Album: Various Artists, Telstar: The Joe Meek Story (Universal)

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The Independent Culture

Joe Meek is often lazily dubbed "the English Phil Spector"; but despite the shared characteristics of their personal lives (independent spirit, short temper, paranoid psychosis, doomed recourse to gunplay), in the arena which defined their existences – music – they were poles apart.

Spector believed bigger was better, cramming phalanxes of pianists and guitarists into the studio to play identical parts in a Wall of Sound; whereas, hidebound by economics, Meek was forced to use his wits and technical genius to realise his visions. Accordingly, Spector's records are grandiose exercises in playing to the gallery, while Meek's are more solipsistic innovations. Meek was an inventor, Spector a mere arranger. Sadly, this soundtrack neglects to include anything from Meek's bonkers 1959 "outer space music fantasy" I Hear A New World, on which his talents were unleashed including the hits that built his reputation: John Leyton's haunting "Johnny Remember Me", The Honeycombs' stomper "Have I The Right", The Tornados' globe-orbiting success "Telstar", and raw rockers from Screaming Lord Sutch, Gene Vincent and Billy Fury, and a few too many tracks by Meek's beloved Heinz – an indication, perhaps, of the film's priorities.

Download this: 'Telstar', 'Have I The Right', 'Johnny Remember Me', 'Jack The Ripper', 'Be-Bop-A-Lula', 'Just Like Eddie'