Original Released on LP CBS D-63280
(UK 1968, April 19)
(UK 1968, April 19)
"Odessey and Oracle" was recorded in 1967 after the Zombies signed to the CBS label, and was only the second album they had released since 1965. As their first LP, "Begin Here", was a collection of singles, "Odessey" can be regarded as the only true Zombies album. While their first album included several cover versions, "Odessey" consisted entirely of original compositions by the group's two main songwriters, Rod Argent and Chris White. The famous misspelling of "odyssey" in the title was the result of a mistake by the designer of the LP cover, Terry Quirk (who was the flatmate of bass player Chris White). The group began work on the album in June 1967. Some songs were recorded at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, where earlier in the year the Beatles had recorded "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and Pink Floyd recorded "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". This was the first time Abbey Road would be used for an independently produced (non-EMI) release. By the time the recording was finished, in late 1967, the Zombies were effectively disbanded, due to lack of financial success. "Odessey and Oracle" was released in the UK in April 1968 and in the United States in June. The single "Time of the Season" became a surprise hit in early 1969, and Columbia Records (in the United States) re-released "Odessey" in February, with a different album cover that severely cropped the original illustration.
The gap in time between the UK and US record release dates owes to the Zombies having not prepared a stereo mix initially, a condition the American label insisted on. At the urging of Al Kooper and Columbia / Epic / Date records, Argent and White spent their accrued royalties to book studio time and remix the album for stereo specifically for that US release. However, the one song "This Will Be Our Year" was not mixed into stereo in 1969 owing to a "missing" horn overdub not on the original multitrack tape. Since its release the LP has come to be regarded as one of the greatest of all pop albums, with indelible melodies, complex harmonies, and an air of nostalgia and longing that makes it comparable to such albums as Love's "Forever Changes" and the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds". In 2002, Rolling Stone placed "Odessey" in 80th place on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.