Just when many were thinking that music in general and Rock music specifically was headed towards a dead end, great new music flourished in 2023. Most of the very best came from classic rockers who were thought to be way beyond their prime. Instead, they produced some of the very best music in 2023.
One of the very best albums came from a group that was part of the first British Invasion back in the 60’s. The Zombies made a huge contribution with hits like “She’s not There” and “Tell Her no”. Their music back then was just a little more polished than their counterparts.
Just when everyone thought that The Zombies were doomed to just be another 60’s band that faded away, they came up with one of the all-time great albums, ODESSEY, AND ORACLE in 1967. The album was not an immediate hit. In fact, by the time it started getting noticed, the band had already broken up.
There was friction in the band because of differences of opinions on the direction. Even though the album produced their huge hit “Time of the Season” they remained at odds. This led to “fake” Zombie bands springing up to try and take advantage of the hit to book live performances. One of those bands from Texas included future Z Z Top members Dusty Hill and Frank Beard.
leader Rod Argent went off on his own with much success with his group just called Argent. They had some big sellers with their lead singer Russ Ballard for three albums but were unable to match that success once Russ left the band.
Meanwhile three of the original Zombies reunited in 1989 with little success. Then in 2000, Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent, who had been good friends since elementary school, resolved their differences and eventually reformed The Zombies. To get even more insight on the group, listen to the podcast that features Rod Argent.
In 2023 The Zombies finally were able to record an album that is in the same league as their ODESSEY, AND ORACLE album. It is called DIFFERENT GAME. As Rod points out in the interview, today’s music business is a different game. Different or not, the album is one of the very best released in 2023.
The Zombies were not the only classic rock band to reform without the original members but were able to make great music with a new line-up. The Guess Who, with Gary Peterson being the only original member, was one of the most surprising. Just when most thought they were just one of those bands that were using the name to get gigs, they recorded an excellent album entitled PLAIN D’AMOUR. Listen to the podcast interview with two members of the band.
In another podcast, Roger Earl of Foghat talks about their release SONIC MOJO in 2023 which is their best in years. One of the things that help make this special is the contribution of the late Kim Simmons. Roger started out as the drummer for the Kim Simmons legendary British Blues Rock band Savoy Brown. Kim co wrote some of the songs before he died in late 2022. Kim’s last recording with Savoy Brown BLUES ALL AROUND was also released in 2023.
Ian Hunter decided to do an album during the lock down. He asked some fellow rockers to help him make the album by file sharing. He expected to get some help, but what he didn’t expect was so many outstanding people (including Todd Rundgren) to step up and contribute. However, it isn’t just the contributors that makes the album DEFIANCE PART 1 outstanding, it is Ian himself. The man, who is now 83, never sounded better. This coupled with some good songwriting made this album one of the best for 2023.
Many other Classic Rockers came out in full force with new albums. Peter Gabriel, Albert Bouchard, Ann Wilson, Jethro Tull, The Pretenders, Nils Lofgren, Alice Cooper, Yes, Paul Simon, Sweet, John Mellencamp, Paul Simon and The Hooters also released albums. Remake albums seemed to be the thing to do with U 2, Roger Waters, Def Leppard, and Neil Young all doing redo albums.
In addition to the Classic Rock albums, artists like Lucinda Williams, The Foo Fighters, Hozier, The Struts, Wilco, Duran, Duran, Depeche Mode, Low Cut Connie, Jenny Lewis, Jason Isbel and The 400 Unit, and Cosmic Guilt made contributions. So, the music didn’t die in 2023.
What remains to be seen is if these records get enough support from fans to make recordings worth the effort. Without the support of traditional radio, this is an uphill battle. One can only hope they will continue to release new material.
LIST OF NEW ROCK ALBUMS IN 2023 (in no particular order):
HACKNEY DIAMONDS The Rolling Stones
FULL CIRCLE Sweet
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON REDUX Roger Waters
IMAGINOS III Albert Bouchard
DIFFERENT GAME The Zombies
SONIC MOJO Foghat
ROCK STAR Dolly Parton
I/O Peter Gabriel
MIRROR TO THE SKY Yes
PLEIN D’ AMOUR The Guess Who
ANOTHER DOOR Ann Wilson
SONGS OF SURRENDER U2
RELENTLESS The Pretenders
UNREAL UNEARTH Hozier
BEFORE AND AFTER Neil Young
SEVEN PSALMS Paul Simon
DEFINACE PART 1 Ian Hunter
STORIES FROM A ROCK N ROL HEART Lucinda Williams
WRONGER Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire
PRETTY VISCIOUS The Struts
RökFlöte Jethro Tull
DRASTIC SYMPHONIES Def Leppard
BUT HERE WE ARE Foo Fighters
ALL ROADS LEAD HOME Molina, talbot, Lofgren and Young
MOUNTAINS Nils Lofgen
PALACE OF DEPRESSION Cosmic Guilt
ORPHEUS DECENDING John Mellencamp
ROAD Alice Copper
ROCKING & SWING The Hooters
DANSE MACABRE Duran Duran
MEMENTO MORI Depeche Mode
WEATHERVANES Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
ART DEALERS Low Cut Connie
JOY’ALL Jenny Lewis