On This Day – The First UK Band To Have a US Number 1

On this day, 22nd December 1962 a British band had the first ever US number 1. Who was it?

It is one those irritating music trivia questions that most of us would get wrong.

It was Telstar by The Tonados (known as The Tonadoes in the USA).

They have another first to their name. They recorded the first ever openly gay song in pop history. It was a b side to their 1966 single “Is That A Ship I Hear?”

Their producer was the great Joe Meek, wracked with so many issues in his own life he felt that the instrumental needed a lift. So he added what seems a mild piece of conversation between 2 of the group’s members. There were references to going down to Picadilly, the centre of the gay scene London. Remember being gay was still a crime in those days and the reason for the obscure references becomes clear. Still, you have to think that it was a brave thing to do.

One disregarded band and 2 milestones, not bad going.


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