Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornados - Archive Seriesdotdotdot
artworkThe Tornados were a major influence on the surfbands. They all played the Tornados' hit "Telstar." Joe Meek's remarkable compression and production wizardry created the foundation for their heavy primarily instro sound. Their vocals were sung by guitarist Heinz Bert.
Picks: Telstar, Jungle Fever, Love and Fury, Popeye Twist, Locomotion With Me, Globetrotter, Robot, Life On Venus, The Ice Cream Man, Theme From 'The Scales Of Justice', Hymn For Teenagers, Dragonfly, Joystick, Hot Pot, Monte Carlo, Blue, Blue, Blue Beat, Exodus, Blackpool Rock, Granada, Early Bird, Stingray, Pop Art Goes Mozart, Is That A Ship I Hear

Track by Track Review


Telstar dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

This is it, the Tornados signature hit. Brilliantly filled with damped plucking, rhythmic churn, and whirring space. Joe Meek wrote this tune. It is utterly unique in the annals of rock. Meek was the UK master of thick completely filled sound, compressed until totally flat, and very cool. This 1962 release has been done by a bazillion surf bands. A must have for any serious instro fan. It is the Tornados signature tune.

Jungle Fever dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

This was the B-side of "Telstar." It is beyond great. The compression is as much an instrument as any band member's implement of acoustic slaughter. Thick and utterly undynamic (the meters just sit there at zero VU plus-or-minus 1 dB), this is a masterwork of layered sound. The jungle noises, the growling organ, even the male chorus is superb. There is not another track like this anywhere.

Love and Fury dotdotdot
Space Fluff (Instrumental)

Moody pluckage, like the "Breeze and I" or something. I can't decide if I hate this or love it.

Popeye Twist dotdotdotdot
Cartoon Rock (Instrumental)

It's the theme from Popeye, all spaced out and carnival atmosphere. Thick and really bizarre. Too cool.

Locomotion With Me dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Among the rare tracks from the Tornados with vocals, even if only a chorus. The organ sound is not as interesting as others, but the drums are more drum like and distinct.

Globetrotter dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Organic thick pop sludge, with a melody that hints of "Venus In Blue Jeans," while being pretty darn syrupy under the dull roar. very strange sounding track.

Robot dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Talk about amazing! "Robot" opens with just about the best reverb kicks and deep crackling effects anywhere, then promptly evolves into a thick and dark stompin' monster.

Life On Venus dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

Space sounds, a news flash about sounds from Venus, and then a typical Tornados tune, melodic and a mix of MOR and space sludge. Amazing.

The Ice Cream Man dotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

What a grand concept! Childlike joy at the sound of the ice cream truck delivered in the cold sterile environ of the asteroid belt. Marvelously melodic and playful, thick and powerful.

Theme From 'The Scales Of Justice' dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

MOR and thick organ production, whirling like tape flutter used as art. Like a mall organ for the carnival.

Hymn For Teenagers dotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

MOR teeny bopper slush, whistling organ and brushed drums.

Dragonfly dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

Plucky and heavy, with guitar lead and a solid MOR melody line. Both gentle and thick, playful and thunderous.

Joystick dotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Playful Johnny and the Hurricanes sounding thing, organ led and choppy. If Joe Meek had produced Johnny and the Hurricanes, they'd have sounded like this, though Dave Yorko's guitar never sounded like this.

Hot Pot dotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Like an alternate tack of "Jungle Fever," this track sports a reverbed lead guitar and a plucky rhythm guitar. More rhythmic than melodic, still it's a weird blending of Joe Meek space rock and surf. Very cool!

Monte Carlo dotdotdot
Holiday Rock (Instrumental)

Whistlin' holiday theme song, rolling tour bus anthem, almost churchy. Excellent guitar tone and harp plucking.

Blue, Blue, Blue Beat dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Pretty darn fluffy and dismissible, despite Joe Meek's production and the band's sparkle. Reggae fluff, pretty and retirement home bound. Reggae fluff, pretty and retirement home bound.

Exodus dotdotdotdot
Mall Rock (Instrumental)

What a weird cover this is! Dramatic, cheesy, and very VERY weird. It's a cross between the mall organ salesman (Korla Pandit) and the wonderful world of Pink Floyd. Totally unique.

Blackpool Rock dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Whistlin' and a swirlin'... bouncy and simple, and on the weak side from a rock perspective.

Granada dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Pomp and circumstance abound as the Tornados cover Los Relampagos (I think) doing this standard. Chunky and spunky, yet fluidly soft, while menacing the calm.

Early Bird dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Rockets launch "Early Bird" into orbit. Harkening back to some of the post "Telstar" singles, "Early Bird" is tuff, yet sports a lightweight melody that's frothy, without being wimpy. Quite interesting.

Stingray dotdotdotdot
Space Surf (Instrumental)

This single sports bubbling water, near surf guitar, a fluid melody, and that trademark Tornados space rock darkness. It's been a fave for a very long time.

Pop Art Goes Mozart dotdotdot
Classical Weirdness (Instrumental)

Warped organ, harpsichord strangitude, mall organ quaint. Way odd, in a catchy sorta way.

Is That A Ship I Hear dotdotdot
Aquatic Weirdness (Instrumental)

First time on CD reissue, "Is That A Ship I Hear" sports an Indian beat, ringing chords, and the weirdest under water bubbly guitar ever, created by extreme tape flutter intentionally induced at uneven meter and intervals. Hokey, but so unusual that it gets the nod.