Colin Blunstone

Say You Don’t MindOne Year
Caroline GoodbyeOne Year
Her SongOne Year
I Don’t Believe In MiraclesEnnismore
Beginning/Keep The Curtains Closed TodayThe Ghost Of You And Me
Misty RosesLive At The BBC
Levi Stubbs TearsEcho Bridge
Knowing YouThe Light Inside
Though You Are Far AwayOn The Air Tonight



Colin Blunstone playlist


Contributor: Robert Webb

Denny Laine’s death, in December 2023, reminds us that he was more than a singer and guitarist in two of the biggest bands of the Sixties and Seventies (the Moody Blues and Wings). He also wrote a brilliant hit single – Say You Don’t Mind, recorded by the former Zombies vocalist Colin Blunstone in 1971. This song dates back to 1967, originating as part of Laine’s post-Moodies’ project, the Electric String Band. It went unnoticed back then but resurrected by Blunstone four year later, it’s every bit the perfect chamber pop hit.

Laine’s song was in good hands. Colin Blunstone was one of the voices of the Sixties. If you are not familiar with his solo records, you may well know Odessey And Oracle, the Zombies’ 1968 cult classic. Or She’s Not There, the hit that launched Blunstone’s career. As well as being a Top 20 hit early in 1972, Say You Don’t Mind is also the closer to what is, really, a perfect album: One Year. I could have filled this run-down with all ten songs from this record. From the summery, minor-key opener, She Loves The Way They Love Her – written by the Zombies and originally recorded in 1968 for an abandoned album – through to Say You Don’t Mind, it’s “the story of a year of mine”, as Colin puts it in the original liner notes. Key to the record’s appeal are string arrangements by Chris Gunning.


Caroline Goodbye was apparently written by Blunstone about his relationship with the actress Caroline Munro. Misty Roses is a Tim Hardin song, beautifully covered by Blunstone. The version I’ve picked here is from the Live At The BBC CD from 1995. Her Song, penned by his old bandmates Rod Argent and Chris White, is another fragile thing of loveliness: only Colin could sing so tenderly of waking in the early hours next to the one you love to watch day break over the rooftops. Blunstone doesn’t so much sing as … well, just breathe.


The second solo album, Ennismore, followed at the end of 1972 and spawned the piano-driven hit I Don’t Believe In Miracles, written by Argent’s singer Russ Ballard. I’ve always liked this song which ends on a falsetto note that Blunstone was still able to reach two decades years later when I saw him on his comeback tour. “The bullet that shot me down was from your gun; the words that turned me round, were from your song.”

Ennismore jostles with One Year as Blunstone’s best album. Personally, I think One Year just has the edge, but Ennismore – named after the elegant Knightsbridge square that was Blunstone’s home in the Seventies – is another flawless album of lacey love songs. How Could We Dare To Be Wrong, Exclusively For Me and A Sign From Me To You are all intimate pages from the Blunstone diary. I’ve gone with the more subdued Andorra though, the only spot on the album where the rainclouds gather.

I find Blunstone’s later Seventies albums patchy and more geared towards power ballads and a refinement of that Seventies soft-rock sound. I don’t recall hearing much from Blunstone during the Eighties and early Nineties. So when he re-emerged with the album Echo Bridge in 1995, I was all ears. By this point he was remembered chiefly as the guy who’d had a couple of hit singles in the early Seventies … oh, and wasn’t he the singer on that Dave Stewart cover of What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted? The one Stiff Records nudged into the Top 20 in 1981? Of course. And he also caught his breath the following year on Alan Parsons’ valedictory Old And Wise, a moving song spoilt by a long sax solo at the end.

As far as his solo career went, it felt like Echo Bridge had reset the clocks and reminded record buyers that if you didn’t own One Year and Ennismore, it was time to seek them out. My original CD of Echo Bridge even has a matt booklet, mimicking the textured covers of those first two vinyl LPs from the Seventies. If I Said is a well-liked although routine love song.

Instead, I’ve chosen the opening track, a cover of Billy Bragg’s Levi Stubbs Tears. I’m not sure what Billy makes of this reworking of his 1986 miniature play-for-today about loneliness, domestic abuse and the redemptive power of the Four Tops, but I love it. It might sound like Rainbow doing Billy Bragg, but I can live with the beefy chords and synth washes. It’s just such a great song and Colin certainly makes it his own.

Elsewhere on Echo Bridge are carefully chosen compositions by Charlie Dore, Nik Kershaw, Clifford T. Ward and others. By the way, Echo Bridge (so he told me, when I interviewed him back in the Nineties) was a bridge he used to pass each day with his daughter on the school run: the album title was emblematic of both a bridge to the future and an echo of the past.


The follow up to Echo Bridge was possibly intended to be The Ghost Of You And Me, begun in 1996 but released in 2009,13 years after its conception. In my opinion it is a better album, largely thanks to Chris Gunning who reprises his One Year role as arranger on songs such as the terrific Any Other Way, Second Avenue and Beginning/Keep The Curtains Closed Today, the latter originally found on 1974’s Journey.

The album that ended up following Echo Bridge was 1998’s The Light Inside. I’m not a huge fan of this record but have picked Knowing You – along with Losing You, one of a pair of reflective songs that close the album (see video of Colin singing it with the Zombies below).

Since 2000, Blunstone has recorded with Rod Argent and toured on and off with a resuscitated Zombies. In 2012 a solo live CD, On The Air Tonight, was released. Recorded during his previous tour, this includes a stripped-down piano version of the One Year track Though You Are Far Away.

In 2021, One Year itself was given the expanded reissue treatment and now comes with a companion disc entitled That Same Year, comprising a few work-throughs in demo form. Also included are some unheard compositions from the original sessions, such as the rather Dylanesque I Wonder if You Know What You’ve Begun.





Robert Webb interviews Colin Blunstone
(The Independent, November 1995)

Colin Blunstone official website

The Zombies official website

Colin Blunstone biography (AllMusic)

Robert Webb is a freelance writer and editor. His writing has appeared in The Independent and BBC Online. He is the author of The 100 Greatest Cover Versions and a biography of John Lennon.

Some of Robert’s other topper-posts: Alan Hull, Harry Nilsson, Laura Nyro, Van Dyke Parks, Todd Rundgren, Television, Scott Walker, Bobby Womack

TopperPost #1,092


  1. Andrew Shields
    Dec 14, 2023

    Thanks Rob for this superb list on a brilliant singer. However, I would probably go for the original version of ‘Curtains’ for Duncan Browne’s brilliant guitar work. Duncan also did some of the great vocal arrangements on Colin’s classic early albums. Thanks again.

    • Rob
      Dec 14, 2023

      Thanks Andrew, yes I did originally have the Journey version down to include but went with the re-recording in the end. Duncan Browne was a brilliant guitarist and songwriter though!

  2. Glenn Smith
    Dec 18, 2023

    Rob, thanks so much for this timely post. I came to Colin via Lisa Miller’s brilliant Car Tape album where she covered Say You Don’t Mind, which lead to a purchase of One Year, in cover versions we trust!
    And on that, great choice including the Barking Bard’s Levi Stubbs, a great performance by Colin of a very idiosyncratic track. Great stuff all round, thank you.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.