Sunday, October 29, 2017

Weak and Meek: TELSTAR with LYRICS - Bobby Rydell

Back in July of 1962, the lonely metal ball called TELSTAR hurtled into space, promising a new era of communication. 

Surely, with a satellite bouncing TELevision and TELephone and TELegraph signals all over the world, TELSTAR would help bring more understanding and brotherhood to the world. In August of 1962, The Tornados offered a musical salute to the new technology via Joe Meek's moody yet futuristic and optimistic instrumental, "TELSTAR."

In October of 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly brought us World War 3. 

Maybe the problem was that "TELSTAR"  had no lyrics? All you need is love, folks. Add some love lyrics to "TELSTAR" and maybe the Capitalists and Communists would get along. So, what were the lyrics added a few months later to TELSTAR?

"Magic star above, send a message to my love! Tell her that I'll wait patiently. Sad and so lonely, dreaming of her only. Swift as graceful as a dove up above, Magic Star up high, dancing through the sky, tell her that my heart cries for joy! Please say that one day I'll hear her voice say I'm her one and only boy!" 

What did Joe Meek say when he heard this? "It doesn't scan!" may have come to mind, but not before "What the fuck?" 

Meek, fascinated as he was with pure sound, could not or would not put words to "TELSTAR," his ode to a communications satellite. He also could or nor would not put into words the reason why he later chose to blast his landlady to heaven, and then turn the gun on himself. 

Rydell is still with us. He had a scare at age 70, needing transplant surgery in 2012, but it proved successful. 

TELSTAR may have been eclipsed by other forms of technology, but hasn't been forgotten. First off, there's the catchy Joe Meek song. People who have no idea TELSTAR exists, have heard and loved the song. It's even inspired a few more. In 1991, Susanna Hoffs recorded "Wishing on Telstar," by Robin Lane and Jimmy Cipolla. It has slightly, only slightly better lyrics: 

"I had a lover, but haven't we all
. He had to leave so sometimes I'd call…
Satellites are blinking all through the night
. Wishes like this don't seem right...

Higher and higher, burns the fire. 
Love's lost on the telephone wire. 
Too high to reach, too hot to hold
. Wishing on Telstar, should've been told..."

Did you know the there was not only TELSTAR, but TELSTAR 2? The original was launched on July 10, 1962, and a second one on May 7, 1963. 1963 was the year Kennedy was killed. Few things around in 1963 are still around and functioning as good as they once did. The TELSTAR satellites no longer work.

Both satellites are still circling the Earth. They are mutely looking down on a planet that is circling the drain.

 TELSTAR WITH LYRICS - BOBBY RYDELL (Download or listen online)


Brian Prebble said...

Unfortunately, Joe Meek did write those wretched lyrics!

He knew "Telstar" was special so when The Tornados version began to go down the charts, Meek thought he could sustain the momentum and bag some extra sales with a vocal version. So, in November 1962, he unleashed "Magic Star" on Decca sung by a teenage bloke he christened "Kenny Hollywood" - regardless to say, it was a terrible record, terrible lyrics and terribly sung. Meek had just hired a young plugger who quit after a month unable to get anyone to play the ghastly record and to this day he still cringes at the memory of this song and can recall the lyrics perfectly (as proved at some press interview he did 2 or 3 years ago). His name? Andrew Loog Oldham. Regardless to say, Kenny Hollywood was never heard of again and his disc is widely regarded by most Meek freaks as being in Joe's top five worst records.

A month later in December 1962, over on Parlophone was a one off disc by The Chaps with a medley disc called "Poppin'" - part 2 featured a short triumphant version of "Telstar" and was Meek again trying to cash in as it was a disc he produced, and "The Chaps" were his own house band The Outlaws under a one off pseudonym, so Meek tried to cash in on his own record twice over before 1962 was done and dusted, but there was only one "Telstar" recording that mattered - and matters to this day.

Unfortunately, as the royalties began to start coming in as 1963 got underway, that was when the first of 2 fatal disasters occurred for Joe as some French moron sued him for plagiarism claiming Joe had stolen the melody for "Telstar" from some obscure composition that had never been released or heard in the UK. The royalties - which would had made Meek a millionaire - were instantly frozen and remained frozen in legal limbo until the lawsuit was settled in Meek's favor... unfortunately, a few months after Meek's death. Then, later in 1963 came Meek's infamous arrest for "importuning" where his sexuality was outed in public and his life was never the same again and his constant battle against the french idiot over "Telstar" combined with constant blackmail threats played a huge part in Meek's gradual decline of his mental health.

Ill Folks said...

GAD...Meek had no one to blame but himself!

Usually with instrumentals, the original composer had no input in the manufactured lyrics. Same deal with the English lyrics created to replace the original ones in Spanish, Italian or Japanese.

Sapristi! Sad situation with the Meek one being dragged around the courts by a Frenchie. And come to think of it, he must've been turning over in his grave when a movie about him camped it up with metrosexual Kevin Spacey and effeminate blob James Corden.

Some people just don't have much luck, do they? Just ask Joe's landlady. Was she in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did she routinely act like Terry Jones in drag in a Monty Python sketch??

"Telstar" is still, in the original version, a classic.