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How Telstar turned local Tornadoes into Beat Ltd

By rob taylor  |  Posted: February 16, 2012

The Tornadoes, with bride Marlene on vocals.

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THOSE Black Country beat bands always seem to raise a smile amongst the Bugle readership, and one such group, the Tornadoes, made an appearance in the very first edition of this year.

Having seen that item, Michael Taylor of Swindon near Dudley got in touch via email to give us some further information, as well as the excellent brace of photographs reproduced here. Michael was guitarist in Bilston-based Danny Cannon and the Ramrods, and their later incarnation Herbie's People, who were themselves the subject of several Bugle features late last year. But prior to that, Michael was a Tornado, as he explains ...

Guitarist "Before those heady days I was rhythm guitarist/vocalist in the Tornadoes, who featured on page 17 of the Bugle 5th January issue, (that's me second from right, and I was married to Marlene Taylor the female vocalist). How young and slim we were! "I'd like to set the record straight. Firstly, we were not the same Tornadoes who had a massive hit with Telstar — as a matter of fact we felt obliged to change our name because of Telstar. We became known as Beat Ltd and were regular performers at the fabled Plaza Ballroom in Old Hill.

"Secondly, your article gave the impression that Marlene covered various Brenda Lee recordings on the Embassy record label which were sold through Woolworths.

This is not so — somebody did, but it wasn't Marlene.

 "The Tornadoes line up on the photo you published is Vic Evans — bass guitar, Marlene — vocals, Joe Leadbetter — drums, Mike Taylor — rhythm guitar, Ivan Hancock — lead guitar.

"I have supplied a couple more photos of the band — one features Marlene and the Tornadoes performing on her wedding day, the other shows the band in the Beat Ltd days, but I have no idea of the venue. The line up on the Beat Ltd photo is, from left to right: Ivan Hancock, Marlene Taylor, Joe Leadbetter, Mike Taylor and Vic Evans."

 Michael Taylor might in fact be familiar to many Bugle readers for his more recent career, rather than his beat band days. He has published nine novels, all set predominantly in the Black Country, the first of which was 1997's Eve's Daughter.

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