Known by some as the man who turned down The Beatles, Joe Meek’s story extends so much further than this into the realms of genius, love and madness. Nick Moran’s film charts the rise of a musical great, Joe Meek, as he revolutionises music recording and song writing from his studio/home above a handbag shop in London. From those humble surroundings Meek wrote and produced some of the most iconic songs from the sixties and worked with some of the eras greatest artists. His record breaking hit ‘Telstar’ put his band The Tornados at no. 1 in America (the first British band to do so), and won the Ivor Novello award. Yet, his personal demons lead to madness and uncontrollable outbursts, which resulted in his tragic eventual suicide in 1967. Both hilarious and heart-breaking, this film is one of the most moving I have ever seen.
Con O’Neill’s performance as Joe Meek, first brought to life by him on stage, is outstanding. Through him we see how Meek’s talent and temper feed off one another to create incredible music whilst destroying the man himself. With a stellar ensemble including the likes of Pam Ferris and Kevin Spacey, the film boasts a cast made up of some of the best and each of them delivers on a level which is utterly fantastic.
Intertwining the musical creations and personal life of Meek, this film explores the struggles he faced hiding his homosexuality and the difficulties of coping with his ever prevalent paranoia, whilst teaching us that, as a music producer, Joe Meek was a pioneer whose influence changed music forever. The film is set in the swinging sixties, with a fantastic cast, and a heart breaking story. Side-splitting, tear-jerking, foot-tapping excellence!
Telstar (2008), directed by Nick Moran, is released on DVD by Aspiration/Miracle, Certificate 15.