In “The True Story Of The Fake Zombies, The Strangest Con In Rock History,” Daniel Ralston, writing for BuzzFeed, lays out how American musicians came to impersonate British psych-rock band The Zombies.
In the early days of the music industry, it was commonplace to outright replace members of a music group with people who were more compliant than original members. This practice was taken a step further when The Zombies, after struggling on their home turf, suddenly became popular in the United States with the release of single “Time of the Season.” Rather than bring the group to the States (or inform The Zombies of their success), its management company, Delta Promotions, created not one, but two bands to tour the country in their place. One of those bands included two members of the band that later became ZZ Top.
Ralston emphasizes throughout the piece how impossible of a feat this would be today, with the advent of Twitter and Instagram, to say the very least. It’s not a story about deception for deception’s sake, however. It’s instead about money and relevancy, and how important both are in the life of a band.