Clem Cattini – A Great Rock and Roll Drummer

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Clem Cattini is an English rock and roll drummer, who was a member of the Tornados before becoming well known for his work as a session musician. He was born on 20 August 1937 in North London, England.

Clem Cattini is the legendary drummer whose career spans over 60 years, beginning in the mid-1950s with Terry Kennedy’s Rock and Rollers who played gigs across London.

Clem Cattini
Clem Cattini

Clem Cattini Biography

Clem Cattini was part of a small group of stars of early English rock. He became one of Britain’s greatest drummers in the 1960s and ’80s in the pre Beatles period. He was born in 1937 Clement Anselmo Cattini in Stoke, Newington London, and was part of hundreds, if not thousands, of children that evaded their homes.

Cattini was born in London, England. He started playing drums in the early 1950s when he was 16 years old and became a professional musician in 1954. In 1955 he started playing with Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists, where he met his future long-time friend and colleague, Joe Moretti. The group played around England and in Germany.

66 years old and became a professional musician in 1954. In 1955 he started playing with Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists, where he met his future long-time friend and colleague, Joe Moretti. The group played around England and in Germany.  Clem’s career included a decade as a member of The Top of the Pops Orchestra. He was approached for tours by numerous stars, as well as being headhunted for the band that would become Led Zeppelin, and also for Paul McCartney’s Wings, both of whom he decided to politely turn down.

In 1962, Cattini joined the Tornados, one of the first British rock bands. In 1963, the band had a #1 hit in the UK with “Telstar”, which was written by Joe Meek and used as the theme tune for the science-fiction television series. It became a #1 hit in the United States as well, reaching #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became the first UK record to stay at number one for over a month in early 1962. It stayed at number one for three weeks, spent nine weeks in the top ten, and another 14 in the top 20

Clem Cattini played on many other Joe Meek recordings over the years, including “Angels with Dirty Faces” by Screaming Lord Sutch. He recorded on hundreds of singles during the 1960s for artists including Cilla Black, Adam Faith, Billy Fury, and Tom Jones.

In 1966 Cattini joined the Joe Meek backing band, Hermans Hermits and appeared on “You Won’t Be Leaving”. He became a member of The Nashville Teens, a 1960s British rock band who had a #1 hit in 1964 with “Tobacco Road” and also played with Steve Marriott.

Clem Cattini is still working today (2011) playing drums with Joe Moretti’s Rockin’ Guitars on many dates throughout Europe. His website clemcattini.com was launched in August 2011 to coincide with their album “25 All-Time Classics”.

Cattini as a Musician

Cattini has also worked extensively as a session musician, playing drums on recordings by artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, and Tom Jones. In 1965 he played percussion on the hit song “The Carnival is Over” by The Seekers. In 2000, Cattini was voted the best drummer of all time in a poll for Sky TV, beating off competition from Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and John Bonham.

Clem Cattini Performing
Clem Cattini performing

In addition to his recording career, Cattini has been a member of the touring bands of Cliff Richard and Adam Faith. Cattini’s work also includes drumming on two singles by UK pop singer Kim Wilde – “Cambodia” and “Kids in America”. Cattini lives in Surrey, England. He has a son, Lee, and a daughter, Tessa.

Clem Cattini is one of the most prolific drummers in UK recording history, appearing on hundreds of recordings by artists as diverse as Cliff Richard and Lou Reed, and has featured on 42 different UK number one singles.

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