1961: The Tornados

 Nov, 03 - 2013   no comments   1960s Music

The Tornados were an English instrumental group of the 1960s that acted as backing group for many of record producer Joe Meek‘s productions and also for singer Billy Fury. They enjoyed several chart hits in their own right, including the UK and U.S. Number One “Telstar” (named after the satellite and composed and produced by Meek), the first U.S. No.1 single by a British group.

Telstar (song)

Telstar (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From January 1962 to August 1963, The Tornados were the backing band of Billy Fury (as well as recording and performing as an act in their own right); they toured and recorded with Fury as The Tornados. Their recordings with Fury were produced by Mike Smith and Ivor Raymonde.

The Tornados made a scopitone film (an early form of music video) for “Telstar” and another for their chart hit “Robot” featuring members of the group walking around woodland dressed in appropriate headgear with their guitars, flirting with various young women and being finally arrested by policemen after lighting a campfire.
For a time the Tornados were considered serious rivals to The Shadows.

The Tornados single “Globetrotter” made it to No.5 in the UK Singles Chart. However, pop instrumentals began to lose popularity with British audiences during the course of 1963 as the ‘Mersey Sound’, most notably The Beatles, became more and more popular.

In the summer of 1963, Joe Meek induced The Tornados’ bassist Heinz Burt to start a solo career, as The Tornados’ chart success as an instrumental outfit waned, and from that point onwards The Tornados began to fall apart. By 1965 none of the original lineup remained.

On some promotional items, later lineups were credited as Tornados ’65 and The New Tornados, but these names were never used on The Tornados’ releases. In the mid-‘sixties The Tornados backed Billy Fury again, with Dave Watts on keyboards, Robby Gale on guitar and John Davies on drums. In 1968, in Israel to perform in Mandy Rice-Davies‘ night club “Mandys”, the band stayed for a ten-week tour after which they disbanded, leaving Watts in Israel playing with The Lions of Judea.

 In 1975, George Bellamy reassembled all the original Tornados except Caddy for one last effort as the New Tornados. Their remake of “Telstar” passed largely without notice.

Joe Meek took his own life in 1967. Burt and Caddy died in 2000.

  • Pop/Rock
  • British Invasion
  • Early British Pop/Rock
  • Instrumental Rock
  • Rock & Roll
  • 1963
  • Formed:     1961
  • Disbanded: 1964
  • Alan Caddy *guitar
  • Brian Gegg
  • Brian Gregg
  • Brian Irwin
  • Charles “Chas” Hodges
  • Clem Cattini  *drums
  • George Bellamy  *guitar
  • George Kooymans
  • Heinz Burt  *bass
  • Jimmy O’Brien
  • Joe Meek *
  • Norman Hale
  • Ray Randell
  • Roger LaVern  *organ
  • Stuart Taylor
  • Tab Martin
  • 1963 Away from It All 
  • 1963 Telstar: The Sounds of the Tornados
  • 1963 The Sounds of the Tornados London

Year /Song Title /Composer/Highest US Chart Position

  • All Right feat. Billy Fury
  • Baby feat. Billy Fury
  • Don’t Leave Me This Way feat. Billy Fury
  • Down by the Riverside feat. Billy Fury
  • Down the Line feat. Billy Fury
  • Globetrotter Joe Meek
  • Have I Told You Lately That I Love You feat. Billy Fury
  • I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone feat. Billy Fury
  • Introduction/Halfway to Paradise feat. Billy Fury
  • Jungle Fever feat. Joe Meek  Joe Meek  
  • Just Because feat. Billy Fury
  • Life on Venus feat. Joe Meek  Joe Meek  
  • Maybe Tomorrow feat. Billy Fury
  • My Advice feat. Billy Fury
  • Play It Cool feat. Billy Fury
  • Ridin’ the Wind feat. Joe Meek
  • Robot feat. Joe Meek
  • Since You’ve Been Gone feat. Billy Fury
  • Telstar feat. Joe Meek
  • The Ice Cream Man feat. Joe Meek Joe Meek
  • Turn My Back on You feat. Billy Fury
  • What Did I Do feat. Billy Fury
  • London Records
  • Columbia Graphophone Company
  • Josie Records
  • Decca Records
  • Tower Records

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