Joe Meek

Joe Meek

Musician sound engineer producer
Country: Great Britain

  1. Biography of Joe Meek
  2. Early Career
  3. Triumph Studios
  4. Experimental Recording Techniques
  5. Legacy

Biography of Joe Meek

Joe Meek, born Robert George Meek, was a musician, sound engineer, and producer. He was known for his unconventional approach to sound recording, often experimenting with techniques such as reversing tape reels and manipulating everyday sounds to create unique effects. Meek was born in 1929 and served as a radar technician in the army before working as an engineer in television.

Early Career

Meek began his career as a sound engineer in the 1950s at IBC Studios, one of two independent studios in London at the time. His non-traditional recording methods gained him both friends and enemies. He recorded artists for various British labels and later became an independent producer at Landsdowne Studios. Meek worked on some early hits for Lonnie Donegan and designed a new studio for Landsdowne. Despite his eccentric behavior and resistance to authority, Meek quickly became the top engineer in the UK.

Triumph Studios

Unwilling to work within any constraints, Meek established his own makeshift studio with his own label - Triumph - in a small apartment in North London in 1960. Despite recording songs in converted living rooms and bathrooms with second-hand equipment, Meek managed to have several songs chart in the UK top ten in the early 1960s. He used The Outlaws and The Tornadoes as his house bands and produced a tribute record to Buddy Holly in 1961. The Tornadoes achieved number one hits in the United States and the UK with their instrumental track "Telstar" in 1962. Meek also produced The Honeycombs and their hit song "Have I The Right?" in 1964.

Experimental Recording Techniques

As time went on, Meek became more experimental in his recording techniques. He relied on his own intuition and trusted his ears more than technical indicators. He was secretive about his equipment, and few people knew what was inside his gear. Meek used a simple circuit to compress the audio signal, causing a small lamp to light up and affect the output. This allowed him to achieve unique sounds by manipulating the tape reels and processing everyday sounds. Though some aspects of his work may seem outdated, Meek's understanding and use of compression techniques were highly innovative.


However, as the 1960s came to an end, Meek's studio equipment became outdated, and he did not strive for something better. Other British producers, such as Mickie Most and Andrew Loog Oldham, embraced the changing times and left Meek behind. Despite this, Meek's influence on British pop music in the early 1960s cannot be denied. He was remembered as a brilliant innovator and engineer. On February 3, 1967, eight years after the tragic death of Buddy Holly, Joe Meek took his own life.