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Telstar, the first US no.1 by a British artist. One of the first mobile DJâ€™s. First to use compressors and limiters aggressively rather than correctively. First to print hot signals to tape. First to put microphones in front of, next to, or inside sound sources. First to experiment professionally with soundon-sound overdubbing. First to intentionally overload pre amplifier inputs. First to flange sounds using two synchronised recorders. Built one of the first spring reverb units. Englandâ€™s first independent producer-engineer.
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JOE MEEK SPEAKERS IN THE TREES
ROBERT GEORGE MEEK LONDON MEEK VS WHITE COATS 304 HOLLOWAY RD TECHMEEKS BUDDY HOLLY GEOFF GODDARD TELSTAR DISCOGRAPHY *FAMILY TREE SHOT TO DETAH CREDITS POSTERS
Robert George Meek “JOE” MEEK was born Robert George Meek at No.1 Market Square on 5th April 1929 in Newent, Gloucestershire, the son of a farming family. Joe’s Father, Arthur George Meek went by his middle name, he served with the Royal Field Artillery in Belgium during World War I, here he watched three of his brothers die in turn at the same machine gun post before having his horse blown from beneath him. George Meek suffered severe shrapnel wounds and ‘shellshock’ spending five years in military hospital. His injuries left him prone to violent outbursts of rage, sometimes lasting for days. Curiously a trate adopted by his son. When Robert was born his Grandmother called him “Joe” after one of her lost sons, and Joe Meek would go on to become a pioneer in music production. From a young age Joe was obsessed with electronics, as well as outer space. He received a toy gramophone for Christmas aged five. Meek would spend hours in a garden shed he wired up for electricity, filling it with
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electronic equipment, dismantling and reassembling radio’s and amplifiers, collecting and studying anything electrical. “I used to experiment with my gramophone, i
“He built a television from the chassis up.. signals were not being broadcast in Gloucester yet...” discovered that if you played the record at the end, on the run out groove you could shout down the sound chamber and it would be imprinted in the grooves.” He built a crystal radio aged nine, and even built a working television from the chassis up before anybody in Newent had one, Joe unfortunately had nothing to watch but a small white dot, television signals were not being broadcast in Gloucestershire yet. Meek was obviously well ahead of his time.
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THE MEEKS ALSO HAD a cherry orchard, in picking season Joe’s brothers would shoot the starlings who would eat the cherries, Joe didn’t like shovoting birds, so he wired speakers in the trees, blasting the birds with noises, scaring them away. Growing up Joe Meek’s father conscripted him to an office job as an estate agent. Joe had no interest in reality or this job, but a year later he was summoned for national service, rather than opting out on a farm worker exemption like his brother, Meek sat an exam in radar and him and one other young man were selected out of 2,000 applicants. After two months training he began working in remote radar shacks,
monitoring aircraft early warning equipment. Here Joe spent a lot of time staring at the stars, enhancing his interest in outer-space. In those lonely days Meek also says this is when he became fully aware of his homosexuality. Joe must have found being isolated in a shed full of equipment strangely familiar. “During my time in the services i experimented with wire recording and disc cutting; this fascinated me more than anything else. ”Leaving the Armed forces in 1950 Joe Meek decide to leave for London and find a job connected with recording.
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London JOE DIDN’T HEAD for London immediately. Instead he took a job repairing televisions at a small shop called Curry’s. His Boss, Mr North recalled “He was ambitious, and made known his interest in advanced electronics and noises.” Joe left Curry’s and took a job with the much larger company the Midland Electricity board, here he worked off-site, allowing him some autonomy. Joe’s Boss allowed him time to work on his own interests, he built a hand held tape recorder and even a fully mobile DJ rig. On the side of which he painted ‘RGM’ his initials and an adaptation of the notorious MGM studios. At the end of summer 1954 Joe Meek finally headed for London, he took a job in a film dubbing room but this failed to capture his imagination, within two weeks he was fixing televisions again at Stones radio shop Two months later however came Meek’s first major job in recording, he was offered a job in the projection room at the International Broadcasting Company (IBC), his talent obvious he quickly worked his way up and he soon enough he was a Junior Engineer, learning how to professionally edit tape for broadcast, before long he was Chief Recording Engineer on remote recordings. By 1956 Joe Meek was recording songs hitting the top 10 such as Edmund Hockridge’s ‘Young and Foolish.’ Meek met a man named Dennis Preston and in
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MEEK FOUND HIMSELF at ends with the traditional ways of recording, and the men behind them, men in white coats who worked in a scientific controlled manor, far from the futuristic and experimental approach Joe would develop. Joe was not much loved by some of his bosses at IBC, nor engineers throughout his career. Record companies and their cutting engineers would refuse to master some of his recordings, saying they would damage domestic speakers. “He would say, ‘the rotten pigs, they should just bloody do as I say’ ”, remembers Adrian Kerridge, who worked with Joe. “ ‘I know what I’m doing’, he would say.” Joe had to face engineers who thought they were producers telling him, “it’s just too distorted.” Meek was totally misunderstood at the time. Though there might have been baffling funny noises at the beginning and at the end of Meek’s records but, his critics had to admit, the kids were buying them. Denis Preston, Joe’s friend and colleague recalls “He was slightly ahead of what the equipment could do for him. He was anticipating the the future without the equipment to do it, because it didn’t exist yet. Joe had a concept of sound i really and sincerely think ten years ahead of its time. It was this difference that drove Meek to leave IBC and not many were sad to see him go, he needed his own environment to achieve what he wanted, he needed his own studio and with it the freedom he craved.
