Friday, August 31st, 2012


In the 1960’s when Phil Spector ruled American pop
music, we Brits crowned Joe Meek as our king. 
They were both very similar people. 
Flamboyant eccentrics bordering on insane monsters and complete control
freaks dependent on heavy drug use and exploiting young unknown talents, they
were geniuses nonetheless.
We learn in this intriguing bio-pic of his life, that Meek
was an unhappy gay man … tone deaf too … and a very cocky songwriter who ran a
small recording studio from a North London apartment incongruously situated over a handbag
store. He was one of the first  producers
to record instrumental and vocal tracks separately and merge them together, and
his experimentation with different sounds gave him his biggest hit ever (and
the first Brit to top the US charts ever) with the space travel influenced ‘Telstar’
for the group The Tornadoes.
Meek was a real manic mess who spent far more money than he made especially
on his gay male protégés who had limited musical talents, and this soon became a
breaking point for his Financial Backer Major Banks (uncomfortably played by
Kevin Spacey).  His success in the Hit
Parade with artists like Jess Conrad and John Leighton fueled his over-sized
ego and made him pass up on opportunities to record The Beatles, The Kinks &
Tom Jones.
Like Mr Spector he eventually spiraled totally out of
control but went one further and murdered his long suffering landlady before
killing himself.
This fascinating insight into this talented but tortured soul who played such a major part on developing British pop music when I was a kid
(!) was originally produced as a play in London’s West End.  Actor/writer Nick Moran has deftly directed this
movie adaption using the rather brilliant Con O’Neill to repeat his award
winning stage performance as Meek.
I love dipping into recent history especially when it
is done as well as it is here.  And if you do too, then this movie that was made in
2008, is now available on DVD most places.  One of Meek’s biggest successes was ‘Johnny Remember
.. and I think we will.
P.S. Scary thought. When ‘Telstar’ was top of the Charts
both sides of the Atlantic in 1962 is was played on all the airwaves all the
time. There was no escaping it.  So much so
that Margaret Thatcher chose it as one of the 10 Desert Island Discs!


Posted by queerguru  at  15:18


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