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The Tornados were an Englishmarker instrumental group of the 1960s which acted as in-house backing group for many of record producer Joe Meek's productions.


The Tornados also enjoyed several chart hits in their own right, including the UKmarker and U.S.marker Number One "Telstar" (named after the satellite and composed by Meek). It was the first U.S. #1 by a Britishmarker group. Since World War II only three British singles had topped the U.S. chart: "Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart" by Vera Lynn in 1952 - before the Billboard 100 charts were produced, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" by Laurie London (which only topped the Billboard chart of 100 songs most played by disc jockeys) in 1958, and "Stranger on the Shore" by Acker Bilk in 1962, the first to top the combined list now called the Hot 100, doing so 4 months before Telstar. For a time the Tornados were considered serious rivals to The Shadows. The Tornados single "Globetrotter" made it to number 5 in the UK Singles Chart, but when bassist Heinz Burt left in 1963 for a solo career, the group began to fall apart. By 1965 none of the original lineup remained. Later lineups were therefore credited as Tornados '65 and The New Tornados.

A scopitone film (an early form of music video) was made for Telstar, and another was made 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.

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 UKmarker #1 singles.

Rhythm guitarist George Bellamy is the father of Matthew Bellamy, frontman for British rock band Muse.

In 1975 four of the five original members tried an unsuccessful comeback as the Original Tornados.

Do You Come Here Often?

The B-side on the final single that the group released in 1966 ("Do You Come Here Often?") is now generally acknowledged to be the first openly "gay" pop record released in the mainstream. It started off as a standard organ-inspired instrumental, but about two-thirds into the song, a conversation between what is intended to be two gay men at a bar occurs. The song was featured, along with other gay-flavoured releases, on a CD compilation, Queer Noises.


Tornados 65 (on "Early Bird" and "Stingray" singles)
Bryan Irwin (rhythm guitar), Dave Cameron (lead guitar), Peter Adams (drums), Ray Randall (bass guitar), Roger Warwick (tenor saxophone)

The New Tornados (1966 singles, The Saxons renamed plus David Watts (keyboards))
  • John Davies, Robb Huxley, Pete Holder, David Watts, Roger Holder.

Original Tornados
In 1975 Clem Cattini, Roger LaVern, Heinz Burt and George Bellamy reunited and released a version of "Telstar".



  • "Love and Fury" (Meek) / "Popeye Twist" (Cattini) (Decca F11449, 1962)
  • "Telstar" (Meek) / "Jungle Fever" (Goddard) (Decca F11494, 1962) - UK & U.S. Number 1
  • "Globetrotter" (Meek) / "Locomotion With Me" (Decca F11562, 1963) - UK Number 5
  • "Robot" (Meek) / "Life On Venus" (Meek) (Decca F11606, 1963) - UK Number 19
  • "The Ice Cream Man" (Meek) / "Scales Of Justice (Theme)" (Decca F11662, 1963) - UK Number 21
  • "Dragonfly" / "Hymn For Teenagers" (Meek) (Decca F11745, 1963) - UK Number 41
  • "Joystick" (Meek) / "Hot Pot" (Meek) (Decca F11838, 1964)
  • "Monte Carlo" / "Blue Blue Beat" (Irwin) (Decca F11889, 1964)
  • "Exodus" / "Blackpool Rock" (Cattini) (Decca F11946, 1964) - Number 41
  • "Granada" / "Ragunboneman" (Meek) (Columbia DB7455, 1965)
  • "Early Bird" (Meek) / "Stomping Thru The Rye" (Tornados) (Columbia DB7589, 1965)
  • "Stingray" (Gray) / "Aqua Marina" (Gray) (Columbia DB 7687, 1965)
  • "Pop-Art Goes Mozart" (Mozart arr. Meek) / "Too Much In Love Too Hear" (Gale; Holder) (Columbia DB7856, 1966)
  • "Is That A Ship I Hear" (Meek) / "Do You Come Here Often?" (Tornados) (Columbia DB7894, 1966)
  • "Telstar" / "Red Rocket" (as Original Tornados, SRT 1975)


  • The Sounds of The Tornados (Decca DFE 8510, 1962)
"Ridin The Wind"; "Earthy"; "Dreamin On A Cloud"; "Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue"
  • Telstar (Decca DFE 8511, 1962)
"Love and Fury"; "Popeye Twist"; "Telstar"; "Jungle Fever"
  • More Sounds from The Tornados (Decca DFE 8521, 1962)
"Chasing Moonbeams"; "Theme from A Summer Place"; "Swinging Beefeater"; "The Breeze And I"
  • Tornado Rock (Decca DFE 8533, 1963)
"Ready Teddy"; "My Babe"; "Blue Moon of Kentucky"; "Long Tall Sally"


  • Away From It All (Decca LK4552, 1964)
"Indian Brave" / "Flycatcher" / "Lullaby For Guilla" / "Dreams Do Come True" / "Costa Monger" / "Lonely Paradise" / "Chattanooga Choo Choo" / "Rip It Up" (Vocal) / "Cootenanny"/ "Night Rider" / "Hymn For Teenagers".

Foreign releases

  • The Original Telstar: The Sounds of the Tornadoes (U.S. 1962)
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"

Billy Fury

From January 1962 to August 1963, The Tornados were the backing band of Billy Fury, they toured and recorded with him as The Tornados. Their recordings were produced by Mike Smith and Ivor Raymonde, not by Joe Meek. In the 1970s Billy Fury formed a new backing band called Fury's Tornados with a completely unrelated line-up. They even recorded and released a version of "Telstar" in the mid 1970s.

At the present time, members of Fury's Tornados act in The Billy Fury Story starring Colin Gold as Fury. These are Charlie Elston, Chris Raynor, Graham Wyvill and John Raynor.


  • Billy Fury and The Tornados (Decca DFE 8525, EP, recorded 8 and 11 January, and released 30 March 1963)
"Nobody's Child"; "What Did I Do"; "I Can't Help Loving You"; "Keep Away"
  • Billy Fury and The Tornados: We Want Billy! (live, recorded 30 April 1963) (Decca (S)LK4548, released October 1963)


  1.,,1942723,00.html "Meek by name, wild by nature" by Jon Savage
  2. Billy Fury and The Tornados ep (1962)
  3. The Billy Fury Story featuring Fury's Tornados
  4. Billy Fury and The Tornados ep

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