John Peel
English disc jockey, radio presenter
John Peel
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.
John Peel's personal information overview.
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Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin dies, aged 67
Guardian (UK) - about 1 year
The drummer, who later became a producer of sessions for the John Peel show, had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for nine years Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin has died, aged 67, after suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years. He died in his sleep on Sunday night, according to Mott’s manager, Peter Purnell. “Dale was a nice, well-spoken man and a brilliant drummer, it’s unbelievable that he’s gone,” Mott keyboard player Verden Allen told the Hereford Times. “I suppose in some ways it’s a release for him now – he had suffered for many years.” Continue reading...
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Guardian (UK) article
In Praise of Charlotte Church
Huffington Post - over 3 years
I was lucky enough to see Charlotte and her band when I was out in Austin for SXSW this year. I was with some friends - all discerning music lovers - and we sought out this gig more out of curiosity than in any genuine expectation of seeing something good. It was off the beaten track and there were probably less than a hundred people there to see her. It was, however, truly impressive. Strong intriguing songs supported by a great band mixing some vintage electronica with good grooves, and of course Charlotte's voice was superb. I couldn't help thinking that she must have had to work very hard to re-invent herself in such an impressive way. The next day there was a tiny review of the gig in the Daily Mail. The review was dismissive, concentrating more on Charlotte's unusual choice of clothes and headgear than the music. Typical Daily Mail I hear you say and you would be right. Of course, the only reason they bothered to review the gig in the first place is because it was Charlotte Chu ...
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Huffington Post article
Rolling Stones make Glastonbury debut
Guardian (UK) - over 3 years
Michael Eavis's lifetime aim to see the band on the Pyramid stage is finally realised 43 years after festival first took place Two titans of rock music met at last on Saturday night when the Rolling Stones made their riotous Glastonbury festival debut 51 years after they formed. Sir Mick Jagger, sporting skinny black jeans and a green and gold sequinned blazer, danced his famous peacock strut across the Pyramid stage as a mass of 170,000 fans swelled, danced and sang every word to Stones hits. The blockbuster two-and-a-half hour set opened with some of their best known tunes, with Jumpin' Jack Flash, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It), and Paint It Black – in a departure from their 50th anniversary celebrations last year. As the sun went down over Worthy Farm, a flame-throwing phoenix on top of Pyramid stage brought to an end a totemic performance that most thought would never happen. The phoenix was reputedly commissioned personally by festival organiser Michael Eavis, whose ...
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Guardian (UK) article
Funds needed to put more of John Peel’s music archive online
Bury Free Press - over 3 years
The project to get the late John Peel’s historic music collection on the web has stalled through lack of funding. Even though the web design company behind it has continued working on a voluntary basis, the work has slowed to a crawl John’s collection at his home in Great Finborough contains an estimated 80,000 items covering music from the 1960s to his death in 2004 on mediums ranging from reel-to-reel tapes sent in by aspiring bands to commercial CDs. The iconic DJ’s widow Shiela Ravenscroft said yesterday: “We’ve got about 10 per cent of the albums online. It was the first 100 of every letter in the alphabet, but there are still the CDs, 12in singles and seven inch singles, so you can see the enormity of the task.” The project had been funded by the Arts Council as part of its Space project to make artworks accessible to all. “The Arts Council is hoping that next year they might be able to continue with it,” she said. “We have still been adding to it because the people who work ...
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Bury Free Press article
Art show at John Peel Centre
Bury Free Press - almost 4 years
Stowmarket Lions Club are holding its first art show at the recently completed John Peel Centre for the Creative Arts over the weekend. More than 80 artists from all over the county will display their work from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is £1 and refreshments will be available - all proceeds from the art show will be split equally between the John Peel Centre and Stowmarket Lions local charities. Stowmarket Lions Club President Keith Copper said: “They have had one or bands play at the venue so far but this is the first art show to be put on. “It’s in a nice handy location in the town centre and we’ll haver a man with a sandwich board directing people in. “We are hoping to get a couple of thousand people through the doors - it shows there is more to the centre than just music.
