1961 and the pop scene in the UK is burgeoning. Cranking up his recording down the Long Holloway Road No.304 to be Precise is One Robert george Meek colloquially known as Joe Meek-
Joe Had started in the Recording Business way back in 1956 working ona variety of Artists Frankie Vaughan--Gary Miller Anne Shelton Denis Lotis Chico Arnez.Artists that gave little clue to the Renaissance in the types of Productions Joe would soon be making-when he did it was like a TORNADO had stormed through his studios and that is exactly what happened- A New Group Of Lads were coming together to become a Tornados and make a record Telstar that would indeed Storm through the World
So where did it all start-my research and work has shown me excellent proof of what I am to state I have met all of the Tornados talked to them at length and whilst even they cannot remember everything they usually clear one or two issues up- So The Tornados formed in 1961 although at that time they had no idea they were going to be called the Tornados. They were session men playing backing tracks for many of Joe’s singles released we will collate all those tracks later.
The first member Joe Met before any of the other original Tornados was Heinz Burt- Heinz Had gone to London To audition with Joe with His band from Southampton “ The Falcons” Joe typically listened to them did not like their Music but Liked Heinz so much in fact that he decided initially that Heinz would replace Chas Hodges in the Outlaws as Chas was departing-- bare in mind the Tornados were not even thought of at this stage-Unfortunately Heinz was not a competent enough Bass Guitarist to replace Chas who was a first class Musician- Chas decided to stay-The Outlaws were a top class Musical act with Great Musicians. So that left Joe with a problem he wanted Heinz to stay so he decided to replace the Outlaws as session musicians - mainly because they were always on the Road backing artists mainly gene Vincent--So Joe really and truly formed The Tornados for Heinz no doubt that statement with meet with some controversy among certain people but as Far as I can tell this is the reason the Tornados were formed or at least Musicians were bought into replace the Outlaws--
Joe promptly placed an ad in the Melody Maker for Musicians- The Pivotal Person who applied was Clem Cattini fresh from an ill fated tour Of Italy backing Colin Hick Tommy Steeles Brother- along with Alan Caddy its hard to say who invited who they went to Joes Studio and eventually got the Job- The Rhythm Guitar Player was one George Bellamy who impressed Joe with His Giant Gibson Guitar he took along with him- George was ina Country and Western Duo Called George and Allen ( Allen Klein) you will obviously Note that Allen went on to make 2 records for Joe Himself which the Tornados played on-All they were missing now was a keyboard Player Heinz remembered that The Keyboard Player to His Band The Falcons was available-A one Norman Hale- who immediately Joined the Group for a few months destined to leave after a great row with Joe--
This Left the door open for the self styled King Of Entertainment one Roger Jackson latterly known as Roger Laverne- Roger had come from Kidderminster to seek Joe out and make a name for himself- WE now have which I refer to as the Classic Tornados Line-Up. However I jump ahead of myself- It must be remembered that These were purely session Musicians at this stage- early late 1961-
After initially Playing on quite a few recordings as session men The erstwhile Tornados went out on the road first of all as The Charles Blackwell Orchestra on tour with John Leyton Billie Davis augmented by Peter Newman and Peter Cotton on Saxophones--However their biggest break was to audition and become Billy Fury’s Backing band--This took place in 1962-It was then that Joe decided to name the Tornados- and put out their first record. Love & Fury-on the Decca label the writing credits for this were Robert Duke a pseudonym for Joe Meek to fool Major Banks who was bankrolling ( However the first ever recording the Tornados made was “Swinging Beefeater before Roger had joined so there was no Keyboard part on the original recording--)Him and of course wanted to know what money was being made
Love & Fury was a tribute to their Boss Billy Fury and what a record Blistering pace and ethereal tune with a fantastic production and searing bass line-Norman was a great keyboard player Norman Hale that is unfortunately this is the only record Norman ever played on due to the argument I mentioned earlier with Joe- He did not play on the B: side Popeye twist a rendition of The Sailors Horn Pie only 4 people played on this track Clem Actinic, Alan Caddy Heinz Burt and George Bellamy and Joe Meek with The Fabulous production.
At this stage the Tornados were playing with Billy Fury at Summer Resorts mainly Yarmouth where they and Billy would do a season.
