• 1981-12-23
  • The Festive Fifty begins. Three recordings are available: the first (§) contains the start of the show, some session tracks and the whole of the chart section in very good stereo, whereas the second (¶) contains mostly pause button edited session tracks in fair but slightly noisy stereo. The third is the chart section alone.
  • John is worried that the record played for no. 48 is warped, but puts a penny on the stylus arm to good effect.

Session Repeats

  • Birthday Party, #2. Recorded 1981-04-23. Available on The John Peel Sessions (Strange Fruit).
  • Cure, #4. Recorded 1981-01-07. No known commercial release.
  • Musical Youth, #1. Recorded 1981-04-22. No known commercial release.
  • Au Pairs, #3. Recorded 1981-01-21. No known commercial release.
  • Bee Vamp, one and only session. Recorded 1981-10-24. 'Our Eyes Met Across The Disco Floor' available on 12" (Red Flame).


(JP: '...hear a Beefheart track on Neil's programme? This is plainly the season for having your preconceptions overturned. Tonight we start the Festive Fifty, that'll be shortly after 11 o'clock. That's your Festive Fifty, made up from your three favourite tracks of all time, and we have sessions from the Birthday Party, Cure, Musical Youth, Au Pairs, Bee Vamp, and I think we'll start with this. Bite!') §
(JP: 'Still sounds absolutely gear to me...Will that be in the Festive Fifty? We'll find out over the next few days, next couple of weeks really I suppose.')
  • Cure: 'Holy Hour' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Musical Youth: 'Don't Blame The Youth' (Peel Session) ¶ edited out
  • Au Pairs: 'We're So Cool' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Birthday Party: '(Sometimes) Pleasureheads Must Burn' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Bee Vamp: 'Valium Girls' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Cure: 'Forever' (Peel Session) ¶
(JP: 'The Cure at their most inaccessible I think on that occasion.')
  • Au Pairs: 'Headache For Michelle' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Birthday Party: 'Roland Around In That Stuff' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Musical Youth: unknown (Peel Session) ¶ previous track segues into this for a split-second before it cuts out
  • Cure: 'All Cats Are Grey' (Peel Session) ¶
  • Birthday Party: 'Loose' (Peel Session) § back announced only
  • Cure: 'Primary' (Peel Session) § end of track only
(JP: 'And the last tonight from Musical Youth.') §
  • Musical Youth: 'Can't Fight It' (Peel Session) § edited out
  • Au Pairs: 'The Setup' (Peel Session) § ¶ (back-announced only on File a)
(JP: 'Thanks kids, real groovy...I think I ought to get somebody else to write this stuff!') § ¶
(JP: 'And we'll be with the Festive Fifty after this next, which is the last from Bee Vamp.') § ¶
  • Bee Vamp: 'Nigel Follows Barry To Bengal (Session) § ¶ (back-announced only on File a)
(JP: 'The Bees Vamp, and that could very well have been 'Nigel Follows Barry To Bengal', but then again, no.') § ¶
(JP: 'And so to the Festive Fifty: I always get very nervous actually before starting on the Festive Fifty in case I make some really terrible mistake. As you know, as you perhaps don't know. but as you almost certainly do know by now if you listen regularly, these are the records which you the listener have chosen as your favourite records of all time. We'll start fairly logically with number 50, and I should emphasise before we start that, although there are times when I feel like changing things to fit my own personal tastes, I don't, despite what you may think, so....') §

1981 Festive Fifty: Numbers 50-41

File c begins

(JP: 'Song Sung Blue, the session recording, almost got into the Festive Fifty as well, which is the only time that any of our session tapes have come close. In fact, there were quite a number of votes for "Hello and good evening, we're Altered Images."') § [1]
  • 49: Siouxsie And The Banshees: 'Switch (LP-The Scream)' (Polydor) §
  • 48: New Order: 'Procession (7 inch-double A side with Everything's Gone Green)' (Factory) § ¶
  • 47: Fall: 'Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul (7 inch)' (Kamera) §
  • 46: Echo And The Bunnymen: 'Over The Wall (LP-Heaven Up Here)' (Korova) §
  • 45: Killing Joke: 'Pssyche (7 inch)' (E.G.) §
  • 44: Joy Division: 'Isolation (LP-Closer)' (Factory) §
  • 43: Joy Division: 'Twenty-Four Hours (LP-Closer)' (Factory) §
  • 42: Dead Kennedys: 'California Uber Alles (7 inch)' (Alternative Tentacles) §
  • 41: Only Ones: 'Another Girl, Another Planet (7 inch)' (CBS) §
(JP: 'Been quite interesting so far, I think. Goodnight.') §
  • Radio 1 closedown and midnight news §

Files a and c end


  • a) JP19811223.mp3
  • b) BH014 JP 1981-12-23 Side A
  • c) 1981-12-23 Festive Fifty #1 50-41
  • a) 00:53:23
  • b) 00:46:10
  • c) 00:48:26
  • a) 256k stereo.
  • b) File created from BH014 of the Hinton Box: many thanks to Brian and Colin. Fair stereo recording, with a good deal of hiss.
  • c) Very good quality stereo.
  1. John is referring to the first words spoken by Clare Grogan on said session track, a brief snatch of which appears before this play.
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