Guide to British Music of the 1960s


The Tornados

Biography | Discography | Web Links | Books


Heinz Bury - bass, Roger LaVern - organ, Alan Caddy - lead guitar, George Bellamy - rhythm guitar, Clem Cattini - drums

The Tornados were formed following an advertisement that producer Joe Meek placed in Melody Maker. Caddy had studied violin at the Royal School of Music and he joined Johnny Kidd & the Pirates in 1958. Clem Cattini was also a member of the Pirates. Both of them responded to the Melody Maker advertisement.

The first single called Love & Fury failed to chart. The track Telstar was written by Joe Meek when a melody became stuck in his head. He sent a demo version of it to The Tornados who were playing in Great Yarmouth at the time supporting Billy Fury. The title referred to the communications satellite that had been sent into orbit in July 1962. The band was not impressed with the track but Caddy worked out a chord progression that improved the track. It was recorded in Meek's basic studio where artists tended to record in one or two "live" takes given that recording studio time was expensive even if Meek's approach gave them more timer and leeway than many other groups. The track was released by Decca Record on 17 August 1962 and, by the beginning of October, it had reached number one where it stayed for five weeks. Furthermore, it reached number one in America, the first British artist to achieve this.

Joe Meek was later sued by the French composer Jean Ledrut who claimed that several bars of the track had been plagiarised from his film score for Austerlitz. Litigation took considerable time and royalties from Telstar were frozen and this may have contributed to Meek going broke. The verdict claimed there were similarities but intentional plagiarism could not be proved. Nevertheless, Ledrut was awarded 8,500 but Meek was dead by then.

To be completed

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