Joe Meek 1959-1966 recordings, RGM label, value £50 plus

JOE Meek (1929-1967) began his career as a sound engineer in the fifties with the BBC, writes MICHAEL BROOKS. He engineered a number of hits for artists as diverse as Lonnie Donegan, Tommy Steele, Frankie Vaughan, Marty Wilde and many others. In 1960 he founded his own record label, moved to 304, Holloway Road, North London, to a rented three storey large terraced house converted into flats, and with the help of second hand BBC improvised equipment, somehow turned it into a recording studio. All the rooms were available for recording sessions; musicians often found themselves playing on the first floor or the second, the singer(s) were on the third, the drummer could be found in the bathroom. Most of the music was recorded simultaneously. Later, Joe would dabble with the tapes and often mix the sound levels. He created a definitive sound, often eerie, almost futuristic, sometimes you would hear a song on the radio and you just knew it was a Joe Meek production.

His first number one was Johnny Remember Me/John Leyton, also Have I The Right/ The Honeycombs. He will mostly be remembered for writing and producing the instrumental Telstar by The Tornados, which became a number one hit record in almost every country in the world, including the USA; total sales are more than nine million copies.

During his time at Holloway Road, Joe recorded more than 600 tracks with well over 100 different artists, some of them went on to achieve success in their own right. Guitarist Chas Hodges as Chas 'n' Dave had several hit singles and Richie Blackmore founded the rock band Deep Purple. Clem Cattini drummer with The Tornados, became a highly sought after session drummer; to date he has played on 44 chart toppers.

Joe Meek committed suicide on February 3, 1967. He is still remembered as a pioneer in the field of popular music, his recording techniques revolutionised the way music was recorded throughout the world, his legacy can still be heard in the successful bands of today. The record 'Please Stay' by the Liverpool band 'The Cryin' Shames' was Joe's personal favourite, do give it a listen.

There is so much to say about Joe Meek. Not only is there a bench situated outside 304, Holloway Road, there is also a blue plaque on the wall which reads: Joe Meek Record Producer, The Telstar Man, Pioneer of Sound Recording Technology, Lived, Worked, and Died Here.