Seven years since John Peel died (as I pointed out yesterday).
A handful of tracks from acts that he championed. If you like them, do go and investigate further.
His favourite band…my favourite place to live:
The Fall -‘Edinburgh Man.’ mp3
There was stuff before Punk, y’know…
Led Zeppelin -‘Whole Lotta Love.’ mp3
He knew that there was stuff further than just England…
Jesus and Mary Chain -‘Upside Down.’ mp3
Stuff from further afield than Europe and America:
Bhundu Boys -‘My Foolish Heart.’ mp3
Bob Marley & The Wailers -‘Waiting In Vain.’ mp3
Some stuff shoulda had a much wider profile:
Matching Mole -‘O Caroline.’ mp3
Some utter classics:
The Smiths -‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.’ mp3
…later covered in radical style:
Schneider TM -‘The Light 3000.’ mp3
He certainly knew that it wasn’t just about guitars:
Aphex Twin-‘Girl/Boy Song.’ mp3
…and I don’t think anymore needs to be said about this, other than…ENJOY:
The Undertones -‘Teenage Kicks.’ mp3
What was it about Peel? This was my contribution to Fresh Air’s special:
To me, John Peel was the radio DJ that all others were measured by. His sense of humour and passion for music – ‘I just want to hear something I haven’t heard before’ was infectious. Right up to the day he died, here was a man who cared about music.
The list of bands he championed from early beginnings who went on to have a massive impact – even if only for a while – is very long but would include artists as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Kelis, Captain Beefheart, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Nirvana, The Cure, White Stripes, Happy Mondays, Queen, PJ Harvey, David Bowie…He took flack from the far right for playing reggae. He played the Sex Pistols when no-one else would touch them. He championed styles from Prog-rock to Dubstep to ‘world’; happy hardcore to folk to death metal. As a teenager I would listen under the bedclothes trying to stay awake until the end of the show (in 1992, if you missed a radio show, that was it, there was nowhere to go to listen again, unless someone happened to have taped it).
I’ve only done a handful of shows on the radio but when people say to me that they can hear the Peel influence, I’m flattered. It is not over-exaggerating to say that without John Peel the musical landscape of the last forty years in the UK (and indeed further afield) would have been vastly different were it not for him, and all the poorer for it.
I missed the night he read my name out on there, but fortunately by this stage the internet had come along).
If I’d ever been in a band that had got beyond the gigging and demo stage, given the choice between a Peel session and Top Of The Pops I would have chosen the Peel session.
Would I have been begging him to play 17 Seconds Records’ acts on his show? D’uh!