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Telstar The Tornados (Decca (UK)/London (U.S.) Records, 1962)

Telstar was the second instrumental recording to hit #1 in both the U.S. and the UK in 1962. Telstar was written and produced at Joe Meek for the British band The Tornados. In fact, Telstar was the second British recording to top the charts that year (the other being Stranger on the Shore). Telstar was named after the communication satellite that launched in July 1962.

A lawsuit was launched against Meek by a French composer Jean Ledrut claiming that Telstar had copied his piece La Marche d’Austerlitz for the 1960 film Austerlitz. The suit prevented Meek from receiving royalties during his lifetime. The issue was settled three weeks after Meek’s suicide in his favor in 1967. Austerlitz has not been released in the UK until 1965 so there had been no way for Meek to have known about the similarities by the March 1963 lawsuit filing.

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