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Bury Free Press article
'Leave the man be': Let the BBC honour DJ John Peel, says woman he seduced at 15
Daily Mail (UK) - about 4 years
The BBC put on hold plans to rename the Egton Wing of Broadcasting House the Peel Wing following the sex claims, but Jane Nevin has jumped to his defence.
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Daily Mail (UK) article
Stereo IQ: Interpol's Turn On The Bright Lights Turns Ten
Huffington Post - about 4 years
By John Dickinson I always thought Turn On The Bright Lights had a pulse. A sort of life that existed far beyond the tonal baritone of Paul Banks' melancholy pleas or bassist Carlos Dengler's emphatic octave jumps. It existed in the way a person exists. It wasn't just a few tracks thrown together by four big Joy Division fans (as they are so often labeled) -- it was so much more: years of preparation and revision toiled by four New York City kids. And in 2002 those four kids succeeded in creating life. Vital signs are found in the sputtering breaths of "Stella", the anxious rhythmic patterns of "Say Hello To The Angels" and the cohesive musical strategy that binds them in perpetuity. It's remarkable how in the decade where full length records grew foreign to most, where people could download individual songs without having to listen to an entire CD, Interpol was more concerned with birthing a story than $.99 song sales. Fast forward ten years: people are buying viny ...
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Huffington Post article
Claire McAlpine: A 15-year-old who killed herself after leaving a diary naming DJs as abusers. Disturbing questions about John Peel. So how many starts WERE involved?
Daily Mail (UK) - over 4 years
Top Of The Pops dancer Claire McAlpine died aged 15 of an overdose in 1971 and left behind a diary which mentioned famous radio DJ's who had 'used' her.
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Daily Mail (UK) article
John Peel Centre needs £80k
Bury Free Press - over 4 years
THE John Peel Centre needs another £80,000 to complete its planned £1.3 million refurbishment.
Article Link:
Bury Free Press article
‘Amazing’ response to Peel Archive
Bury Free Press - over 4 years
John Peel’s incredible personal record collection, which started to go online in May, has had hundreds of thousands of visitors already ,according to John Peel Centre chairman Andrew Stringer.
Article Link:
Bury Free Press article
Shackleton, Kuedo, Konx-om-Pax
Clash - over 4 years
Glasgow is a city largely spoiled by its variety and wealth of high-quality club nights, and is home to crowds that are by turns both extremely discerning and fun-loving. It's rare to find a UK city in which you can have a packed club absolutely enthralled by some of the most experimental electronic music in the world whilst making the dance floor heave and the ceiling drip with sweat. It's a sensibility that makes Glasgow one of those cities that DJs rave about for their enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge, and the Clash x Palace x Zeroten presentation of Kuedo and Shackleton was no different. It was fitting that the generously sized basement club and its barren concrete was sparsely light and chilly on entry, as tonight was all about building the heat - slowly, intensely, but surely. First to step up on the night was Glaswegian DJ Mark Maxwell, who set a particularly high standard in the early hours with his seamless technique and selection. Having worked with the la ...
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Clash article
Huge crowds visit village fayre
Bury Free Press - over 4 years
HUNDREDS flocked to Bacton at the weekend for the village’s popular flower show and fayre. The crowds, of more than 1,500 people, were entertained by a spectacular parachute display from the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment parachute display team, a vintage and classic car show, African drumming and dance classes and performances by the Stowmarket Concert Band. The show also featured, for the first time, a live music stage sponsored by the John Peel Centre nicknamed BacFest featuring a host of local musical talent. Bacton Flower Show and Fayre committee member Phillip Jeffries said the event had been a tremendous success. He said: “It all went really well - there was something for everyone of all age groups. “We did have a couple of showers but because we have so much tentage the visitors ran undercover when it rained, then rushed back out when it had stopped.”
