Joe Meek & EVP
Robert George "Joe" Meek (5 April 1929 – 3 February 1967) was an English record producer and songwriter who pioneered experimental pop music. His best-remembered hit is 'Telstar' by The Tornados which became the first British number one in the USA as well as many other countries including the UK. His other hits included John Leyton and 'Johnny Remember Me' and The Honeycombs 'Have I The Right'. From 1954 to his death in 1967 he was regarded as the best recording, composer and sound engineer of his day and in many ways remains the god father of experimental pop. Joe Meek was considered Britain's answer to American producer Phil Spector.

He is a man I have long admired and researched. His many inventions included compression to enhance sound, reverb, echo and EQ. No one in his time knew more about recording sound than Joe Meek.

The intro on the recording of Telstar sounds like a rocket, the name of the track Telstar was a dedication to the USA satellite Telstar. To get the sound Joe Meek recorded a loo flushing, slowed it down and then played it backwards. Joe Meek was the father of sound sampling years before The Beatles began to experiment with albums such as Sgt.Pepper. He would record anything on tape in the hope to use it on a recording later. Recording in bathrooms to get a natural haunting reverb sound you hear on 'Johnny Remember Me' is such an example of the guys genius.

Joe Meek may have been a troubled soul. He was gay at a time which normally meant a prison sentence, he was in fact fined for approaching a man in a public loo. He was having a on/off relationship with bass player Heinz Burt. Joe Meek produced Heinz Burt's UK hit 'Just Like Eddie'. Joe Meek spent, in today's terms, £350,000 on Heinz Burt's marketing and commercial appeal. It is accepted that Heinz Burt was talentless so the Joe Meek investment was strange given Joe Meek had an arsenal of world class session musicians to hand including Clem Cattini, Richie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and even David Bowie at one point.

Joe Meek was subject of a lawsuit by a French composer who claimed Telstar was a copy of his own work which meant all assets relating to Telstar were frozen pending the Court case worth in today’s money 3 million pounds. The French composers claim was rejected but only a few weeks after Joe Meek was dead. 

In the 1960's Joe Meek began to become convinced his 'studio' was communicating with other people including rival recording companies. He made the session musicians working with him not to talk about the ongoing music projects. Many believe Joe had become paranoid with a form of mental health problem, possible yes, but his sudden paranoia appears to have been when he suddenly started recording in grave yards and other haunted locations. 

On 3 February 1967 Joe Meek took Heinz Burt's shotgun and killed his landlady Violet Shenton and then shot himself. Joe Meek was subsequently buried at Newent Cemetery, Gloucestershire. His black granite tombstone can be found near the middle of the cemetery. A sad demise of an absolute genius.

Further reading: The life of Joe Meek is worth researching further and I recommend the book by John Repsch: The Legendary Joe Meek (UK; 1989, July 2003) as a great source of factual information.

An extremely unusual connection to Joe Meek and his American rival Phil Spector exists. On the 3rd February 2003 Phil Spector used a shot gun to kill actress Lana Clarkson in California. Exactly 36 years to the day, 3 February 1967, that Joe Meek shot and killed his landlady. The age Joe Meek killed himself - 36 years.

These two guys had never met but had on one occasion spoken on the phone. 
THE EVP CONNECTION: In the early 1960's and for reasons only known to himself, Joe Meek started to record within cemeteries during the early hours. He also became obsessed with the Paranormal and was convinced he was in communication with the late Buddy Holly. Almost overnight it increased from a simple interest in the Paranormal to total obsession. Many have blamed Joe Meek's paranoia and mental health as being responsible. I do not share that view.

As a recording engineer, I have experienced 'unexplained noise' which some may say is EVP.  So here we have Joe Meek, who was a total control freak, who had no issue with recording during the early hours, wealthy at that point, very successful with four UK number one hits to his name, suddenly starts to take tape recorders into church yards to record?.

Joe Meek's studio at 304 Holloway Road London was not the ideal place for a studio, noisy and was above other shops. Meek refused to even consider moving to a better location. The property remains practically as it was from the 1960's. This would make a fascinating place for a EVP Investigation.

My own thoughts after much research is that Joe Meek recorded EVP at his studio in London. Mystified and knowing a noisy London studio was not the best place to record EVP did the best thing possible as many do, record in the early hours where there is less noise pollution and in a place you would expect to hear the voices of the departed. If there were voices to record Joe Meek was the best person in the Country to do so. I can't prove this theory but the evidence does support my view.

'Joe Meek may have been the first person in the UK to have recorded and
researched EVP using a scientific approach'

Tony Hayes
Paranormal Investigation UK

For further research go to the following link

Listen to Joe Meek's 'Telstar' and 'Johnny Remember Me'.