05. Shine on sunshine
06. The ring
07. The jester
|Genres||Progressive rock, hard rock|
|Associated acts||The Zombies, The Roulettes, Chris White, The Kinks|
CareerThe first three demos from Argent, recorded in the autumn of 1968 featured Mac MacLeod on bass guitar though he was not meant to become a member of the group.
Original members of the band were bassist Jim Rodford (Rod Argent's cousin and formerly with the Mike Cotton Sound), drummer Bob Henrit and guitarist/keyboardist Russ Ballard (both formerly with The Roulettes and Unit 4 + 2). Lead vocal duties were shared between Ballard, Rodford, and Argent.
Rod Argent, Chris White (former Zombies bassist, producer, songwriter) and Russ Ballard were the group's songwriters. Some of Ballard's compositions became hits when they were covered by other artists, including Rainbow, Kiss, Petra, Hello, Santana and more recently the Brazilian metal band Oficina G3.
When Ballard left in 1974, he was replaced by guitarist/vocalist John Verity and guitarist John Grimaldi and there followed a period of intense recording, in which they produced two albums, and a film that was never released (though a clip is available to view on John Verity's website). The band's decision to come off the road late in 1976 has never been fully explained, though the decision might have been influenced by the declining health of one of its members. Rodford, Henrit and Verity briefly continued together under the name Phoenix before going their separate ways, with first Rodford and then Henrit becoming members of The Kinks. Meanwhile, Rod Argent went on to work with Andrew Lloyd-Webber, and to produce a couple of solo albums. He also opened a keyboard shop in the West End of London.
Argent's biggest hit was Rod Argent and Chris White's "Hold Your Head Up" from the All Together Now album, which, in a heavily-edited single form, reached No. 5 in the U.S. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. "Hold Your Head Up" was covered in 1987 by the band 20/Twenty, which recorded on Refuge records' Christian label. Argent also recorded the original version of "God Gave Rock and Roll to You", written by Russ Ballard, which was covered by Kiss in 1991 under the name "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You II", and featured prominently at the end of the film Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. The song also became a Contemporary Christian rock anthem and was twice covered by the Christian Rock band Petra, in 1977 (on the album Come and Join Us) and again in 1984 (on the album Beat the System), with new verses. The Russ Ballard song "Liar" on Argent's first album became a hit for Three Dog Night.
The sound of the band was a mix of rock and pop, but also covered more progressive rock territory in songs like "The Coming of Kohoutek," an instrumental from their Nexus album. When Ballard left the band after Encore, they took an even more progressive/fusion turn with their final Epic album Circus and then signed to a new record label (United Artists) for the final 1975 album Counterpoints. By 2005, all albums, including compilations, have been re-released on CD, except Counterpoints.
The original Argent lineup reunited at the High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park, London on 25 July 2010, and undertook a short five date concert tour in December 2010, with gigs in Frome, Southampton, Wolverhampton, Leamington Spa and London.
|Year||Album||Label||United States||United Kingdom|
|1971||Ring of Hands||-||-|
|1972||All Together Now||23||13|
|Year||Album||United States||United Kingdom|
|1974||Encore: Live in Concert||151||-|
|1995||BBC Radio 1 In Concert||-||-|
|1997||The Complete BBC Sessions||-||-|
- The Best of Argent - An Anthology (Epic, 1976)
- Hold Your Head Up (1978)
- Music from the Spheres (1991)
- Greatest: The Singles Collection
- Argent: Original Album Classics [A collection of the band's first five albums in miniature album sleeves] (2009)
|Year||Song||US Hot 100||UK Singles||Album|
|1971||"Sweet Mary"||-||-||Rings of Hands|
|1972||"Hold Your Head Up"||5||5||All Together Now|
|1973||"God Gave Rock and Roll to You"||-||18||In Deep|
|"It's Only Money, Part 2"||-||-|
|1974||"Man for All Reasons"||-||-||Nexus|
|"Thunder & Lightning"||-||-|
|"Time of the Season"||-||-||Encore: Live in Concert|