John Peel

Disc Jockey + Radio Presenter
Born Aug 30, 1939

John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE, known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer 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.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about John Peel.

  • Mott The Hoople Drummer Dale Griffin Dies, Aged 67
    Guardian (UK) - Jan 18, 2016
  • S charlotte church mini
    In Praise Of Charlotte Church
    Huffington Post - Nov 01, 2013
  • Rolling Stones Make Glastonbury Debut
    Guardian (UK) - Jun 30, 2013
  • Funds Needed To Put More Of John Peel’s Music Archive Online
    Bury Free Press - Jun 13, 2013


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of John Peel.


1939 Birth Born on August 30, 1939.


1959 19 Years Old After finishing his National Service in 1959 in the Royal Artillery as a B2 radar operator, he worked as a mill operative on the fourth floor at Townhead Mill in Rochdale and travelled home each weekend to Heswall on a scooter borrowed from his sister. … Read More


1960 20 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1960, aged 21, he went to the United States to work for a cotton producer who had business dealings with his father. … Read More
1963 23 Years Old Following Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, Peel passed himself off as a reporter for the Liverpool Echo in order to attend the arraignment of Lee Harvey Oswald, and he and a friend can be seen in the footage of the 22/23 November midnight press conference at Dallas Police Department when Oswald was paraded before the media. … Read More
1965 25 Years Old 1 More Event
He later worked for KOMA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, until 1965 when he moved to KMEN in San Bernardino, California, using the name John Ravencroft to present the breakfast show.
The marriage was never happy and although she accompanied Peel back to Britain in 1967, they were soon separated. The divorce became final in 1973. … Read More
1968 28 Years Old 1 More Event
At first he was obliged to share presentation duties with other DJs (Pete Drummond and Tommy Vance were among his co-hosts) but in February 1968 he was given sole charge of Top Gear; he continued to present the show until it ended in 1975. … Read More
1969 29 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1969, after hosting a trailer for a BBC programme on VD on his Night Ride programme, Peel received significant media attention because he divulged on air that he had suffered from a sexually transmitted disease earlier that year.


1971 31 Years Old This admission was later used in an attempt to discredit him when he appeared as a defence witness in the 1971 Oz obscenity trial. … Read More
1974 34 Years Old …  Peel married Sheila on 31 August 1974. … Read More
1979 39 Years Old In 1979 Peel stated: "They leave you to get on with it. … Read More


1982 42 Years Old Peel was an occasional presenter of Top of the Pops on BBC 1 TV from the late 1960s until the 1990s, and in particular from 1982 to 1987 when he appeared regularly. … Read More


1995 55 Years Old Between 1995 and 1997, Peel presented a show about children, called Offspring, on BBC Radio 4. … Read More
He appeared as a celebrity guest on a number of TV shows, including This Is Your Life (1996, BBC), Travels With My Camera (1996, Channel 4 TV) and Going Home (2002, ITV TV), and presented the 1997 Channel 4 series Classic Trains. … Read More
1998 58 Years Old He was appointed an OBE in 1998, for his services to British music.


2001 61 Years Old …  Walters having died in 2001, it was left to Andy Kershaw to end his tribute programme to Peel on BBC Radio 3 with the song. … Read More
2002 62 Years Old In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to discover the 100 Greatest Britons of all time, in which Peel was voted 43rd. … Read More
2003 63 Years Old In April 2003, the publishers Transworld successfully wooed Peel with a package worth up to £1.6 million for his autobiography, having placed an advert in a national newspaper aimed only at Peel. … Read More
2004 64 Years Old 1 More Event
Peel's funeral, on 12 November 2004, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was attended by over a thousand people, including many of the artists he had championed. … Read More
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