• 1969-02-16
  • Entire show now available: edited highlights on file a (§).
  • JP busy with live gigs as well as radio work; he sounds fairly happy with life and has a number of friends in the studio to keep him company, a habit which John Walters objected to when he took over as Top Gear producer a few weeks later.
  • Peel mentions a concert on the previous evening with Tyrannosaurus Rex at Birmingham Town Hall, at which he had read poetry. This was part of the tour in which David Bowie was bottom of the bill, as a mime artist, an occurrence which JP would often recall after Bowie had achieved fame. An advertisement for the tour in International Times 49, Jan. 31-Feb. 15, 1969, bills it as Tyrannosaurus Rex in concert ("For the lion and the unicorn/In the oak forests of faun") with "Vytas Serelis (sitar) and John Peel (catalyst)".(Bowie is not mentioned.) Other dates were Croydon Fairfield Hall (16 Feb.), Manchester Free Trade Hall (22), Bristol Colston Hall (23), Liverpool Philharmonic (1 March), Brighton Dome (8 March). The tour was "A Nems Enterprise".
  • Relating tales of other gigs the previous week, Peel mentions that on Friday (14 Feb.) he judged a beauty contest at Acton Town Hall on behalf of Ealing Technical College. Bands: Maddening Crowd, Steve Miller's Delivery (this is a band led by the British blues pianist Steve Miller, not his more famous American namesake). The previous night (13 Feb.) he had attended a disastrous "dance" at Locarno Ballroom, Swindon (hardly anyone turned up; see Gigography 1969 for details), then went to see Fairport Convention at another venue in the same city - he's full of praise for their performance.
  • John describes Liverpool's 0-2 defeat the previous day at Anfield to Nottingham Forest as a "temporary setback" and expresses confidence in them still winning the League Championship. In fact, they "came close to a record eighth league title, but fell short to the sensational consistency of Don Revie's Leeds United." [1] Match report.
  • The show features one of the few TG sessions by influential American groups of the era, in this case the San Francisco band Moby Grape. Peel comments that they didn't seem particularly interested in doing the session - a pity, he thinks, when so many British groups would love to get the chance to do one.
  • In his sign-off at the end of the show, he recommends to his listeners the programmes of Radio 1 colleagues Pete Drummond, Mike Raven, David Symonds and Kenny Everett - as well as Alan Freeman's Pick Of The Pops, which follows Top Gear.



File b starts

  • Misunderstood: 'Children Of The Sun (7")' (Fontana) (Peel defends the record against Roy Wood's rubbishing of it in Melody Maker's Blind Date, explaining that it was recorded two years earller and praising Glenn Campbell's guitar playing) §
  • Bakerloo: 'Big Bear Ffolly' (Peel Session)
  • Spirit: 'I Got A Line On You (7")' (CBS)
  • Caravan: 'A Place Of My Own' (Peel Session)
(JP: 'We hope ultimately to have the Led Zeppelin on this programme, but they rushed off to America so quickly after their formation we didn't get a chance to record the meantime, I'll have to be content with tracks from their LP, which is called evocatively Led Zeppelin.')

