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The Tornados

  • Telstar

    The Tornados

  • Joe Meek,
  • Glenda Collins,

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    The Tornados


    Telstar : The Sound Of The Tornados 7 ( 1963 )
    Telstar / Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue / Chasing Moonbeams / Swinging Beefeater / Theme From A Summer Place / Love And Fury / Dreamin' On A Cloud / Ridin' The Wind / The Breeze And I / Jungle Fever / Popeye Twist

    For a short time back there, it appeared that The Tornados would be able to rival The Shadows as the number one instrumental group in the country. Remember, they were the first British group to hit number one in the US. Joe Meek wrote and produced the tune and produces the baker’s dozen cuts on display here. Several songs were excerpted to form Torandos EP releases, Joe Meek felt more at home there than a full LP. Well, it was pre beat-group era and full length albums were still seen as less important than singles, so Joe would always focus his attention towards singles or EPs rather than LPs. Why am I talking about Joe Meek anyway? Well, The Tornados were his regular studio musicians until they broke up and he used somebody else. A group called ‘The Tornados’ still existed on his roster well into 1965 and beyond, but consisted of entirely different musicians to the original line-up. ‘Telstar’ deserves some discussion for containing the tune of the same name. Even without the notoriety afforded by their connections with Joe Meek, we’d still remember The Tornados and their story thanks to ‘Telstar’, a tune composed by Meek to mark the launch of the communications satellite of the same name. The Tornados ( Alan Caddy, Heinz Burt, Roger Jackson, George Bellamy and Clem Cattini ) recorded the backing under Meeks guidance. Meek then subsequently overdubbed a Clavioline ( an electronic keyboard ) to play the haunting lead melody line. Further overdubs and compression finally produced the song we know and love today. The space sound-effects needed to be there, of course. It’s a sparkling, fitting tribute to a piece of technology. Name me another such? Oh, fact-fans. George Bellamy, rhythm guitarist, is dad to Matt Bellamy from indie-rockers Muse!

    ‘Love And Fury’ is a highlight alongside ‘Telstar’, a similar sounding tune that actually was the groups first single. It didn’t chart at the time. ‘Globetrotters’ was the actual follow-up single and reached number five in the UK and frustratingly isn’t contained here. The remaining tracks that are here are variable in quality, but constantly provide innovative production sounds. ‘Jungle Fever’ is a favourite in our house, a stompingly decent tune crackling with genuine, erm, jungle fever. Yes, ‘Telstar’ is an instrumental album and sounds somewhat dated these days. Yes, it’s unlikely to appeal to anybody who isn’t already a fan of Joe Meek productions. I guess a few curious Muse fans may apply and be slightly bemused at what they find. A more direct comparison and appeal I can make is with The Shadows. Obviously, The Shadows went onto have a lengthy career in contrast to the brief orbit of The Tornados. The Shadows material sounds very ‘clean’ though. Joe had his clever inspired amateurishness. Take ‘Ride The Wind’ for example, on a par with either of the two aforementioned singles. Anyway, a 7/10 places this down as a solid, fun LP essential for Meek fans only, but for them, still essential.

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    this page last updated 03/05/07

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