In the background you can hear John beginning
his Festive 50 from the year 1985!
As an insular teenager somewhere around 1980 and with in-built bedroom angst, John Peel's nightly shows on Radio 1 became an instant hit and almost an obsession. Who was this odd character with the soft-spoken but occasionally harsh Liverpudlian accent who played increasing amounts of weird and wonderful records?
I remember that John was almost entirely responsible for Musical Youth's "Pass The Dutchie" reaching number one and I to this day still hold dear the original Pass the Cutchie" by the irrespressible Mighty Diamonds!
Technically speaking, John would often play records on the wrong side or at the wrong speed and then brilliantly and sometimes anecdotally talk his way out of his mistakes... something that endeared him to many and in fact, made him perhaps the greatest DJ and Radio presenter!
Following his sad and untimely demise in 2004, his wife Sheila [affectionally known andreferred to by John as "The Pig") took up the reins and completed what was then a work in progress; the autobiography of John. I have read this twice and would recommend it hugely...
ON THE WEB
A good site and resource I have found is johnpeel.net where it is linked to Twitter and Facebook and so will likely encompass fans from across the world...
Between 1967 and 2004 John Peel picked over 2000 bands to come and record over 4000 sessions to be played on his radio show. Many were young and had never been in a recording studio before, for some it was the start of an illustrious career, for others it was the only recognition their musical talent ever got.
For over 35 years the cream of British musical talent made the journey to the BBC's studio in Maida Vale, from Pink Floyd to Pulp, the Small Faces to the Smiths. And because John Peel was so respected his sessions took on a legendary status they were a rite of passage that every new band wanted to go through. Unfettered by commerical pressure the Peel Sessions were a unique British institution - an archive of music that reflects one man's passion for finding and encouraging new music.
THE FESTIVE 50
And so each year [from 1977], the Cats Caravan [as it was affectionately known] would convene to collate the year's most memorable ["and voted for by you, dear listener"] sounds in the form of what became the Festive Fifty...
here is the all-time list as it was in 2000...
01 Joy Division - Atmosphere
02 Undertones - Teenage Kicks
03 Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
04 Sex Pistols - Anarchy In The UK
05 Clash - (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais
06 New Order - Blue Monday
07 Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
08 Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
09 Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
10 This Mortal Coil - Song To The Siren
11 Robert Wyatt - Shipbuilding
12 Pulp - Common People
13 Capt Beefheart - Big Eyed Beans From Venus
14 Dead Kennedy s - Holiday In Cambodia
15 Joy Division - New Dawn Fades
16 My Bloody Valentine - Soon
17 New Order - Ceremony
18 Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
19 New Order - Temptation
20 Joy Division - Shes Lost Control
21 Wedding Present - Brassneck
22 Smiths - This Charming Man
23 Sugarcubes - Birthday
24 The Fall - How I Wrote Elastic Man
25 Wedding Present - My Favourite Dress
26 Delgados - Pull The Wires From the Wall
27 My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise
28 Joy Division - Transmission
29 Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant
30 Pixies - Debaser
31 Belle & Sebastian - Lazy Line Painter Jane
32 New Order - True Faith
33 Clash - Complete Control
34 The Fall - Totally Wired
35 Jam - Going Underground
36 Stereolab - French Disko
37 Jimi Hendrix - All Along The Watchtower
38 The Fall - The Classical
39 Damned - New Rose
40 Tim Buckley - Song To The Siren
41 Beach Boys - God Only Knows
42 Velvet Underground - Heroin
43 Nick Drake - Northern Sky
44 Bob Dylan - Visions Of Johanna
45 Beatles - I Am The Walrus
46 Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
47 Sundays - Can t Be Sure
48 Culture - Lion Rock
49 P J Harvey - Sheela-na-gig
50 Pavement - Here
D'YE KEN JOHN PEEL?
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE (30 August 1939 – 25 October 2004), known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967, until his death in 2004. He was known for his eclectic taste in music and his honest and warm broadcasting style. He was one of the first broadcasters to play psychedelic rock, reggae and punk records on British radio, and he is widely acknowledged for promoting artists working in various genres including alternative rock, indie rock, pop, hardcore punk, grindcore, death metal, British hip hop and dance music.
A SHOOTING STAR!
Someone I know recently told me to try and watch the edition of Shooting Stars when John Peel appeared on it... I tracked it down via YouTube [where else?] and here are the links, albeit in three segments...
Home Truths was a weekly BBC Radio 4 programme which began on 11 April 1998 and was usually hosted by the DJ John Peel until his death in October 2004. In the Saturday 9-10am slot, it gradually became one of Radio 4's most successful programmes.
The show was essentially a talk show where the host would interview ordinary people with an extraordinary story to tell. There was also considerable correspondence with its listeners. Home Truths was based on a previous show called Offspring (which aired from 1995 to 1997), also hosted by Peel. Home Truths took essentially the same format as its predecessor, but widened the remit from talking about the relationship between parents and children to discussion of all aspects of life.
In the confessional format, John Peel was a gifted interviewer who succeeded in drawing humorous, quirky and sad stories out of listeners without sensationalising or resorting to mawkishness.
After Peel's death, the programme was presented by a series of guest presenters including Paul Heiney, writer David Stafford, comedian Linda Smith and musician Tom Robinson. However the programme was axed after the BBC decided that the formula did not work as well without Peel's presence.
The last edition of Home Truths was presented by David Stafford and was broadcast on 24 June 2006 and the series theme tune was Dick Dale's Let's Go Trippin'.
Peel's coffin was applauded as it entered and left the cathedral
The funeral of legendary DJ John Peel has taken place, attended by thousands of mourners from around the world.
Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, Undertones singer Feargal Sharkey and The White Stripes were among mourners, while Sir Elton John left a wreath of yellow roses.
Applause greeted Peel's coffin as it departed St Edmundsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, to his favourite song, Teenage Kicks by the Undertones.
Peel died last month after suffering a heart attack while on holiday in Peru.
With Sir Elton's wreath was a card reading: "Thank you for all the great music. You were a hero for so many. Much love, Elton."
The service ended with clips of Peel talking about his life - before the Liverpool FC anthem You'll Never Walk Alone faded into Teenage Kicks.
Peel could be heard saying: "I'm fabulously lucky, I've got everything I wanted as a kid, a house in the country, an astounding wife, and a job on the radio. I don't know what could be done to improve it.
"If I drop dead tomorrow, I'll have nothing to complain about - except that there'll be another Fall album out next year."
A private family service followed the funeral.