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Bury Free Press article
Tributes to internationally acclaimed musician from Aylesbury who played alongside Steve Miller and Mike Oldfield
The Bucks Herald - over 4 years
An Aylesbury jazz musician who played alongside the likes of Steve Miller and Mike Oldfield has died. Lol Coxhill, 79, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning from kidney failure after he was admitted to hospital in December with a rare condition of the nervous system. Saxophone player Lol, who grew up in Aylesbury, was reknowned for his experimental jazz and praised internationally by music magazines such as Time Out and All Music Guide. Plaudits such as John Lewis from Time Out once described him as a ‘soprano sax maverick’ who ‘touched on nearly every area of music over the past half century’. “In the ‘60s he jacked in his day job to accompany soul singers like Rufus Thomas. He’d sit in with bluesmen like Alexis Korner and Champion Jack Dupree. He was signed to John Peel’s label Dandelion and played bebop with the likes of Bobby Wellins and Stan Tracey, prog rock with Steve Miller and Kevin Ayers, and dabbled in ska and rocksteady with Rico Rodriquez and Jazz Jamaica. In 19 ...
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The Bucks Herald article
An Interview with Dave Wakeling of the English Beat
Seattle Pi - over 4 years
An Interview with Dave Wakeling of the English Beat Seattle Post-Intelligencer Copyright 2012 Seattle Post-Intelligencer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Published 03:05 a.m., Tuesday, July 10, 2012 Formed in Birmingham, England in 1978, the English Beat (or the Beat, as they were more commonly known outside of the States) emerged as a seminal exponent of the era's vibrant ska-punk movement. The band, which along with Wakeling (vocals/guitar) included Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bass), Everett Morton (drums), Lionel Augustus Martin AKA "Saxa" (saxophone), and Ranking Roger (toasting), earned both popular success and critical acclaim with hit singles like "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Stand Down Margaret," and "Save It For Later," often chronicling and, at times, decrying some of the most contentious issues of the day. Factory as a five-disc boxed set, The Complete Beat coll ...
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Seattle Pi article
Don't Walk Away in Silence
The Portland Mercury - over 4 years
After 18 years, Codeine reforms for a handful of shows. by Maranda Bish AS POP MUSIC'S history grows longer, so grows the risk of deserving bands becoming lost to obscurity. This almost happened to Codeine, a group with Pacific Northwest connections and a persistent influence on alternative music. Part of the pivotal early-'90s Sub Pop roster, on which the label engineered the "Seattle Sound," Codeine—consisting of Stephen Immerwahr (vocals, bass), John Engle (guitar) and Chris Brokaw (drums)—was one of the first bands to rein in the sonic capacity of amplified instruments, drawing out the expressive power in each note and beat to obliterating effect. Sometimes referred to as slowcore, their style was marked by a spacious pace and painfully frank lyrics, foundational strands of what's now blithely called indie rock. In 1992, amid efforts to follow up their definitive 1990 debut Frigid Stars with the Barely Real EP, inner conflict le ...
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The Portland Mercury article
Peel festival
Bury Free Press - over 4 years
A FESTIVAL is taking place in October this year in honour of Radio 1 DJ John Peel.
Article Link:
Bury Free Press article
Cass McCombs, Suit Case Royal and Cornershop Performing in the Perth Festival
MMD Newswire - almost 5 years
May 10, 2012 (MMD Newswire) -- The famous balladeer and composer, Cass McCombs is in town for a performance in the coming Perth Festival. McCombs, who was called as "unobtrusively brilliant" by John Peel, comes to the City of Lights for the first time to perform for the audience. "This is my first time here in Perth," says McCombs. "I've been to Sydney and Melbourne but never to Perth. I'm very excited to be here. I heard the Australian fans are great fans. So, I'm excited to perform for them." McCombs who has 6 albums since 2002, is now promoting his sixth album titled "Humor Risk" with the carrier single, Robin Egg Blue. McCombs is scheduled to perform his hits like My Pilgrim Dear, Aids in Africa, Opium Flower and many more. McCombs has also shared songs that he is currently composing for his next album. The award-winning junkyard blues band The SuitCase Royale is now in Perth to perform on the ongoing Perth Festival. They will be performing along with The Trio and are ex ...
