As I watched this documentary made in 1991, I did a couple of things. First I followed & noted the timeline of events particularly for the late 1950's through to the early 1960's. Secondly I looked at Joe Meek's interaction with the big record labels and the events that unfolded in that respect. It's clear he was both creative and had a determination to get his own way, he was the forerunner of the indie music scene and also has a musical legacy that is well remembered getting on for sixty years later. It's also clear he was perhaps not the best with handling money and running a business, led perhaps more by emotion than sound business logic. Although Joe Meek using Radio Luxembourg for his Triumph record label is not mentioned in this documentary it is clearly documented elsewhere and falls into the time line logically.
It raised a few questions though and some of these events run parallel with the story Ronan O'Rahilly has told regarding his own supposed experience's with the music industry at that time. First of all as The Radio Caroline Bible alleges that Ronan was a part player in the management of Georgie Fame who had a professional backer, so what was O'Rahilly doing in the first place going to Radio Luxembourg trying to get an acetate played? O'Rahilly has an Acetate to share, so what was that, a demo (hardly what you would want played on the radio) or a studio recording in which case that would have been expensive (see the Meek documentary) and which recording studio did he use? More importantly if Georgie Fame did not have a record label contract, what an earth was O'Rahilly doing trying to get him airtime?
It was the long established norm in the early sixties that promoters wanted a recording contract through which you recorded a product to then market using the music press, live appearances, and of course your own labels output on Radio Luxembourg if it suited that format. Finally don't forget Georgie Fame was actually signed with a label in 1963. Joe Meek's documentary gives valuable incite into that era and regardless of the man himself, how the music business functioned, something any aspiring promoter would have clearly understood. Georgie Fame was clearly talented and popular in the London club scene way before O'Rahilly arrived, his music was suited to that era, he was a natural for getting a recording contract, which he did and went on to significant success, something an acetate and no record to sell would surely only held him back.
Radio Now & Then
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