File c

  • B.B. King: 'It's My Own Fault (LP-Live At The Regal)' (HMV) [4] §
  • Moby Grape: 'Truckin' Man' (Peel Session) § (JP dedicates this to "everyone who was at the Blue Boar last night", especially the "Rugby Rockers". Presumably he called in at the motorway cafe on his way home from the Tyrannosaurus Rex concert at Birmingham Town Hall.)
  • Judy Collins: 'Story Of Isaac (LP-Who Knows Where The Time Goes)' (Elektra) (JP: 'A Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen composition...') §
  • Bakerloo: 'The Last Blues' (Peel Session) §
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex: 'Pewter Suitor (7")' (Regal Zonophone) §
  • Caravan: 'Green Bottles For Marjorie' (Peel Session) §
  • Procol Harum: 'Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone) (LP-Shine On Brightly)' (Regal Zonophone) §
  • Chicken Shack: 'Get Like You Used To Be (LP-O.K. Ken?)' (Blue Horizon) §
  • Moby Grape: 'Ain't That A Shame' (Peel Session) §
  • News at 4.30 § (Stories; call for strike by Ford workers after rejection of company's pay offer; Rhodesian opposition leader calls for opposition to new constitution, describing it as "pure apartheid"; dispute over location of French/Belgian border in small town)
  • Three Dog Night: 'Nobody (7")' (Stateside) §
  • Bakerloo: 'Driving Bachwards' [5] (Peel Session) §
  • East Of Eden: 'Northern Hemisphere (LP-Mercator Projected)' [6] (Deram) (JP lets the track run for a minute before noticing it's at the wrong speed, apologises to the listeners and to his producer Bernie Andrews - on holiday - before hurriedly making amends) §
(JP: 'Even Simon Stable didn't notice that was playing at the worng speed (presumably the club DJ, record shop owner[3] and International Times columnist was in the studio with JP). I think it sounded rather good at that speed: we all agree it sounded rather good at that speed. It's a good thing playing things at the wrong speed, because I used to have a 78 of Bill Haley's Two Hound Dogs which had an amazing sort of sax guitar solo in the middle of it: sounded great at 33, sounded like primeval beasts calling to one another across the swamps, as it were. Perhaps not, as the case may be.')
  • Strawbs: 'The Battle' (Peel Session) (Peel observes that this track was well received by listeners on first broadcast of the Strawbs' session. After playing it, JP asks: "Did you like that, pop pickers?" Studio guests: "Mmm...")
  • JP has not cued up the next track so he gives an "illustrated lecture" in how he does it
  • Collectors: 'Things I Remember (LP-Grass And Wild Strawberries)' (Warner Bros.)
  • Peel mentions being "saddened" by a sign at the start of the M1 forbidding motorists from stopping to pick up hitch-hikers and says he'll still be happy to have hitch-hikers in his van.
  • Moby Grape: 'Five To Eight' (Peel Session)
(JP: 'As I was saying, this week I seem to have lumbered myself a little bit as far as travelling goes, because in addition to Croydon tonight, tomorrow I've got to go to Sheffield, on Tuesday I've got to go to Manchester, on Wednesday I've got to do Radio 1 Club and Night Ride here in London, on Thursday I've got to go to Durham, on Friday I've got to go to Watford, on Saturday back to Manchester, and on Sunday I shall be doing this programme in an oxygen tent, so I hope you'll be listening to good to one another, be kind and gentle and loving...see you next week"')


  • a) 1969-02-16 - John Peel - Top Gear
  • b) BBC R1 - John Peel's Top Gear (16-02-1969) - A
  • c) BBC R1 - John Peel's Top Gear (16-02-1969) - B
  • a) 00:47:30
  • b) 01:01:05
  • c) 01:00:09
  • a) 192K MP3, 64.3Mb. Split into individual tracks. Many thanks to Paul and Eddie.
  • b) & c) Many thanks to Kev and Chris.
  1. JP mentions that the first track on the LP, the final words of the 1933 film King Kong ("it wasn't the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast") followed by the band taking the stage, is called "Clergy" - but it"was going to be called something else but the record company wouldn't let them put it on the sleeve." That original title was King Cong, as in the mass political organisation with its own army that emerged on the winning side in the Vietnam War.
  2. A single whose B-side, the Jagger/Richards/Faithfull composition, "Sister Morphine", is better remembered than the A-side.
  3. A cover of the Soft Machine track}. My copy here enjoy!
  4. John Lee Hooker cover.
  5. Spelling confirmed by JP: that on p.255 of The Peel Sessions is the more conventional adverb. Title may also have been inspired by Freddie King's "Driving Sideways".
  6. Peel refers to the LP as Centaur Woman, which is the title of track 4, side 1.
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