Article Link:
MMD Newswire article
Exciting line-up for town festival
Bury Free Press - almost 5 years
AN EXCITING mix of live music, comedy, arts and sports has been announced for this year’s Stowmarket Festival. The event, which will take place between June 1 and June 10, will include regular favourites such as StowFest and StowBlues plus a host of community activities. The festival has grown from strength to strength since it was launched in 2010 by Stowmarket Town Council. Highlights include The Stowmarket Parkour Jam which will see freerunning fans from all over the country converging on the town centre to showcase their daring and dynamic stunts on June 7. towmarket Chorale will perform at the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts the same evening. StowBlues, a free blues event held at the Museum of East Anglian Life, will return after a successful launch last year that left the real ale stalls dry two hours before the event ended. It returns this year complete with a well-stocked bar. The popular Comedy at The Regal also returns, taking place on June 3. Stowmarket Festival ...
Article Link:
Bury Free Press article
John Peel record haul goes online
Bury Free Press - almost 5 years
MUSIC lovers can now rifle through one of Britain’s most celebrated record collections online.
Article Link:
Bury Free Press article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Peel
  • 2004
    Age 64
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Eulogies were read by his brother, Alan Ravenscroft, and DJ Paul Gambaccini. The service ended with clips of him talking about his life and his coffin was carried out to the accompaniment of his favourite song, The Undertones' "Teenage Kicks". Peel had written that, apart from his name, all he wanted on his gravestone were the words, "Teenage dreams, so hard to beat", from the lyrics of "Teenage Kicks". A headstone featuring the lyrics was placed at his grave in 2008. Peel is buried at St Andrew's Church, in the village of Great Finborough, Suffolk. A feature of Peel's BBC Radio 1 shows were the famous John Peel Sessions, which usually consisted of four pieces of music pre-recorded at the BBC's studios. The sessions originally came about due to restrictions imposed on the BBC by the Musicians' Union and Phonographic Performance Limited which represented the record companies dominated by the EMI cartel. Because of these restrictions the BBC had been forced to hire bands and orchestras to render cover versions of recorded music. The theory behind this device was that it would create employment and force people to buy records and not listen to them free of charge on the air. One of the reasons why all of the offshore broadcasting stations of the 1960s were called "pirates" was because they operated outside of British laws and were not bound by the needle time restriction on the number of records they could play on the air.
  • 2003
    Age 63
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Unfinished at the time of his death it was completed by Sheila and journalist Ryan Gilbey. It was published in October 2005 under the title Margrave of the Marshes. A collection of Peel's miscellaneous writings, The Olivetti Chronicles, was published in 2008.
  • 2002
    Age 62
    In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to discover the 100 Greatest Britons of all time, in which Peel was voted 43rd.
    More Details Hide Details Since his death various parties have recognised Peel's influence. A stage for new bands at the Glastonbury Festival, previously known as "The New Bands Tent" was renamed "The John Peel Stage" in 2005, while in 2008 Merseytravel announced they would be naming a train after him. The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts opened in Stowmarket in early 2013. The main purposes of the centre is to serve as a live venue for music and performance and as a community meeting point. In 2009 blue plaques bearing Peel's name were unveiled at two former recording studios in Rochdale – one at the site of Tractor Sound Studios in Heywood, the other at the site of Suite 16 Studios – to recognise Peel's contribution to the local music industry. On 13 October 2005, the first "John Peel Day" was held to mark the anniversary of his last show. The BBC encouraged as many bands as possible to stage gigs on the 13th, and over 500 gigs took place in the UK and as far away as Canada and New Zealand, from bands ranging from Peel favourites New Order and The Fall, to many new and unsigned bands. A second John Peel day was held on 12 October 2006, and a third on 11 October 2007. The BBC had originally planned to hold a John Peel Day annually, but Radio 1 has not held any official commemoration of the event since 2007, though gigs still take place around the country to mark the anniversary.
  • 2001
    Age 61
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Peel's stand-in on his Radio 1 slot, Rob da Bank, also played the song at the start of the final show before his funeral. Another time, Peel said he would like to be remembered with a gospel song. He stated that the final record he would play would be the Rev C. L. Franklin's sermon "Dry Bones in The Valley". On his Home Truths BBC radio show John once commented about his own death: "I definitely want to be buried, although not yet. I'm 61 on Wednesday—just a working day for me, I'm afraid—so actually I should have a mile or two left in me, but I do want the children to be able to stand solemnly at my graveside and think lovely thoughts along the lines of 'Get out of that one, you swine', which they won't be able to do if I've been cremated. I think I want 'Teenage dreams, so hard to beat' on my gravestone and every night at dusk the trumpeters of the 5th Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry to play Misty in Roots' 'Mankind' over the grave. Lovely."
