Music

The Zombies’ Rod Argent Suffers Stroke, Announces Immediate Retirement From Touring

Rod Argent has suffered a stroke, leading to his immediate retirement from touring. The 79-year-old Zombies keyboardist is currently recovering at home after an overnight hospital stay, with doctors advising several months of rest and recuperation.

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The news came in the form of a release from the band’s managers Chris Tuthill and Cindy da Silva Thursday (July 11), which notes that the group’s founding member had spent a weekend in London with his wife Cathy to celebrate their 52nd wedding anniversary as well as his birthday before his hospitalization. All upcoming performances on The Zombies’ schedule have now been canceled, including the band’s two festival shows in the U.K. slated for later this month. A fall 2024 U.S. tour had also been in the works prior to his stroke.

“He was already preparing to wind down his live performance schedule after health scares on recent tours,” the announcement read. “However, the stroke was an unmistakable warning sign that the risks are too great.”

Though he will no longer be performing with the English rock trailblazers, Argent plans to continue writing and recording with bandmates Tom Toomey, Søren Koch, Colin Blunstone and Steve Rodford. According to Tuthill and da Silva, he’s “already been back at his piano for some much-needed “’Bach therapy.’”

Plus, The Zombies’ second annual Begin Here Festival in St Albans U.K. will continue as planned in November, although their performance will be replaced with a special show honoring Argent. At this time, the band’s team asks that fans sit tight with their tickets until they’ve “had time to regroup and announce new plans.”

Argent’s retirement from touring ends quite a run, with The Zombies getting their start in the early ’60s. He’d previously stepped away from the group in 1975 in order to focus on his family and being a songwriter, but agreed to temporarily fill in for a few shows in 1999 — something that turned into 25 more years of touring and recording with the band. The group has had two albums chart on the Billboard 200 — 1965’s self-titled release and 1969’s Odessey & Oracle — as well as five Billboard Hot 100 hits over the course of its career.

“Our last message is that if a classic artist that has made music you love is performing nearby, don’t miss the opportunity to see them,” Tuthill and da Silva’s message concludes. “You can sit on the couch and binge Netflix another day. The communal experience of a live performance by a veteran artist is a singular and joyous moment. These artists are treasures who have stood the test of time and are giving their all, but they are fragile human beings like all of us.”

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