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January and February Newsletter
John Leyton and the Rapiers
In concert with the Rapiers. Picture courtesy Greg Ogarrio.

Hello Everybody,
Hopefully you have enjoyed the Christmas break and 2007 will be a good year for you all. The main topics in my newsletter concern events that are happening both this month and next to mark the 40th Anniversary of the passing of my first record producer Joe Meek. I have also taken this opportunity to pay my personal tribute to Joe.

NEW GIG.
Saturday 17th February 2007.
The Alchemist, Hotel Street, Leicester.
John Leyton and the Rapiers
Tickets are available on the night, cost £15 or by telephone from Maz Tel: 07706 290825

CD NEWS.
On Monday 5th February Sanctuary Records release a number of CDs in their 40th Anniversary RGM Collection. Sanctuary These include a CD EP Collection containing 12 facsimile miniatures of 12 of Joe’s highly collectable Eps, including 2 John Leyton EPs, ‘John Leyton’ and ‘The John Leyton Hit Parade’. Also a 2CD set ‘They Were Wrong – Joe’s Boys Vol. 1.’ containing three John Leyton tracks, ‘Voodoo Woman’, ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and ‘Johnny My Johnny.’
Should any of you be interested in purchasing these 2 items from our shop please e-mail your order to us and we will order copies for you, prices to be confirmed nearer the release date. I will be signing all copies ordered.
For details of the other releases in the Sanctuary Records 40th Anniversary RGM collection please click here.

JOE MEEK RELATED EVENTS.
January Tuesday 16th – Radio Caroline Joe Meek special
Dell Richardson’s Rockin’Good Night Show 6.00-9.00p.m. In studio guests include Clem Cattini and Mark Newson (Joe Meek Appreciation Society.) www.caroline.rockers.co.uk.
Thursday 18th – Record Collector Magazine February issue on sale
contains an article on Joe Meek.
Saturday 3rd February - Joe Meek Fest, Wyllyotts Theatre, Potters Bar. ALL SEATS SOLD. Please do not arrive without a ticket. As the event is being filmed for possible DVD release you are requested not to bring flash cameras or video recorders into the auditorium.
Monday 5th February – Sanctuary Records 40th Anniversary RGM collection release date.
BBC Radio 2 are currently preparing a 3 part radio documentary on the life of Joe Meek for transmission in February. I am shortly to record a segment for the programme.
Thursday 15th February – Joe Meek ‘It happened here’ exhibition opens at Finsbury Library. 245 St. John Street. London. EC1V 4NB
(The exhibition runs until 25th May)

My Personal Tribute to Joe Meek.
Joe Meek In 1959 following Drama School and a period in repertory at the Theatre Royal in York, I was fortunate to find myself in a TV series for Granada TV in Manchester called ‘Biggles’ based on the books by Capt. W.E Johns. One day, in between rehearsals, I had a call from my manager telling me to come to London as a matter of some urgency to meet an independent record producer called Joe Meek, who released product on a record label called ‘Triumph’. I had never heard of Joe Meek nor ‘Triumph’, so it was with some trepidation that I met up with my manager the following weekend and set off for Joe Meek’s flat in Arundel Gardens, Holland Park, London.
I was quite nervous and apprehensive as singing was new to me. I remember quite clearly arriving at Joe’s flat and being very impressed with where he lived. It was a smart street, a smart flat and a smart neighbourhood. I remember Joe opening the door, even he was smart, and inviting us in and recall quite clearly how he immediately made me feel at ease and at home.
We were taken into a large sitting room, where we were introduced to Charles Blackwell, who was sitting at a very impressive grand piano. It was mid to late afternoon on a Saturday and Joe made some tea (later at Holloway Road as soon as I arrived he always made the tea, no matter what time of day) and the four of us just sat around joking, laughing and chatting – my manager Robert Stigwood, Joe Meek, Charles Blackwell and me – and little did I know at the time that there was just one more piece to complete the picture – Geoff Goddard.
It was a very relaxed atmosphere and after a while Joe said “Well, let’s see what we can do”. There was a stand mic next to the piano and some recording equipment, all of which looked totally foreign to me. The butterflies started getting busy in my stomach. I stared at the stand mic, which stared straight back at me as if it were human saying, “Come on then, I dare you!” I’ve always felt like that about microphones, even to this day!
I sang two songs – ‘That’s My Girl’ and ‘I Love You For Sentimental Reasons’ – both Nat King Cole numbers. Joe liked the latter so much that I was to later record it on my first album with him at Holloway Road – ‘The Two Sides of John Leyton’.
I sang both numbers back to back and sat down, while Joe messed around with the recording gear and then he played them back. Well………I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Was that really me? That sound he got with just me and Charles at the piano was truly amazing. After more laughing, joking and chatting, Joe shook my hand and said ‘Welcome to Triumph” and I guess the rest is history.
My recollection of Joe from that first day I met him at Arundel Gardens, all the way through my time working with him at 304 Holloway Road (Not nearly as smart as Arundel Gardens!!) was a man who laughed, joked, made the tea and made me feel at ease. I never personally experienced the tantrums and eruptions that I understand others did but maybe that was because I came through a different door. When I met Joe I was already established as an actor appearing in a nationwide weekly TV series and I had a formidable manager, so it wasn’t a question of knocking on his door with ‘Cap in hand’.
My memories of meeting and working with Joe are fond and happy and etched in my mind forever.
(Picture supplied by David Peters.)

Always yours.

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