As the decade of the 1950s drew to a close, Joe Meek would have a substantial list of hit productions to his credit. As the nascent sound of the British Invasion would begin to stir in 1959, Joe worked at a frenetic pace, often fueled by pep pills, to sharpen what would become his unique RGM sound.
It was in Landsdowne Studios in Arundel Gardens that Joe produced another man with a sound system of his own. Emile Ford (real name Emile Sweetman) was born in St Lucia in the West Indies. He had ambitions to be an engineer and along the way developed his own unique sound. Backed by the Checkmates, a group that included his two step brothers George and Dave, he entered a talent contest sponsered by Pye records. Their win secured them a contract and the production talents of Joe Meek.
The powers that be had originally chosen the Don Gibson track Don't Tell Me Your Troubles as the a-side of Emile's first release and three hours was spent getting it just right. It was on the slow shuffle of What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For that the true genius of both producer and artist came together. With Joe in the booth, and Emile on his guitar, an instrument he claimed to have learned in 1 week, it took two takes and 15 minutes for a hit to be born. Pye, hearing the results, flipped the a and b sides, and Emile went on to become Britian's first million selling artist.
Eyes went on to hit the number 1 slot in December of 1959 and stayed in the charts for 25 weeks. A 1960 release in the USA on the small Andie label (catalogue 5018) saw no action. Hits continued into 1961 for Emile, but eventually he returned to engineering. He moved to Scandinavia for a while before settling in California.
This release is a part of the wind down of Pye's 78 rpm releases in the UK. Pye's 78s from the late 50s are fantastic as they were pressed on vinyl. This fact allows the bass line to burst through and brings wonderful clarity to Emile's guitar playing. And while no doubt most buyers opted for the 45, they didn't know what they where missing by skipping over this cool 78.