  • 1998
    Age 58
    He was appointed an OBE in 1998, for his services to British music.
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  • 1997
    Age 57
    In 1997 The Guardian asked Peel to list his top 20 albums.
    More Details Hide Details He listed Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica as his number 1, having previously described it as "a work of art". The top 20 also included LPs by The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Pulp, Misty in Roots, Nirvana, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, The Four Brothers, Dave Clarke, Richard and Linda Thompson and The Rolling Stones. A longer list of his favourite singles was revealed in 2005 when the contents of a wooden box in which he stored the records that meant the most to him were made public. The box was the subject of a television documentary, John Peel's Record Box. Out of 130 vinyl singles in the box, 11 of them were by The White Stripes, more than any other band in the box. In 1999 Peel presented a nightly segment on his programme titled the Peelennium, in which he played four recordings from each year of the 20th century.
    The 1997 chart was initially cancelled due to the lack of air-time Peel had been allocated for the period, but enough "spontaneous" votes were received over the phone that a Festive Thirty-One was compiled and broadcast.
    More Details Hide Details Peel wrote that "The Festive 50 dates back to what was doubtless a crisp September morning in the early-to-mid Seventies, when John Walters and I were musing on life in his uniquely squalid office. In our waggish way, we decided to mock the enthusiasm of the Radio 1 management of the time for programmes with alliterative titles. Content, we felt, was of less importance than a snappy Radio Times billing. In the course of our historic meeting we had, I imagine, some fine reasons for dismissing the idea of a Festive 40 and going instead for a Festive 50, a decision that was to ruin my Decembers for years to come, condemning me to night after night at home with a ledger, when I could have been out and about having fun, fun, fun." After his death, the Festive Fifty was continued on Radio 1 by Rob Da Bank, Huw Stephens and Ras Kwame for two years, but then given to Peel-inspired Internet radio station Dandelion Radio, which continues to compile it to this day.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He was also in demand as a voice-over artist for television documentaries, such as BBC One's A Life of Grime. At the age of 62 he was diagnosed with diabetes, following many years of fatigue.
  • 1995
    Age 55
    Between 1995 and 1997, Peel presented a show about children, called Offspring, on BBC Radio 4.
    More Details Hide Details In 1998, Offspring grew into the magazine-style documentary show Home Truths. When he took on the job presenting the programme, which was about everyday life in British families, Peel requested that it be free from celebrities, as he found real-life stories more entertaining. Home Truths was described by occasional stand-in presenter John Walters as being "about people who had fridges called Renfrewshire". Peel also made regular contributions to BBC Two's humorous look at the irritations of modern life Grumpy Old Men. His only appearance in an acting role in film was in 1999 as a "grumpy old man who catalogues records" in Five Seconds to Spare, although he had provided narration for others.
  • 1982
    Age 42
    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.
    More Details Hide Details In 1971 he appeared not as presenter but performer, alongside Rod Stewart and the Faces, pretending to play mandolin on "Maggie May". He often presented the BBC's television coverage of music events, notably the Glastonbury Festival.
  • 1979
    Age 39
    In 1979 Peel stated: "They leave you to get on with it.
    More Details Hide Details I'm paid money by the BBC not to go off and work for a commercial radio station... I wouldn't want to go to one anyway, because they wouldn't let me do what the BBC let me do." Peel's reputation as an important DJ breaking unsigned acts into the mainstream was such that young hopefuls sent him an enormous number of records, CDs, and tapes. When he returned home from a three-week holiday at the end of 1986 there were 173 LPs, 91 12"s and 179 7"s waiting for him. In 1983 unsigned artist Billy Bragg drove to the Radio 1 studios with a mushroom biryani and a copy of his record after hearing Peel mention that he was hungry; the subsequent airplay launched his career. In the 1970s Peel and Sheila moved to a thatched cottage in the village of Great Finborough near Stowmarket in Suffolk, nicknamed "Peel Acres". In later years Peel broadcast many of his shows from a studio in the house, with Sheila and their children often being involved or at least mentioned. Peel's passion for Liverpool F.C. was reflected in his children's names: William Robert Anfield, Alexandra Mary Anfield, Thomas James Dalglish, and Florence Victoria Shankly. His later shows also regularly featured live performances (broadcast live, unlike the pre-recorded Peel sessions), mostly from BBC Maida Vale Studios in West London, but occasionally in the Peel Acres living-room.
