For the next couple of days, I am going to be looking at what was once referred to as the “British Beat Boom”. While it could be argued that it began with either Lonnie Donnegan (“Rock Island Line” or “My Old Man’s A Dustman”) or perhaps Lord Rockingham’s XI (“Hoots Mon”)…I have chosen The Tornados “Telstar” as the starting point for this examination.
British producer Joe Meek had already had big hits with singer John Leyton (notably “Johnny Remember Me”) – but I have always suspected that The Tornados were formed to be in the style of The Shadows (Cliff Richard’s backing band). How were they to know that “Telstar” would virtually wipe away the competition – internationally!?
It’s too long ago for me to remember the sequence clearly; did I hear “Telstar” on the AM radio before or after The Beatles?
Other stuff in the chart in
The astonishing feat of selling British music to America did not originate with “Telstar” – the previously mentioned Lonnie Donnegan had US singles (notably “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?”), and let’s not forget Mr. Acker Bilk “Stranger On The Shore” (also a
The timing is slightly “off” – Elvis Presley “Return To Sender” – big hit in England 12/13/62, big hit in the US 10/27/62. Evidence of how long it took to get from the
“Love Me Do” by The Beatles charted in October 1962. It only got to #17.
The British ‘beat boom’ reached