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The Man Who Said 'No' To Led Zeppelin
Birthday shout-out to drummer Clem Cattini, Titan of British music
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of the most prolific drummers in British music history, Clem Cattini (still pounding the skins at age 85).
You might not know his name, but you’ve certainly heard his drumming. His career blasted off with The Tornadoes, the legendary instrumental band that gave us the futuristic “Telstar,” an international #1 hit in 1962.
Then he was hired by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates and played on the seminal version of “Shakin’ All Over.”
From 1965 on Clem became the “go-to” session man, appearing on recordings by (A-Z): Brian Auger, Bay City Rollers, Jeff Beck, The Bee Gees, Marc Bolan, Joe Cocker, Donovan, Edison Lighthouse, Justin Hayward, Herman’s Hermits, The Hollies, The Kinks (and solo spin-offs), Tom Jones, Lulu, Paul McCartney, Roy Orbison (who Clem also toured with), Gene Pitney, Lou Reed, Cliff Richard & The Shadows (and their spin-offs), Chris Spedding, Paul Weller, The Yardbirds, and scores of others that space doesn’t permit to name. All told, Clem’s drumming is on 42 Top 10 international hit records and literally 100s of other recordings.
Clem was also short-listed for Led Zeppelin but he was too busy and the chair went to John Bonham (sidebar: both of them double-drummed on Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man”):
In 2019 Clem released his autobiography MY LIFE, THROUGH THE EYE OF A TORNADO. My latter-day connection to Clem is through my musical colleague and friend Chris a.k.a. Tim Andrews, who recorded “Angel Face” with Clem on drums—recorded at Abbey Road with The Beatles just down the hall:
Meanwhile, thank you Clem for your incredible resume and your years of great drumming on so many songs that give people joy.
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