Rare Record Roundup
Zapruder! by the Tornados
In 1962 eccentric british record producer Joe Meek put together a band of studio musicians and named them the Tornados (spelled the Tornadoes in the U.S.). They had a massive hit with “Telstar” a spacey instrumental named after the AT&T communications satellite that went into orbit in July of 1962. “Telstar” was the first single by a british band to reach number #1 in the U.S.A. The massive popularity (5 million copies worldwide) of “Telstar” whetted the appetite of the Tornados and they tried to replicate that success with topically named instrumentals. Their first and rarest attempt was “Zapruder!” which was released three weeks after the Kennedy assassination. “Zapruder!” is essentially a reworking of “Telstar” with gunshots mixed in with the spacey sounds. The B-side was a slowed down version entitled “The Zapruder Twist”. America wasn’t ready for a novelty record about the Kennedy assassination and an embarassed London Records quickly pulled the ’45 from distribution. Today a mint copy of “Zapruder!” can fetch upwards of $1,000. The Tornados soldiered on for many years, with their last charting record “Apollo 11” in 1969 which was yet another reworking of “Telstar”. Their final recording was in 1973 with the experimental “18 minutes” which was eighteen minutes of silence stretched over two ’45’s, it was in response to The 18 minute gap in the famous Nixon Watergate tapes. It was a last gasp of a band trying to be relevant and was never released.