Anniversary of UK's Answer Phil Spector Shooting Himself and His Landlady

(Gibson) On this day 1967, Producer Joe Meek shot his landlady Violet Shenton and then shot himself at his flat in London. Meek produced The Tornadoes hit "Telstar," the first #1 in the U.S. by a British group. Gibson takes a look back: Britain's answer to American producer-extraordinaire Phil Spector, Joe Meek was one of the most eccentric musical geniuses to ever dabble with rock and roll. And like Spector, his private life was almost as bizarre as his studio creations.

Joe Meek was always different. Growing up in the British countryside, he was raised by a mother who had preferred to have a daughter and chose to dress young Joe in dresses. A music and electronics buff from an early age, one of his first ventures was to set up outdoor speakers and play music for local farm workers. After learning radar in the R.A.F., he began a business, recording local bands and singers. With his homosexuality flowering, however, rural life was far too inhibiting and conservative, so he moved to London, where attitudes, if not the laws, were more liberal.

Meek worked in recording studios, making quite a reputation for himself as an innovator. He eventually started his own label, Triumph, in 1960. The king of bizarre studio sounds, which were often inspired by a fascination of outer space and the after life, Meek's layered recordings are now regarded as groundbreaking electronic work. At the time he was seen as just odd.

Meek eventually found himself a studio, housed above a handbag shop on the Holloway Road in London. The tiny space saw musicians cramped on the stairs, recording in the toilet, avoiding the plethora of wires and cables that seemed to hang from every surface. He assembled a talented band of young musicians, including guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple), drummer Mitch Mitchell (who later played with Hendrix) and bassist Chas Hodges, who became half of U.K knees up favorites, Chas & Dave.

Meek was interested in spirituality and often attended séances. At on such meeting in 1958 he was warned that Buddy Holly would die on February 3. Meek tried his best to find Holly when he was in London to warn him but failed in his mission. Holly died on February 3, 1959. more on this story

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