The most inflammatory album Fela had released to date (which is saying something), Zombie triggered the power structure’s most vicious reprisal. The regime had been infuriated by Fela’s exposés of army and police violence on 1974’s Alagbon Close, 1975’s Kalakuta Show and 1976’s Ikoyi Blindness, but its anger was as nothing compared to that stoked by Zombie. In the lyric, Fela ridicules the men in uniform. "Attention! Quick march! Slow march! Salute!" he sings, "Fall in! Fall out! Fall down! Go and kill!" Each phrase is followed by the women singers’ taunt, "Zombie!" Fela continues: “No brains, no job, no sense joro jara jo; tell am to go kill joro jara jo; tell am to go quench joro jara jo.” On February 18 1977, the army would take their revenge: 1000 soldiers surrounded Kalakuta Republic, battered their way in and burnt it to the ground, beating any occupant they could catch, including Fela – and his 77 year old mother, who was thrown out of a second floor window, an outrage which caused her death the following year. (See the essay Music Written In Blood elsewhere on this site). Originally released by Coconut.
Standard black vinyl LP, released in 2015 as part of the Knitting Factory Records re-issues, comes with a download card. The first re-issue pressing of Zombie was included in Box Set #3 curated by Brian Eno.