For their Next Single The Tornados recorded “The Breeze And I” but it became apparent that the Fentones were about to release the same tune, so Joe wrote a little Tune for the Band Called The Theme of Telstar after he had watched the launching of the satellite on TV. With the Help Of Dave Adams the tune was transcribed from Joe’s Head and warbling over the recording of Try Once More- a Geoff Goddard song-
The Tornados came came to 304 and were given the tune in its raw state and Alan caddy Arranged what had already been put down .On the first session the basic track was laid Drums Rhythm Bass and Lead Guitar- NO top line with Clavoline Organ work by Roger Laverne had been recorded and it is as well to note thought there are 2 Lead Breaks By Alan Caddy in Telstar it is the same lead work both times recorded once and lifted to the second solo- Clem Played Brushes On Telstar--Heinz Bass george Rhythm-- The Final Clavoline Top Line and Vocals was played and Hummed By Geoff Goddard as Clem said one of the best kept secrets in show business- even The B:Side Jungle Fever a tune and arrangement way ahead of its time is Geoff Goddard Playing--From the release of Telstar in August 1962 the Tornados went into Orbit but unfortunately soon crashed back to earth.
Telstar itself had reputedly sold over 10 million records worldwide since 1962. Personally I would say it was more. Including EP’s and LP’s-it also went to No.1 in over 17 different Countries- Including America 14 months before the Beatles hit big there. The Follow Up Globetrotter was very controversial mainly because it sounded very similar to Venus In Blue Jeans However Tapes of the Demo found and talking to people involved at the time the demo was made before Venus In Blue jeans unfortunately it was not released until just after Venus In Blue Jeans- Myself I thought it was a good tune very well produced-The B: Side Locomotion With Me erroneously titled Locomotion With You on many releases was a sharp tune with great drumming--Robot Life On Venus Followed again trademark Space Sounds for the Band with Life On Venus being labelled Telstar 2-At this stage there was grumblings in the Band - AS Heinz was being treated better I remember seeing them live at Tooting Gaumont and Heinz had a Silver Suit on whilst the rest of the band just wore Dark suits-Joe was grooming Heinz for solo stardom-
The Next Record The Ice Cream Man /The Theme From The Scales Of Justice saw Heinz depart .For and Brian Gregg take the Bass Mantle but not before Tab Martin from the Saints later of The Peddlers Fame had been told he was the New Bass There are publicity shots of the Band with Tab in and Heinz. Originally The Tornados were to be Heinz backing band but the Lads drew the Line at that- Also at this Time Chas Hodges deputized for Heinz on a Tour of Ireland
After the Release Of “The Ice Cream Man” Heinz Departed to begin His Solo Career- Brian Gregg from The again working with Colin Hicks replaced Heinz- we know have Johnny Kidd’s Backing Band The Pirates already at No.1 a Year or so ago with Shakin’ All Over-Brian Never Played on any single releases- but he did Play on 4 of the Tracks On The Tornados Album release “Away From It All” on Decca records-even chipping in with a Composition “Flycatcher”
After The Release Of Telstar The Tornados Played at many prestigious venues including the Olympia in France- only in the classic Line-Up-
However the Biggest blow to The Lads was the failure to go To America.Telsar had shot to No.1 the first UK Group No.1 ever to make it in the States 14 months before the Beatles made it- The Americans wanted the Tornados to tour the stumbling block was Larry Parnes who was Billy Fury’s manager as the Tornados were still backing them Larry was also the Tornados tour Manager and he refused to let the Tornados Go unless Billy Fury went as well a terrible mistake- A mistake which left a lasting effect on the members of the Tornados- a slightly less booby was not making Riding The Wind there follow up Disc written by george bellamy it entered the USA Charts at 63 and peaked at 32- it should have been the follow up in the Uk Not Globetrotter- well that’s Joe Meek for you