  • 1974
    Age 34
    Peel married Sheila on 31 August 1974.
    More Details Hide Details The reception was in London's Regent's Park, with Walters as best man. Peel wore Liverpool football colours (red) and walked down the aisle to the song "You'll Never Walk Alone". Their sheepdog, Woggle, served as a bridesmaid. Rod Stewart and Graham Chapman attended. Peel's enthusiasm for music outside the mainstream occasionally brought him into conflict with the Radio 1 hierarchy. On one occasion, the then station controller Derek Chinnery contacted John Walters and asked him to confirm that the show was not playing any punk, which he (Chinnery) had read about in the press and of which he disapproved. Chinnery was evidently somewhat surprised by Walters' reply that in recent weeks they had been playing little else. In a 1990 interview, Peel recalled his 1976 discovery of the first album by New York punk band the Ramones as a seminal event:
  • 1971
    Age 31
    This admission was later used in an attempt to discredit him when he appeared as a defence witness in the 1971 Oz obscenity trial.
    More Details Hide Details The Night Ride programme, advertised by the BBC as an exploration of words and music, seemed to take up from where The Perfumed Garden had left off. It featured rock, folk, blues, classical and electronic music. A unique feature of the programme was the inclusion of tracks, mostly of exotic non-Western music, drawn from the BBC Sound Archive; the most popular of these were gathered on a BBC Records LP, John Peel's Archive Things (1970). Night Ride also featured poetry readings and numerous interviews with a wide range of guests, including his friends Marc Bolan, journalist and musician Mick Farren, poet Pete Roche, and singer-songwriter Bridget St John and stars such as the Byrds, the Rolling Stones and John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The programme captured much of the creative activity of the underground scene. Its anti-establishment stance and unpredictability did not find approval with the BBC hierarchy, and it ended in September 1969 after 18 months. In his sleeve notes to the Archive Things LP Peel calls the free-form nature of Night Ride his preferred radio format. His subsequent shows featured a mixture of records and live sessions, a format that would characterise his Radio 1 programmes for the rest of his career.
  • 1969
    Age 29
    In 1969 Peel founded Dandelion Records (named after his pet hamster) so he could release the debut album by Bridget St John, which he also produced.
    More Details Hide Details The label released 27 albums by 18 different artists before folding in 1972. Of its albums, There is Some Fun Going Forward was a sampler intended to present its acts to a wide audience, but Dandelion was never a great success, with only two releases charting nationally: Medicine Head in the UK with "(And The) Pictures In The Sky" and Beau in Lebanon with "1917 Revolution." Having had an affinity with the Manchester area from working in a cotton mill in Rochdale in 1959 Peel signed Manchester bands Stackwaddy and Tractor to Dandelion and was always supportive of both bands throughout his life. As Peel stated: It was never a success financially. In fact, we lost money, if I remember correctly, on every single release bar one. I did quite like it but it was terribly indulgent. Not as indulgent as it would have been had I not had a business partner, admittedly... I liked having a label. It enabled you to put out stuff that you liked without, in those days, having to worry about whether it was going to work commercially. I've never been a good business man.
    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.
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  • 1968
    Age 28
    He championed their music throughout his career; in 1968, he described their 1966 single "I Can Take You to the Sun" as "the best popular record that's ever been recorded." and shortly before his death, he stated, "If I had to list the ten greatest performances I've seen in my life, one would be The Misunderstood at Pandora's Box, Hollywood, 1966...
