|Tornados 65, The New Tornados|
|Genres||Pop, instrumental rock, surf rock, beat|
|Labels||Decca, Columbia (EMI) (UK)
London (US and Canada)
|The Saxons, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Billy Fury (1962), The Churchills|
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. No. 1 "Telstar" (named after the satellite and composed and produced by Meek), the first U.S. No. 1 single by a British group.
From January 1962 to August 1963, The Tornados were the backing band for 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 a 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 #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-'60s 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 and Huxley in Israel, playing with The Lions of Judea and The Churchills respectively.
After drummer and bandleader Clem Cattini left The Tornados in 1965, he became a successful session musician, playing on recording sessions for other artists, and was featured in Cliff Richard's backing bands. He holds the record for appearing the most times on UK #1 singles.
They re-formed as The New Tornados in the early 1970s as the backing group for Marty Wilde, Billy Fury and others on a year-long UK Rock n Roll Tour. They continued for another few years with lead guitarist Tony Cowell and drummer Jon Werrell touring with original members Norman Hale and Heinz Burt, plus "The King Of Rock Roll" Carl Simmons. The group was often part of a '60s package with other artists, including Wee Willie Harris and Screaming Lord Sutch.
In 1975, Clem Cattini, Roger LaVern, Heinz Burt and George Bellamy reunited and released a version of "Telstar" as the Original Tornados. In the 1970s, Billy Fury formed a new backing band called Fury's Tornados with a completely unrelated line-up. They also recorded and released a version of "Telstar" in the mid 1970s.
In 1996, Ray Randall wrote and recorded a three-track CD with Bryan Irwin and Stuart Taylor, using the band name Ray Randall's Tornados, as a tribute to the late Joe Meek, 30 years after Meek's death. Randall has since recorded a solo album entitled "Polly Swallow" (1997).
The B-side of the final single that the group released, in 1966, "Do You Come Here Often?", is considered to be the first openly "gay" pop record release by a UK major label. It started off as a standard organ-inspired instrumental, but Joe Meek decided that the organ playing was a little too jazzy for the style of the group. To remedy this, around two-thirds in, a casual conversation between what appears to be two gay men (Dave Watts playing keyboards and Robb Huxley playing guitar) was overdubbed. The song was featured, along with other gay-flavoured releases, on a 2006 compilation CD, Queer Noises.
"Ridin the Wind"; "Earthy"; "Dreamin' on a Cloud" (Heinz [Burt]); "Red Roses and a Sky of Blue" (Meek)
"Love and Fury"; "Popeye Twist"; "Telstar"; "Jungle Fever"
"Please Stay" / "Starlight" / "Jersey Girl" / "Once We Were Friends" / "Out There Looking for Love" / "Satellite" / "Telstar Now" / "Dancing with Danger" / "Silver Bird" / "Startel" / "Nessun Dorma" / "Telstar (the mix)".
Side 1: "Telstar" / "Red Roses and a Sky of Blue" / "Chasing Moonbeams" / "Earthy" / "Swinging Beefeater" / "Theme from 'A Summer Place'" Side 2: "Love and Fury" / "Dreamin' on a Cloud" / "Ridin' the Wind" / "The Breeze and I" / "Jungle Fever" / "Popeye Twist"
New Zealand 7" Single 45 rpm. Side 1: "The Twist" Side 2: "Deep in the Heart of Texas Twist"
"Nobody's Child"; "What Did I Do"; "I Can't Help Loving You"; "Keep Away"
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