From 1964 Onwards the Line-Up of The Tornados suffered badly- after Heinz departed the next was as I have said Brian Gregg but he left quite quickly and was replaced By Ray Randall- George Bellamy who also tried a solo career with The Tom Paxton Number it failed George was replaced by Bryan Irwin a session Musician for Joe and another Guitarist who Joe wanted for the Outlaws- Bryan himself Told me that he knew that he was not a good enough Guitarist For The Outlaws- - So he joined the Tornados-His first record with them was Dragonfly whom Ray Randall also Played on Bass so the line _up Now was Clem Cattini Drums Alan Caddy lead Guitar (soon to be replaced by Stuart Taylor On lead Guitar- Ray Randall and Stuart Taylor Came from the same manor in North London and had played in a Band with Paul Nicholas Paul Dean & The problems-) Ray Randall Bass Bryan Irwin Rhythm Guitar and now Jimmy O/Brien on Keyboards. AS now Roger Laverne had departed to make his own Solo record “ Christmas Stocking” this line up played on Monte Carlo-with Blue Blue Beat written By Brian Irwin Bryan would later rerecord this tune and call it Gemini Uprising I have this tune great version-,-Exodus- and Granada which was on the Columbia Label- But it was all about to go pear shaped yet again-
For The Next release Early Bird The Tornados were joined By Roger Warwick saxophone Dave Watts Keyboards Dave Cameron (tex) From The Flee-Rekkers lead Guitar and Pete Adams Drums- there are rumours abound the Ritchie Blackmore played on the track and Mitch Mitchell doubt it Mitch was well away with Jimi Hendrix-- and my information from actual members denies this also so does Ritchie Blackmore whom I emailed
For Stingray there was No Roger Warwick one record only Early Bird and The B: side Stompin’ Thru The Rye- On Stingray were Bryan Irwin David Watts keyboards Dave tex Cameron lead and Pete Adams Drums The Final 2 releases were taken over by the Saxons plus Dave Watts the Saxons who had recorded Saxon Warcry with Joe Meek- the Saxons were Peter and Roger Holder Rhythm and Bass Guitar Robb Huxley lead Guitar and Vocals and John davis Drums along with Dave Watts. The Final 2 releases were Pop Art Goes Mozart and Is That A Ship I Hear
During The Line-Up Changes The Band were in situ in Yarmouth backing Billy Fury and Playing there own spot-- Other Musicians played with the Tornados There were various Particularly at Yarmouth there was Tony Marsh and Earlier Jim Cregan and Brian Goody stood in for a while many others have claimed to have played with the Tornados and even on Telstar-
The Tornados continued to play up until about 1967 again with various musicians depping joining and leaving-Unfortunately we have lost Heinz and Alan Caddy and Roger Lavern was very ill recently- but is making a full recovery-
TORNADOS RISE FROM THE ASHES
In 1989 Clem Cattini attended a gig by the so called Tornados in Corby Northants where a Band was doing the rounds as the Tornados-Clem was to put a stop to them using his name as Clem was Now Mr Tornado-
The Outcome was the resurgence of The Tornados featuring a Girl Singer Lyn Alice- On Bass The Great Dave Harvey- Lead Guitar and Vocals and Bip Wetherell Vocals & Keyboards-.Now though they were using the name the Tornados- and rightly so- You would of been disappointed if you went to watch them live as they were far removed from the original conception of The Tornados Sound-Those recordings could never be recreated onstage because of Joe Meeks Productions- However as a Band playing Pop Soul Rock & Roll and the original Tornados Instrumentals they were brilliant. Time as they say moves on-
The Tornados (now) as I always referred to them started in 1989 and are still going today- They played on various repacked Nostalgic 60s Tours with the Honeycombs Mike Berry Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers Billie Davis a tour Joe Meek would Of Loved - They played to packed houses up and down the Country and I spent 10 Years with them first as Roadie the Road Manager just for the hell of it I never got paid well the occasional Dinner-But all that is for another book
The Tornados (now) recorded quite a lot of material re-recordings of the original material firstly 2 cassettes and Now 2 CD’s you will see the full details of these later in the Discography--See “www.tornados.org.uk” under Tornados Now-on Tornados Page-
However a fatal blow beset the Tornados in 2001 when out of the Blue Lyn Alice Contracted Cancer and finally passed away as a result . A blow I don’t think Clem ever recovered from . The Band did go on again changing line-ups- Polly Raymond came in as the new Girl singer but as good as she is she could not replace Lynn - various other girl singers have also depped in for Lyn after her passing- Bip Wetherell Departed to be replaced by Kevin Earl- Then biggest shock of all Dave Harvey left to be replaced By Colin Farley from the Band Cutting Crew- Kevin Earl Left to be replaced by Chris Parren who played on George Michaels Careless Whispers- and Finally Colin Green from the Band Isotope came in on Keyboards , also Lead Guitarist from the Artwoods Derek Griffiths plays with them as The Tornados started doing a instrumental set only, and played at the Pipeline Convention a couple of years back with great success-Clem does take the Tornados out for some gigs as The Tornados playing only instrumental gigs all the back catalogue--
Tom Hammond Dorset 16th February 2006