The Meaning Behind “Time of the Season” by The Zombies

Whispy and whimsical, anchored by the thick, silvery bum, bum, bum…bum bass line, there are few songs as iconic and as instantly recognizable as “Time of the Season.” The meaning behind The Zombies’ 1968 magnum opus is a lot more complex than merely spring, summer, fall, or winter. So what exactly is the time of the season?

Videos by American Songwriter

The Origins

The song was written by The Zombies’ keyboard player Rod Argent just a short time before the band was scheduled to be in the studio to finish up laying down their acclaimed sophomore album Odessey and Oracle.

When asked the feeling of hearing “Time of the Season” played back for the first time, lead singer Colin Blunstone plainly told American Songwriter, “relief.”

“I felt relief,” the frontman said, “because we were up against the clock. It was the last song we recorded for Odessey and Oracle and we had a minute budget and we were running out of money. I think we finished it with like seconds to go before the budget ran out.”

“Also when you hear something for the first time,” Argent added, “it’s a fantastic feeling and we still feel that way today.”

[RELATED: The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone Built a Solo Career ‘One Year’ at a Time]

Throughout the years, Argent has explained that the song was inspired by George Gershwin’s jazz standard ‘Summertime.’ The lyrics, specifically, What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me? was a nod to the classic song.

“Time of the Season” is captivating in its beautiful weightlessness, but the light-hearted song prickled some band members. Apparently, Blunstone and Argent had a bit of a row during the song’s recording when Blunstone struggled with a few of the higher notes.

“It was written in the morning before we went into the studio in the afternoon, and I kind of struggled on the melody,” Blunstone told Songfacts. “Rod and I had quite a heated discussion – he being in the control room and me singing the song – and we were just doing it through my headphones. Because it had only just been written, I was struggling with the melody, and he’d be saying, ‘You know that’s not quite right, Colin. Can you do it again?'”

The frontman continued, “This went on for some time and in the end, I sort of said to him: ‘Listen, you’re so good, you come in and you sing it,’ but with more flamboyant language. And he said, ‘You’re the lead singer, you stand there until you get it right.’ It makes me laugh because at the same time, I’m singing, ‘It’s the time of the season for loving,’ we’re really going at one another.”

The Lyrics

The song kickstarts with the well-known rhythm, a wonderful affair of rounded bass and hollow drum. A gust of breathy aaahs slice through the beat and the crisp lyrics follow.

It’s the time of the season
When love runs high
In this time, give it to me easy
And let me try with pleasured hands

(To take you in the sun to) Promised lands
(To show you every one)
It’s the time of the season for loving

After a delicate medley of call-and-response, it is revealed the time of the season is for love and giving love to someone. The lyrics continue to be elusive and just out of grasp, but dreamy all the same.

What’s your name? (What’s your name?), with its nod to Gershwin’s “Summertime,” the song asks a love interest, Who’s your daddy? (Who’s your daddy?) / (He rich) Is he rich like me? / Has he taken (Has he taken) / Any time (Any time) / (To show) To show you what you need to live? And with that, the song reiterates again, It’s the time of the season for loving.

Photo by Stephen Olker/Getty Images for SXSW

Leave a Reply

The 21 Best Notorious B.I.G. Quotes