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Joe Meek

Not an artist in the traditional sense of the term (he couldn't play or sing at all) producer Joe Meek has nonetheless been belatedly recognized as an important, even inimitable, figure of early British rock & roll. Like Phil Spector, Meek developed idiosyncratic production techniques that, much more than the artists he worked with, stamped a vision of mad genius on his recordings. In Meek's case, this usually amounted to super-compressed sound, wavering sped-up vocals, ghostly backing violins and choruses, spooky echo and reverb, ticky-tack variable-speed piano, and all manners of Halloween and outer-space sound effects. The recordings were all the more remarkable for being produced not in a state-of-the-art studio, but in Meek's own bedroom-sized facility, located over a shop within the flat he rented.

Meek couldn't rightly be compared to Phil Spector -- he favored gawky, dippy teen idol fare for gawky, dippy teen idols, not the gutsy soul- and R&B-infused Wall of Sound. But he was a trailblazer in his own right -- even before Spector, he set up shop as rock & roll's very first independent producer of note, making recordings on his own terms and leasing them to labels for distribution. In the United States, he only scored big with the Tornados' "Telstar" (the first British rock & roll record to top the American charts, a year before the Beatles) and the Honeycombs' "Have I the Right." In the U.K., he produced scores of records, many of them flops, and many others hits, for the Tornados, Honeycombs, Screaming Lord Sutch, John Leyton, Heinz, the Outlaws (featuring Ritchie Blackmore for a time), and many more. Highly prized by some collectors, Jello Biafra noted in the book Incredibly Strange Music, Vol. 2, "You can tell a Joe Meek record a mile away."

Meek's business and production methods may have been ahead of his time, but his actual musical tastes actually started to run behind the times with the advent of the self-contained groups of the British Invasion. He actually recorded a few respectable efforts in the R&B/mod vein, but his career was in a severe spiral by the time his life ended in tragic circumstances in early 1967, when he shot his landlady and himself. John Repsch's book The Legendary Joe Meek (published in the U.K. only) is a biography of this fascinating figure. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Joe Meek: Portrait Of A Genius - The RGM Legacy

Disc 1

2. Yellow Rose Of Texas

3. The Next Train Out Of Town

4. It Feels So Good

5. Robin Hood

6. No Other Love

7. Bad Penny Blues

8. Lullabye

9. Lay Down Your Arms

10. Jailhouse Blues

11. Green Door

12. Petite Fleur

13. Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O

14. Garden Of Eden

15. Rock And Roll King Cole

16. Putting On The Style

17. Last Train To San Fernando

18. Sizzling Hot

21. A House A Car And A Wedding Ring

23. Rock Around The Mailbag

24. Blackout

25. Sea Of Love

26. Mr. Blue

27. What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For

Disc 2

4. Just Too Late

6. Heart Of A Teenage Girl

7. Angela Jones

8. North Wind

9. My Baby Doll

10. Once Upon A Time

11. My Baby's Gone Away

14. Johnny Remember Me

15. Sweet Little Sixteen

18. The Outlaws

19. Orbit Around The Moon

20. Husky Team

21. Entry Of The Globbots

22. Tune For Short Cowboys

24. Crazy Man Crazy

26. Dance Legless Russian

Disc 3

2. Telstar

4. Telstar

11. Globetrotter

12. There's Lots More Where This Came From

16. A Fool In Love

20. Just Like Eddie

23. Big Breaker

24. Sky Men

27. Please Let It Happen To Me

Disc 4

8. Have I The Right

12. I'm In Love With You

15. Little Baby

17. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

23. Movin' In

x

Track List: Songs In The Key Of Z, Vol.1

Disc 1

1. Philosophy Of The World

2. Walking The Cow

3. Walking On The Moon

6. Stout-Hearted Men

8. Jailhouse Rock

9. Virgin Child Of The Universe

10. Rock N' Roll McDonald's

12. At The Grass Roots

13. Cousin Mosquito #1

14. El Touchy

15. Standing In A Trash Can (Thinking About You)

16. Vampire Suite

17. Butterfly Mind

18. They Told Me I Was A Fool

19. Baby, Your Love's In Town

20. True Love

Disc 2

1. Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing

2. You're Out Of The Computer

3. America

4. You're Driving Me Mad

5. Cousin Mosquito #2

6. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

7. Touch Of Light

9. Stepping High Dance

10. Five Feet Nine And A Half Inches Tall

11. Recitation About Roy Acuff

12. Deep Bosom Woman

13. High-Speed

15. Jet Lady

16. The Birthmark Story

17. Heart Of The Heartland

x

Track List: Vampires, Cowboys, Spacemen And Spooks: The Very Best Of Joe Meek's Instrumentals

Disc 1

1. Night Of The Vampire

2. Ridin' The Wind

3. Theme From The Traitors

4. The Spook Walks

5. Green Jeans

9. Dance Legless, Russian

10. Husky Team

11. Swingin' Low

13. Taboo

16. Hatashiai (Japanese Sword Fight)

18. Just For Chicks

23. Pinto

24. Valley Of The Sioux

28. Can Can 62

30. Jungle Fever

Disc 2

1. Telstar

2. Sunday Date

4. Ambush

7. Tom Tom Cat

10. Lass Of Richmond Hill

11. Big Breaker

13. Wipeout

15. Reindeer Ride

17. Big Feet

19. There's Something At The Bottom Of The Well

21. Last Stage West

22. The Spy

24. Evening In Paris

26. Midnight In Luxembourg

27. Christmas Stocking

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johnnyohania n
"Fame is fleeting. Obscurity is forever. I’ll take obscurity."
~ Napolean

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His commercial success as a producer was short-lived and Meek gradually sank into debt and depression. On 3 February 1967, using a shotgun owned by musician Heinz Burt, Meek murdered his landlady before turning the gun on himself. Aged only 37, he died eight years to the day after his hero, Buddy Holly.
From Wikipedia

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