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304 Holloway Rd Robert George “Joe” Meek (5 April 1929 Newent, Gloucestershire–3 February 1967 in London) was a pioneering English record producer and songwriter. His most famous work was The Tornados’ hit “Telstar” in 1962, which became the first record by a British group to hit #1 in the US Hot 100. It also spent five weeks atop the UK singles chart, with Meek receiving an Ivor Novello Award for this production as the “Best-Selling A-Side” of 1962. Meek’s other notable hit productions include “Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O” and “Cumberland Gap” by Lonnie Donegan (as engineer), “Johnny Remember Me” by John Leyton, “Just Like Eddie” by Heinz, “Angela Jones” by Michael Cox, “Have I the Right?” by The Honeycombs, and “Tribute to Buddy Holly” by Mike Berry. Meek’s concept album I Hear a New World is regarded as a watershed in modern music for its innovative use of electronic sounds. Joe Meek was also producing music for films, most notably Live It Up! (US title Sing and Swing), a 1963 pop music film starring Heinz Burt, David Hemmings and Steve Marriott, also featuring Gene Vincent, Jenny Moss, The Outlaws, Kim Roberts, Kenny Ball, Patsy Ann Noble and others. Meek wrote most of the songs and incidental music, much of which was recorded by The Saints and produced by Meek. His commercial success as a producer was short-lived and Meek gradually sank into debt and depression.
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TechMeeks MEEK RAN PRACTICALLY EVERY SOUND through compressors; routinely ran his input and tape levels into the red; drenched nearly everything in reverb, echo, and delay; recorded bass big enough to cause the stylus to jump the grooves; he at times added homemade sound effects; and often sped everything up to give it more personality. All this at a time when British recording studios resembled laboratories, engineers were scientists dressed in white coats with pocket protectors, and every aspect of recording was carried out with the intention of producing the cleanest possible product. This is why Joe Meek was so revolutionary. Velenibh endre molore feuguerci et essi bla consenibh el ullum doloreet, commodignit duisit praessit endre facipit autatio conullummod et am quametu eriuscillam augiam. In eugiamet vulla corerat. To od et dolorpe raesent lore commolor se dignibh enis am augiam, quatem nisi ex er sum zzril ing ero consequisit landreros num euisl deliquissi et volorerci te feui tionull. Et aut ea feuisl dolum aliquis erci exercilis alit, susto doloboreet velestie conse dolortis.
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Buddy Holly BUDDY HOLLY died in a plane crash on February 3rd 1959 near Clear Lake Iowa, USA, along with Ritchie Valens and J.P ‘the Big Bopper’ Richardson, a day referred to as ‘the day the music died.’ Joe Meek was a Buddy Holly fanatic, he predicted the date of Buddy’s death, however he did get the year wrong, and story has it he handed Buddy Holly a note before a show as warning. In 1961 Mike Berry and the Outlaws released ‘A Tribute to Buddy holly’ written by Joe’s writing partner Geoff Goddard and recorded by Joe himself and reaching number 24 in the charts. The song was both loved and hated by fans of the Texan Rock ‘n’ Roller.
A tribute it was, resembling early BuddyHolly tapes and featuring a drum beat reminiscent of the style of Holly’s ‘Peggy Sue.’ Some fans though, felt Buddy Holly’s name was being exploited for the purpose of record sales and profit.
