The Zombies Collector's Guide. Floral Park, NY: Crossfire Publications. p. 70. ISBN  978-0-9648157-5-9.
  8. ^ "Hold Your Head Up". Record Collector. 17 December 2010. Archived from the original on 18 December 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  9. ^ Gallo, Phil (4 April 2004). "Paul Atkinson". Variety. Archived from the original on 6 May 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2023.
  10. ^ "Paul Atkinson, 58; Zombies Guitarist Became Industry Exec". Los Angeles Times. 5 April 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  11. ^ "RARHoF 2019". 12 February 2023.
  12. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 618. ISBN  1-904994-10-5.
  13. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Forum - Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 3 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  14. ^ "Discografie The Zombies". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  15. ^ "The Zombies Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  16. ^ Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. p. 661.
  17. ^ "British certifications – Zombies". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 10 July 2022. Type Zombies in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  18. ^ "Gold & Platinum". Recording Industry Association of America.