Picks and Pans Review: It's Hard to Believe It: the Amazing World of Joe Meek

updated 11/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/27/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Various Artists

British cult figure Joe Meek, the record producer who shot himself to death in 1967 at the age of 37, may finally become more than a pop-music footnote here in the States. This first U.S. compilation of the troubled producer's eccentric works features the haunting 1962 No. 1 instrumental "Telstar" by the Tornados as well as the 1964 British Invasion rocker "Have I the Right" by the Honeycombs. Meek operated from a small apartment-cum-studio in North London, where his temper and mood swings were as prominent as his primitive recording equipment. But the echo-laden, distortion-heavy sounds he committed to tape belie his budget limitations and rival, in their unique way, anything Phil "Wall of Sound" Spector ever dreamed up. (Razor & Tie)

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