April 1, 2004 – Paul Ashley Warren Atkinson (The Zombies) was born March 19, 1946 in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, and educated at St Albans School. At St Albans, Atkinson met Rod Argent and Hugh Grundy and the three formed a band initially called the Mustangs.
Colin Blunstone and Paul Arnold joined the new band in early 1961, but Arnold left in 1963 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 and was a hit in the UK, the European continent and the US. The group continued to record successfully through the early 1960s, but disbanded in December of 1967, shortly after finishing their final album “Odyssey & Oracle,” reportedly over management disagreements. The album including megahits “Tell Her No” and “Time of the Season”.
Atkinson later became an artists and repertoire (A&R) executive at Dick James Music, the Beatles’ publishing company, which developed into a production company, discovering and signing such acts as Elton John, ABBA, Bruce Hornsby, Mr. Mister, Judas Priest, Michael Penn and Grayson Hugh, who Atkinson brought to MCA Records from RCA Records in 1991. 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.
Atkinson died less than 3 months later on 1 April 2004 at the age of 58 in a Santa Monica hospital due to liver and kidney disease . He had been suffering from cancer for some time, and had two liver transplants.