Mild

Joe Meek was the 60s most experimental and infamous producer. He recorded all kinds of odd records in his flat at 304 Holloway Road while also hitting the number 1 spot with The Tornados otherworldly song Telstar (Margaret Thatcher’s favourite record but don’t let that put you off). There are various compilations of his stuff on the racks, you should have at least one. Meek was a somewhat troubled person, obsessed with the occult, and paranoid that the Metropolitan police were interviewing every gay man in London with the intention of getting him. He shot himself in 1967 after first shooting his landlady Violet Shenton. I remember reading about Meek back in 2000, trapped in the Bone Marrow Unit of Manchester Childrens’ Hospital. I went out at some point and bought I Hear A New World, Meek’s sci-fi  album done partly to test new stereosonic sound. Listening to it in the cubicle we were pretty much locked up in was bizarre- some of the album is amazing, some of it marred by squeeky-voiced Smash style aliens. I got a more than a few quizzical looks from the nursing staff.

Our old friend Andrew Weatherall named a 1994 12″ single after Joe Meek. I posted the A-side the other day. Ctel hadn’t heard it so here’s the flipside, similar but slightly different.

Glowing Trees Part 2

While we’re in Weatherall territory there’s a set he did for Dalston Superstore available for free download at Soundcloud, very much in the A Love From Outer Space/Masterpiece compilation vein.

4 Responses

  1. Co-incidentally SA, I've just this minute finished watching the feature film 'Telstar: The Joe Meek Story'. Fascinating and enlightening, as Meek's manic pioneering above the handbag shop in Holloway Rd spiralled out of control. I was unaware that Ritchie Blackmore, Chas Hodges (of Chas n Dave), Gene Vincent, late royalties and impurtuning were all part of the tale! Makes one wonder what would become of him as a music producer were he at his peak today?

  2. I've never seen the film and always quite fancied watching it. Will try to find a copy.The complexities of his career were way to much for me to distill into one post.

  3. I thought the film was a little disappointing in places. A bit daft and cartoony and overdone with flash backs and slo mos at times.It certainly encapsulated the dog eat dog world around the big bang of early 60s recording, the dark treacle world of uncertain financial backing, the vexed question of marketing, the variations on the all conquering Elvis look and sound, the persistant chance of being accused of plagiarism, the crooks, the competition and the struggle to be No 1, the finely detailed Holloway Rd of the day, the being gay at the wrong time in British history, the tightrope between genius and mental illness. I recommend that you see it though matey.

  4. I thank youctel

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