1937 – Born on this day, Clem Cattini, drums, The Tornadoes (1962 UK & US No.1 single ‘Telstar’). The first major hit from a UK act on the American chart. Cattini has featured on a record 44 different UK number one singles, from artists such as Tom Jones, T. Rex, The Seekers, Bay City Rollers, Rolf Harris and Hot Chocolate.
Clem Cattini (born Clemente Anselmo Arturo Cattini, 28 August 1937, Stoke Newington, North London, England), is an English rock and roll drummer who was a member of The Tornados before becoming well known for his work as a session musician. He is one of the most prolific drummers in UK recording history, appearing on hundreds of recordings by artists as diverse as Engelbert Humperdinck and Lou Reed, and has featured on a record 44 different UK number one singles.
Life and career
Born to Italian parents living in London, Cattini worked in his father’s restaurant before deciding to pursue a career in music. He began as a drummer at The 2i’s Coffee Bar, backing performers such as Terry Dene, before joining the touring band backing singers managed by Larry Parnes, including Marty Wilde and Billy Fury. He then joined Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, playing on their hit “Shakin’ All Over”, before helping found The Tornados in 1961 and playing on their international # 1 hit “Telstar”. In 1965 he joined The Ivy League, and then started work as a session musician.
Cattini has played on at least 44 UK number 1 singles, including “Telstar”, Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”, and “(Is This The Way To) Amarillo” by Tony Christie and Peter Kay. He also played in the orchestra for BBC TV’s Top of the Pops, and toured with Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison and many others. He was considered for Led Zeppelin on a couple of occasions – he was initially on Jimmy Page’s shortlist of drummers when forming the band before they settled on John Bonham, and was asked to join for a brief spell in 1975 but turned down the offer. He had earlier played alongside John Paul Jones on Donovan’s hit single “The Hurdy Gurdy Man.”
In the 1990s he reactivated The Tornados’ name for tours.
He recently recorded the drums for the track “No Tears Left To Cry” from Paul Weller’s new album Wake Up the Nation. He was portrayed by James Corden in the 2009 film Telstar.