    More Details Hide Details My god, they were a great band!" His favourite single is widely known to have been "Teenage Kicks" by The Undertones; in an interview in 2001, he stated "There's nothing you could add to it or subtract from it that would improve it." In the same 2001 interview, he also listed "No More Ghettos in America" by Stanley Winston, "There Must Be Thousands" by The Quads and "Lonely Saturday Night" by Don French as being among his all-time favourites. He also described Lianne Hall as one of the great English voices.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Peel played an eclectic mix of the music that caught his attention, which he would continue to do throughout his career.
  • 1967
    Age 27
    When Radio London closed down on 14 August 1967, John Peel joined the BBC's new pop music station, BBC Radio 1, which began broadcasting the following month.
    More Details Hide Details Unlike Big L, Radio 1 was not a full-time station, but a hybrid of recorded music and live studio orchestras. Peel recalled, "I was one of the first lot on Radio 1 and I think it was mainly because... Radio 1 had no real idea what they were doing so they had to take people off the pirate ships because there wasn't anybody else." Peel presented a programme called Top Gear.
    After the closure of Radio London in 1967, Peel wrote a column under the title "The Perfumed Garden" for the underground newspaper the International Times (from autumn 1967 to mid-1969), in which he showed himself to be a committed, if critical, supporter of the ideals of the underground.
    More Details Hide Details A "Perfumed Garden" mailing list was set up by a group of keen listeners, which facilitated contacts and gave rise to numerous small-scale, local arts projects typical of the time, including the poetry magazine Sol.
    Peel returned to England in early 1967 and found work with the offshore pirate radio station Radio London.
    More Details Hide Details He was offered the midnight-to-two shift, which gradually developed into a programme called The Perfumed Garden (some thought it was named after an erotic book famous at the time – which Peel claimed never to have read). It was on "Big L" that he first adopted the name "John Peel" (the name was suggested by a Radio London secretary) and established himself as a distinctive radio voice. Peel's show was an outlet for the music of the UK underground scene. He played classic blues, folk music and psychedelic rock, with an emphasis on the new music emerging from Los Angeles and San Francisco. As important as the musical content of the programme was the personal – sometimes confessional – tone of Peel's presentation, and the listener participation it engendered. Underground events he had attended during his periods of shore leave, like the UFO Club and "The 14 Hour Technicolor Dream", together with causes célèbres like the drug "busts" of the Rolling Stones and John "Hoppy" Hopkins, were discussed between records. All this was far removed from Radio London's daytime format. Listeners sent Peel letters, poems, and records from their own collections, so that the programme became a vehicle for two-way communication; by the final week of Radio London he was receiving far more mail than any other DJ on the station.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Shirley Anne Milburn later took her own life.
  • 1965
    Age 25
    While in Dallas, in 1965, he married his first wife, Shirley Anne Milburn, then aged 15, in what Peel later described as a "mutual defence pact".
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    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.
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  • 1963
    Age 23
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He later phoned in the story to the Liverpool Echo. While working for the insurance company, Peel wrote programs for punched card entry for an IBM 1410 computer (which led to his entry in Who's Who noting him as a former computer programmer), and he got his first radio job, albeit unpaid, working for WRR (AM) in Dallas. There, he presented the second hour of the Monday night programme Kat's Karavan, which was primarily hosted by the American singer and radio personality Jim Lowe. Following this, and as Beatlemania hit the United States, Peel got a job with the Dallas radio station KLIF as the official Beatles correspondent on the strength of his connection to Liverpool.
  • 1960
    Age 20
    While in Dallas, Texas, where the insurance company he worked for was based, he conversed with the presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, and his running mate Lyndon B. Johnson, who were touring the city during the 1960 election campaign, and took photographs of them.
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    In 1960, aged 21, he went to the United States to work for a cotton producer who had business dealings with his father.
    More Details Hide Details Once this job finished, he took a number of others, including working as a travelling insurance salesman, remaining in the United States until 1967.
  • 1959
    Age 19
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Whilst in Rochdale Monday to Friday, he stayed in a bed-and-breakfast in the area of Milkstone Road and Drake Street and developed long-term associations with Rochdale through the years.
  • 1939
    Born on August 30, 1939.
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