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That’s the cover to the original Telstar album, not actually for this comp, which has a boring cover. You can totally just get disc one of this and be covered, if you want. -Ian!

Fifty-five Tornados tracks on two CDs may be 53 more than most casual listeners need, but this double-disc set justifies itself in the listening. To most Americans, and even most Britons, the Tornados were one-hit wonders, responsible for “Telstar” and not much else, but as this set shows, they did come up with some cool sounds and tunes under the guidance of producer/manager Joe Meek. “Robot” is nearly as pretty a tune as “Telstar” (it also charted in England at No. 17), and it sounds fresh, as something not nearly as widely heard for 36 years; “Life On Venus,” the B-side, is a very close second, almost a “son of Telstar.” “Ice Cream Man” was another British chart single, and offers the spectacle of Meek and the Tornados applying a Bo Diddley beat to their trademark sound.

Other highlights include lots of television themes, both material for actual use on the air and the group’s covers of such as material as “Stringray” and “Aqua Marina” from the sci-fi kids’ show Stringray. The material extends right into 1964 and the band’s attempts to compete in the area of vocal records, when it became clear that the public wasn’t too interested in instrumental rock & roll anymore. The annotation includes a beautifully detailed essay by Chris Welch, with extensive interview material on drummer Clem Cattini (the longest-tenured member of the Tornados) and Cattini’s recollections on each of the tracks here. In the end, there’s more to the Tornados’ sound and history than most of us knew, all revealed here.

-Bruce Eder,



One Comment

  1. Thank you!!

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