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Geoff Goddard JOE MET GEOFF GODDARD, a strange boy from Reading with a Berkshire accent, an interest in spiritualism, and a musical talent at an audition arranged by a publisher and listened intently before solemnly declaring, “I shall call you Hollywood”. The title bestowed, Goddard wasn’t happy until he had secured the prefix Anton. Anton Hollywood’s career was short-lived, however Goddard’s seemingly effortless way with the all-conquering catchy tune quickly made itself known. Joe was looking for a song for TV actor John Leyton, on the make on the pop scene like so many others who saw a second wage to be snatched from the hands of the emerging teenage market. Geoff knocked up ‘Johnny Remember Me’ in ‘ten minutes’. He could not have known that this breathless camp classic, chock full of orchestral flourishes
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and windswept drama, complete with a death disc defining lyric which still resounds any time you choose to listen to it, would be the canvas for perhaps the most famous session at Holloway Road. There was a string section on the stairs, singers in the bathroom, the Outlaws cramped into the front room of the studio floor, and Joe Meek, like some primitive scientist of sound, twisting and tweaking his way to pop perfection. The success cemented Meek’s growing friendship with Goddard. “He was a country boy in London, like me”, says Goddard. “We had something in common. We were outsiders, I suppose”. Here was someone who wouldn’t let Joe down.. it didn’t save him from the Meek temper, however. Session drummer Bob Graham remembers Joe punching Geoff in the ear because he couldn’t stop coughing during
a take. “ ‘You’re only looking for attention’, he screamed at him.” Goddard himself recalls arriving late for a session. “Joe screamed at me‘You fucking bastard’, something like that. I jumped up and shouted something back into the microphone. We all waited for a minute or two in silence. Then this strangulated voice came from the control room- ‘It’s all over, it’s all over.’ We heard him run down the stairs. I said to the arranger, Charles Blackwell, that I might as well go back home to Reading. He said I should just wait a while. About ten minutes later. Joe bounded back in the room with a big smile on his face”.
Geoff Goddard was a regular in contacting the dead through seance, and training to be a medium. ‘Johhny Rememeber Me’ apparently he says, came to him “from beyond the grave”, Goddard says it came to him from the ghost of Buddy Holly. Joe Meek would contact the dead with Geoff Goddard, often Buddy Holly, another story has it that when they questioned the spirits on the success of ‘Johnny Remember Me’ the response- from Buddy Holly- was “see you at number one.’ Aswell as ‘A Tribute to Buddy Holly’ Goddard and Joe also produced ‘Just Like Eddie’ a song they wrote for Joe Meeks golden boy, Heinz, and a tribute to Eddie Cochrain. The song reached number 5 in the charts. Cochrain was killed in a car crash on April 17th 1960. Just a year after Buddy Hollys plane crash.
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TELSTAR was the best-selling British single of 1962. It was also the first song by a British group to hit #1 in the US. This did not happen again until The Beatles “I Want To Hold Your Hand” in 1964. Recorded at 304 Holloway Rd, the song apparently came to Joe Meek in a dream after witnessing the first ghostly images from the Telstar Satellite, beamed across the Atlantic from the United States. Awoken by this dream in the middle of the night, Joe took a tape of “Try Once More,” which he’d written with Geoff Goddard and sang a frenzied wordless melody
over the top. Geoff Goddard and The Tornados effectively ‘re-wrote’ Telstar from this recording. His most famous work, Telstar earned Meek an Ivor Novello award, and a gold disc selling over five million copies worldwide. A French composer named Jean Ledrut sued Meek for plagiarism, claiming that the tune from “Telstar” had been lifted from the score of the 1960 film Austerlitz. The law suite froze the income of Joe’s royalties, the lack of funds for equipment and artist’s wages later attributing to Joe’s downfall.
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Discography FROM 1960 until his premature death six years later, Joe Meek released 245 singles, 45 of which made the Top 50. Ommy nostio eraesse quipsuscil el erit prat lutat, consed dolessis eu faciduipis adit lobor sum vent lutat. Is duis ea amet at. Duisisl dio el et aliquisi et, quat. Nim ate molore magna conse magna feummy num ip ercil ullum illuptat. Enibh eugiatum vel exer acidunt lutat alit nibh ea conulluptate venibh etue conulla feum zzrit praessit praessed eum quipsum volore mod magniate magna faccum iriure dit ulla facil eummy numsan utatum zzrit veraesectet nim augiam eraese te modolor alit wiscip ea consequat. Ut nulland iamconulput ut veliquiscil utatet ullaor sissis nullum zzrilit nos nibh euis eugait praessequi endre conulla con enit num el dolor sit, core ero core tem illa facillan ullut acilit ute consendre faccum velisl erostrud ming endit am quisl utpatue dolorero ercillaore elit, sed eriuscilla alisit la feum inisi. Alisi. Ibh eugue facincilla Putat ullutpat. Ut dolore moloreetum zzrilisl deliquate core dolesti nciliquisse venisit in hendipi scilit veniat lortinc illamcon vel ulluptat, quatincilit loreetum duis nonsed tie velit.
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ON FEBRUARY 3RD 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. eniat diat. Volenit iriure cortism olessit digna feummolore digna con euis aut elent nis aciliquis nullandre feugueraesto od do odipisl el ipsustis adipsus ciduis nibh exer sumsandiam qui enis dolore dipit in vent euiscil euisi. Gue minibh esequatum in exeraes tisisl ut nonse dolor alis nonum quatie mod euis ea consequ ismoles equismo dolortis at dit augait, sustrud dolor si. 40 JOE MEEK
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