Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Argent: Hold Your Head Up

Ah yes, the summer of 1972 – and what we Americans thought was a new band had been in existence since the break-up of the Zombies in 1968. Four years later, Argent burst onto both AOR and Top 40 American radio stations with their top 5 hit “Hold Your Head Up.” The song was co-written by keyboardist Rod Argent and producer Chris White. White had been the bassist in the Zombies with Rod Argent four years previous.

The band also included multi-instrumentalist Russ Ballard, bassist Jim Rodford (who was Argent’s cousin), and Robert Henrit on drums. Unfortunately, it was Argent’s only US hit; however, they scored top 40 hits in the UK with “Tragedy” and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You.” Such was not their luck on this side of the pond. So with that in mind, “Hold Your Head Up” is our Wednesday One Hit Wonder.

The album version of the song is the one to hear. At over six minutes in length, it’s a progressive song that features Rod Argent’s acumen on the keyboards and would inspire groups to come like Boston. The lead vocal chores are handled by Russ Ballard.

Single Edit

Here’s the original stereo single edit for AM Top 40 radio. It is amazing that the lousy plastic (not vinyl) CBS used on their single releases sounds so good nearly 40 years later. See if you can find the edit – this is an easy one.

Live version from Midnight Special

John Denver introduces the band for their 1973 performance on Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special.

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