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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

A friend recently discovered a local connection for Clem Cattini. Nope. I hadn't heard of him either.

Born in Stoke Newington in 1937, he worked in his youth at his dad Luigi's cafe at 361 Green Lanes (now Galata on the corner of Lothair Road and, at the time, diagonally opposite the Harringay Arena.

Clem went on to be the drummer on more No1s, than any other British drummer. He was, (via wikipedia), "a member of The Tornados before becoming well known for his work as a session musician.

He 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 UK number one singles."

He does not seem to have been commemorated in any way either nationally or locally. Here's just a few on his No1s, an incredible selection:

  • "Shakin' All Over" - Johnny Kidd and the Pirates
  • "Telstar" - The Tornados
  • "It's Not Unusual" - Tom Jones
  • "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" - The Walker Brothers
  • "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" - Dusty Springfield
  • "Out of Time" - Chris Farlowe
  • "Green, Green Grass of Home" - Tom Jones
  • "Release Me" - Engelbert Humperdinck
  • "The Last Waltz" - Engelbert Humperdinck
  • "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" - Georgie Fame
  • "Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)" - Peter Sarstedt
  • "Something in the Air" - Thunderclap Newman
  • "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" - Edison Lighthouse
  • "Hot Love" - T. Rex
  • "Get It On" - T. Rex
  • "Telegram Sam" - T. Rex
  • "Kung Fu Fighting" - Carl Douglas
  • "When Will I See You Again" - The Three Degrees
  • "Barbados" - Typically Tropical
  • "So You Win Again" - Hot Chocolate
  • and "Is This the Way to Amarillo" - Tony Christie & Peter Kay

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It needs to be at least 20 after the person dies before a Blue Plaque application is considered.  Fortunately Mr Cattini is still with us!

Clem Cattini is not at all obscure although I didn't know about his time on Green Lanes--thank you for that.

Cattini is in some ways the British version of Hal Blaine of the Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles in the 1960s, playhing on so many songs as a session drummer. 

Hence now and then he is featured on a recording by someone who admires him or the Tornadoes in particular given the whole Joe Meek aspect, mystique and tragedy.  People like Paul Weller have recorded with Cattini. 

Remember that "Telstar" by the Tornadoes--a song he played drums on-- was to my recollection the first song ever to be No 1 both in the USA and the UK.  It was also, I believe, the first independent record label song in the UK to go to No 1.  (I knew this sort of trivia on command a lot better in days gone by.)

Cattini does deserve a blue plaque although where that ought to be should be determined. However, I think a prerequisite is that one has to have passed away and I believe he's still alive thank God. 

The surname was immediately familiar to me. I've checked and a relative of Clem's still lives on the Ladder. So, there was more than a passing connection.

Clem - legend...

I heard a story that he was engaged to do a rerecord of Shakin' All Over for an advert and the producer said "this has a very tricky drum solo, do you think you can handle it?" without realising that Clem played the original!

There are a raft of session men out there with astonishing records. Down in Chislehurst there was a trumpet player who was featured on dozens of hits. He fetched up running the Prince Imperial pub!

Thanks for sharing, great story, and a miniscule connection as the record co I work for owns the master rights to "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" - Edison Lighthouse.  Famously  - they had to recruit a bunch of people plus Tony Burrows to sing on TOTP as there was no band.  More info here:  The million-plus seller 'Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Grows)' was recorded by writers Tony Macaulay and Barry Mason using Burrows and other session musicians. When it became an instant hit, a group had to be rapidly assembled to perform the song on Top Of The Pops. Macaulay and Mason found a group called Greenfield Hammer who joined Burrows on TOTP as Edison Lighthouse.  As well as topping the chart in the UK and in Ireland, 'Love Grows...' was a major international hit. It reached number 5 in the US Billboard Hot 100, selling more than a million by April.

Looking for something else just now, I came across this snippet from the 1948 Post Office Directory:

Oh yes most definitely heard of him but didn't know of local connection.  Thanks.

Funny how things work out eh !   Saw a mention of Clem on Tottenham History web site just a couple days after seeing this post !  London buses come to mind.........

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