Listen to this track by former-Zombies frontman and light-as-air-voiced (I won’t use the word “breathy”) solo singer Colin Blunstone. It’s “Caroline Goodbye”, a single off of his first solo record One Year.
The record was released after a year out of the music business, when Blunstone did time in a straight job, working as an insurance clerk. After years of making cool records, most of which did nothing on the charts, the Zombies had broken up. This was just before they had success with their biggest hit, “Time of the Season”, recorded in 1967, but hitting big in North America nearly two years later.
By then, the band were no more. Rotten timing (of the season) was the Zombies’ curse.
But between 1970 and 1971, Blunstone went solo under his own name (after a period of releasing singles under a pseudonym), leaving his straight job behind, to record his first album. He had the help of his former colleagues in the Zombies (guitarist Chris White, and keyboardist Rod Argent) who wrote three tracks between them, and produced the album.
Blunstone’s return with his debut is widely recognized as his best effort as a solo artist. And this song reflected something of a new career phase for Colin Blunstone.
“Caroline Goodbye” is a classic break up tune, written by Blunstone about the end of his relationship with actress Caroline Munro, who would go on to be a Bond-Girl in 1977’s the Spy Who Loved Me, among other roles.
The song positions Blunstone as a sort of male equivalent to Dusty Springfield, with a hazy, and melancholic delivery, featuring subtle soul influences wrapped in a baroque-pop sheen. Indeed, both artists had tackled “The Look of Love” with the same aplomb, with Blunstone recording it with the Zombies in 1967. And it’s this stylistic track Blunstone would continue to follow here.
He’d have more chart action with another single off of this record, “Say You Don’t Mind”, written by former Moody Blues-member and future Wings member Denny Laine. But, “Caroline Goodbye” marks Blunstone’s new phase as a recording artist – as a songwriter, and one writing from a very personal point of view at that. As such, there’s a sense of intimacy to be found in this song, with sadness and resignation as an emotional core.
Colin Blunstone is an active performer today, performing solo and with Rod Argent as a new version of the Zombies.