"'Telstar' is a 1962 instrumental record performed by The Tornados. It was the first single by a British band to reach number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (the second British recording to reach No. 1 on that chart in 1962, after Stranger on the Shore), and was also a number one hit in the UK. It was the second instrumental single to hit No.1 on both the US and UK weekly charts.
The record was named after the Telstar communications satellite, which was launched into orbit on July 10, 1962. It was written and produced by Joe Meek, and featured a clavioline, a keyboard instrument with a distinctive electronic sound. 'Telstar' won an Ivor Novello Award and is estimated to have sold at least five million copies worldwide.
This novelty record was intended to evoke the dawn of the space age, complete with sound effects that were meant to sound "space-like". A popular story at the time of the record's release was that the weird distortions and background noise came from sending the signal up to the Telstar satellite and re-recording it back on Earth. It is more likely that the effects were created in Meek's recording studio, which was a small flat above a shop in Holloway Road, North London.