Guide to British Music of the 1960s

June 2022

Book Review: Clem Cattini: My Life, Through the Eye of as Tornado by Clive Smith

Clem Cattini is a legend of British music. He was the drummer in the Tornados and Johnny Kidd & the Pirates before becoming one of the most in-demand session drummers and playing on numerous number one hits. This early part of his career is notable for two iconic hits, the Tornados' Telstar and the Pirates' Shakin' All Over. What a pair to have on your CV! However, this was just the beginning. In the 1960s, studio time was expensive so producers often used session musicians so that the tracks could be recorded quickly. Many sessions musicians became household names or formed well-known bands. Cattini became one of the most in-demand session drummers, often playing three different studios on the same day. The list of tracks he played on includes some of the best-known tracks produced in the UK and includes 43 number one singles!

The book is much more than a biography of Clem Cattini. His story is placed in the context of the times, mostly the 1960s. It was a decade where so many things changed, not just music. He was discovered, like many others, in the 2is coffee bar in Soho. He joined the Joe Meek stable becoming one of the Tornados and playing on Telstar which was a massive hit. After that it was Johnny Kidd & the Pirates before he decided to retire from touring. He then turned to sessions as well as being the drummer in the Top of the Pops Orchestra. The Orchestra backed artists on the top television programme as there was a no miming policy. He was also asked two bands that were being formed but he turned them down as he did not want to return to touring. They were Led Zeppelin and Wings.

This is an excellent and very readable book about the music business. He played on tracks by Ike & Tina Turner, Lulu, Tom Jones, Lou Reed and many more. He was still going strong well into his seventies.

Published: 11 July 2019

Mango Books

Privacy Policy


Making Time 1997-2022