Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornados - Telstar - the Original Sixties Hits of the Tornadosdotdotdotdot
artworkWhere Phil Spector produced the Wall Of Sound, Joe Meek produced the Wall Of Noise! The Tornados were Joe Meek's crowning achievement in my book. He created with them a unique thick dangerous sound that cohabited with playful wistful melodies and electronics. Never before or since has the compressor been put to such good use, and certainly not used almost as an instrument in the recording. Some of their work was marginal, some exceptionally great. The band is Clem Cattini (ex-Johnny Kidd & the Pirates) - drums, Heinz Burt - bass and vocals, Alan Caddy (ex-Johnny Kidd & the Pirates) and George Bellamy - guitars, and Roger LaVern - keyboards. They were Billy Fury's backing band on his live dates.
Picks: Telstar, Jungle Fever, Globetrotter, Locomotion With You, Ridin' The Wind, Robot, Life On Venus, The Ice Cream Man, Theme From 'The Scales Of Justice', Dragonfly, Hymn For Teenagers, Dreamin' On A Cloud, Hot Pot, Joystick, Monte Carlo, Blue, Blue, Blue Beat, Exodus, Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue, Popeye Twist, Love And Fury

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.

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.

Locomotion With You 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.

Ridin' The Wind dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

In this highly melodic and thickly produced wall-of-noise masterpiece, earthly floating happiness cohabits with the darkly brooding expanses of space. Infectious and almost pretty, if any Joe Meek production can be so characterized.

The US version is much more like "Telstar" aurally than the lighter UK version.

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.

Dragonfly dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

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

Hymn For Teenagers dotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

MOR teeny bopper slush, whistling organ and brushed drums.

Dreamin' On A Cloud dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

MOR fluff, eerie elevator music, dark and dangerous when the elevator gets stuck.

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!

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.

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.

Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Plucky MOR fluff, like Paul Mauriat or someone, but more intense. It floats along OK, but sure is fluffy.

Popeye Twist dotdotdotdot
Cartoon Rock (Instrumental)

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

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.