Heinz Burt, bass guitarist with U.K. rock group the Tornados when they scored a historic No. 1 with “Telstar” in 1962, died April 11 in London following a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gherig’s disease. He was 57.
The Tornados are widely credited as the first British pop group to make it to the top of the U.S. charts.
“People talk about the Beatles being the first British group to get to No. 1 in America, but they weren’t — we were,” Heinz once said.
The Tornados’ instrumental tune, a smash hit in many other countries around the world as well, was inspired by the Telstar satellite, which pushed back the barriers of space by beaming pictures across the Atlantic.
Heinz left the Tornados to become a solo singer, hitting the British top five with the Eddie Cochran tribute song “Just Like Eddie.”