The modern telecommunications age began 58 years ago. So what does that have to do with music? This.

On this date in 1962, the US launched Telstar, the first communications satellite, was launched into orbit. Once it was aloft, it began relaying television signals, telephone calls and, er, telegraph messages.

The public was so enthralled by Telstar that it inspired weirdo/savant British music producer Joe Meek to write “Telstar,” an instrumental credited to a band called The Tornadoes.

That track hit number one in both the UK and the US. In fact, the Tornados are the answer to the question “Which British act was the first to have a number one hit in America?”

Normally, the Tornados were the backing band Meek used for singer Billy Fury. The success of “Telstar” enabled them to set out on their own.

During their best years, the band included a guitarist name George Bellamy. But because of a bad back, he had to bow out of touring. He was able to establish himself as a session player, even being hired by Beatles producer George Martin from time to time. He is now a member of a pick-up band called Rough Terrain.

Oh, and one other thing: His son is Matt Bellamy, the leader of Muse.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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