The Tornados – The Original Telstar (“The ’59”) #029

“The ’59” 2018 #029: 180129

The Tornados – The Original Telstar (1962)

The Tornados were essentially a backing group for many of record producer Joe Meek’s productions and also for singer Billy Fury. But they also enjoyed several chart hits in their own right, including the UK and U.S. No. 1 “Telstar” (named after the satellite and composed and produced by Meek), the first U.S. No. 1 single by a British group.

The Tornados (Dave Watts version) still perform concerts around the UK and Europe; the band consists of Dave Watts (keyboards), Shaun Corrigan on guitar for ’60s band the Symbols (“The Best Part of Breaking Up”), Pete Gill on bass from ’60s band The Rebounds, Jamie Thurston (vocals/guitar from ITV Heartbeat tour, “ITVtheRoyal”) and Tristan Long on drums (performed with Gareth Gates, Deacon Blue, Midge Ure, SKIN, Halloween, Foundations, Fortunes, etc.).


The Shadows (“The ’59”) #017

“The ’59” 2018 #017: 180117

The Shadows (1961)

The Shadows were formed from members of late 1950s UK skiffle groups: Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch, both inspired by US pop music, came from the Newcastle-based Railroaders (and also the Five Chesternuts on Columbia Records); and Jet Harris and Tony Meehan from London, both inspired by UK jazz–skiffle music, came from the Vipers Skiffle Group (on Parlophone Records). Originally the backing band for Cliff Richard, ‘The Shadows’ became an instrumental combo in their own right following their success with the Jerry Lordan composition “Apache”.

They disbanded in 1968, but Marvin and Welch formed a vocal–guitar trio with ex-Strangers member John Farrar, as Marvin, Welch & Farrar. Because of low sales and fans demanding Shadows numbers at gigs, the band re-formed in 1973 with Bennett as a full member and various extra musicians. It disbanded again in 1990 but re-formed in 2004–05 for a UK and continental European tour and again during 2009–10 to tour and release an album with a 50th anniversary reunion with Cliff Richard.

Their self-titled debut was released in September 1961 and went straight to No.1 in the UK album charts.

The Ventures – Walk don’t run (“The ’59”) #007

“The ’59” 2018 #007: 180101

The Ventures – Walk don’t run (1960)

The Ventures were on one of their first tours as Liberty Records began compiling their first album and were still on the road by the time of the front cover photo shoot. As a result, four employees from Liberty’s stockroom (with two wearing sunglasses) were posed as if they were falling or tripping over instruments with model Barbara Grimes walking in front of them. A photo of the actual Ventures was originally featured on the back cover, but to avoid possible confusion when compared to the “stand-ins” on the front cover it was replaced with an outline-drawn version of the same photo.

‘Walk don’t run’ – the Ventures’ debut – was recorded at Joe Boles’ home studio in Seattle, Washington, a local studio where other early Dolton artists also recorded. It was released on Liberty’s Dolton subsidiary in December 1960,

In 1969, the album was reissued by Liberty (having discontinued the Dolton label two years earlier but keeping the original stereo catalog number), featuring an updated photo of the group. By that time, the lineup consisted of Don Wilson, Bob Bogle, Gerry McGee, Mel Taylor and John Durrill, though only the former two appear on the album. The back cover with the outline drawing of the original photo was kept intact


Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Epic 2017 #192)

The Epic 2017 Project #192: 170711

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973)

Mike Oldfield was just 20 when Virgin records released Tubular Bells in 1973. Richard Branson’s record label wasn’t even a year old though.

It was the first album released by Virgin Records and an early cornerstone of the company’s success. Vivian Stanshall provided the voice of the “Master of Ceremonies” who reads off the list of instruments at the end of the first movement. The opening piano solo was used briefly in the soundtrack to the William Friedkin film The Exorcist (released the same year), and the album gained considerable airplay because of the film’s success.

The following year the piece was orchestrated by David Bedford for The Orchestral Tubular Bells version. It had three sequels in the 1990s, Tubular Bells II (1992), Tubular Bells III (1998) and The Millennium Bell (1999). Finally, the album was re-recorded as Tubular Bells 2003 at its 30th anniversary in 2003. A newly mixed and mastered re-issue of the original album appeared in 2009 on Mercury Records, with bonus material.

For the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, Oldfield rearranged segments from Tubular Bells for a segment about the National Health Service. This rendition appears on the soundtrack album, Isles of Wonder, and is included on the official BBC DVD release


Death in Vegas – Dead Elvis (Epic 2017 #051)

The Epic 2017 Project #051: 170220

Death in Vegas – Dead Elvis (1997)


Dead Elvis is the band’s debut studio album released on March 10, 1997 in the United Kingdom and on September 16, 1997 in the United States. This was the only Death in Vegas album to feature original member Steve Hellier. The British release features coloured Elvis graffiti on the cover, while the US version features a tattoo artist.

Death in Vegas was formed in 1994 by Richard Fearless and Steve Hellier and signed to Concrete Records under the name of “Dead Elvis”. However, there was an Irish record label of the same name at the time, and Dead Elvis became the title of their first album instead. Rankin Roger’s (of ‘The Beat’ fame) vocals feature throughout the album but most notably on the opening track – ‘All that glitters’ featured here.


Camel – Rajaz (Epic 2017 #030)

The Epic 2017 Project #030: 170130

Camel – Rajaz (1999)


I’m not going to say anything more about this album other than the word ‘Sahara’. Heard this on a Capital FM show late one night. Loved it but had no idea what it was or who it was by. Frustrating! Then they played it again a week later and this time told me. The album was snapped up the very next day.

‘Sahara’ is one of those tracks that quite simply does it for me. Every time. Can’t really put my finger on what that is. But when the guitar solo kicks in at towards the end, it hits something deep in my stomach and tears come almost event time. It is everything an instrumental need to be. And in absolutely every way. It quite simply is!


Santana – Soul Sacrifice (Leaping Ahead #232)

Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #232: 160819

[A festival song (2)]

“Soul Sacrifice” is an instrumental written and recorded by the American rock group Santana. Identified as one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival, itfeatures extended guitar solos by Carlos Santana and a stunning drum solo from Michael Shrive. It was one of the band’s earliest compositions. Carlos Santana recalled the group wrote it when bassist David Brown joined and describes it as

a perfect example of the amalgam of old-world guaguanco rhythms and strictly American licks