• 1993-12-25
  • The 1993 Festive Fifty played in its entirety, in a three and a half hour show, 10.30 p.m. Christmas Day to 2 a.m. Boxing Day.
  • This chart marked a departure from the previous Fifties in two ways. Firstly, it was the first of three occasions when the whole chart was played in a single show (the other two years when this happened were 1997 and 2002).
  • Secondly, for the very first time, JP abandoned his customary playlist of sessions of the year and/or favourite records.
  • It was also the second time two charts were played in the same year: 1982 and 2000 saw yearly charts and all-time ones aired, and this year had already seen the belated appearance of the Phantom Fifty from 1991.
  • Start of show: "Hello pals, music-loving John Peel here with you for the next three and a half hours. It's time for your Festive Fifty, your favourite tracks of the year. And it'll be interesting to see whether, or how many, Whitney Houston records there are in there. She's not at number 50, though, alas."
  • JP wasn't sure whether Kęstas was a male or female. In fact it is a Lithuanian male name.


  • None


1993 Festive Fifty

(JP: 'I'm going to have to go like the wind to get everything in, so there won't be an awful lot of chat, but I can tell you that I shall be announcing the winner of our exciting win the top thirty LPs of the year as perceived by the people working in record shops in London. What else will I be doing? Just playing lots of tunes, really.')
(JP: 'Some of the more keen-eared amongst you may have spotted we're also going to be playing session tracks as well, and that was one such, in fact.')
'(JP: 'I suppose I ought to thank all the people who sent in entries to this year's Festive Fifty. It's always nice to get a great big pile of them, even though it means a great deal of...well, I was going to say, extra work for me, but to be perfectly honest, this year, Alison Howe, who's the programme assistant, did the bulk of the work, the first time I've surrendered the reins of office really, so it wasn't a great deal of hard work for me, although it was for her.') [1]
(JP: 'It's taken them twenty-seven years to get into the Festive Fifty. This must be the proudest moment of their lives, I'd say.') [2]
(JP: 'It's the fabulous Festive Fifty on 1FM...I think, actually, I was going to make you wait right up to the end of the programme before I drew out the name of the winner of our exciting competition, but obviously you might have other things that you wish to do, so I'll draw it out after this next record.')
(JP: 'What this competition was, in case you have no idea what it is that I'm talking about, was about three weeks ago, a major record shop or part of a chain, is perhaps overstating the case, but there are two record shops anyway in this 'chainette', and they suggested, I think they made up a list of their best LPs of the year or something, just a whim really. Members of the staff had made this list, and they said, would we like to give the top thirty on their list to a lucky listener? We thought this was a pretty neat idea really, and so we asked them to set the question. The question was, where does the record label Wiiija, from what does the record label Wiiija derive its name? Of course, the answer to that is it's the Rough Trade shop in London, W1 1JA. We drew a name out of the hat while that was playing, and it's been won by Jonathan MacNabb of Tunbridge Wells in Kent. See? A boy in the south of England. It's always the same with these competitions. It's most irritating, but he did win it, so we'll have to stick with that. I was tempted to put me hand in and try and get another one, but I thought, no, that wouldn't be fair to Jonathan, although he'd never know. That's the kind of bloke I am....He says, "P.S. Could you please settle an argument? My friend thinks the Fall are crap, I say they're ace. Which of us is right?" I think you can tell your friend that he or she is a dickhead.')
(JP: 'It's quite humbling, I think, at Festive Fifty time to know that you're broadcasting to the entire nation. I don't know why Radios 2, 3, 4 and 5 even bother putting out programmes at this time.')
'(JP: 'If you've just joined us recently and want to know who won the competition for the thirty top LPs, it was Jonathan MacNabb of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and I've just noticed, picking his card up again, that on the reverse is a picture of Kylie Minogue. Exactly how it should be.')
(JP: 'Very pleased to see this one at number 34.')
(JP: 'First class, if you ask me.')
('Not a lot I can say really in the course of these broadcasts, apart from reading out the occasional card. As you might imagine, a lot of the people who wrote in and said, "Can you please mention me and all of my mates in the course of the Festive Fifty broadcasts?", and although I would dearly like to do this, quite clearly we'd end up by just being a recital of names, and we wouldn't have any time to play any records, but my thanks to all of those people who sent cards, and all of the people who sent Christmas cards, as always. They're always gratefully received. Here's one from KT Marne, for example, from London N11, with some good advice on it, actually, and quite interesting stuff as well. He says, "Seeing as Liverpool are causing you so much grief at the moment, I suggest you consider following the fortunes of Swaziland's '11 Men In Flight'. Some joy and lightening of the heart can already be gained from this, as last week they won the cup." '11 Men In Flight' is a great name for a football team, I must say.')
(JP: 'At number 31, a record I was rather surprised to see there. I mean, nothing wrong with it at all, but I think it's the only record in the Festive Fifty that I didn't actually play on these programmes during the year.')
(JP: 'And welcome to Christmas, Christmas Sunday, because Boxing Day is on Monday, for reasons which I don't begin to understand at all.') [4]
  • 29: Fall, 'Ladybird/Green Grass' (Peel Session)
(JP: 'I suspect that if this had been issued as a record like a month earlier than it was, it might have been higher than 28.')
(JP: 'Always when we do this Festive Fifty, people write in from overseas. Obviously, the bulk of votes come from within the British Isles, but we get quite a few from Germany, one or two from Poland each year. I think the furthest away, from the Baltic States this year, and I got one from Dainis Bushmanis, who writes to me from Latvia, and I apologise if I've pronounced your name incorrectly, Dainis: I'm sure I have done, in fact. And he says, "My band of the 90s is Bark Psychosis." Well, you'll be pleased to hear that there's an LP by Bark Psychosis: I'm sure I saw one in the pile of stuff that I've got to listen to over the next few days, and I'll try and put a few tracks in the next programme of 1994 for you. Obviously, he votes for Bark Psychosis in his Festive Fifty as well. We have to wait till the end of the programme to discover whether they've made it or not, but anyway your letter's much appreciated, and he also wants to know more about Bark Psychosis, I shall do what I can to get in touch with them and get them to write back to you, because I think you deserve that.')
(JP: 'One of those that leaves you never quite sure when to start talking.')
(JP: 'That's the sixth Fall track in this year's Festive Fifty so far...and that's the way it should be, too, in my view....David Gedge out of the Wedding Present is a great student of the Festive Fifty. If you're listening, David, happy Christmas and all that sort of thing. I ought to give him a ring, really, to find out which band has had the greatest number of tracks in the Festive Fifty in any one year. Probably the Smiths, or possibly even the Wedding Present themselves, or it could be the Fall, I'm not sure. I ought to know, but frankly I can't remember.') [5]
(JP: 'I was pleased to see this at number 23.')
(JP: 'I'd like to mention at this junction Kęstas, 'it must be, who writes to me from Kaunas in Lithuania, and who sent me his Festive Fifty-possibly hers, to be quite honest with you, I'm not sure. Is 'Kęstas 'a male or a female name? Or perhaps both, I don't know. Anyway, very much appreciated, obviously, getting votes from as far away as that. He had 'Going To Spain' as his number one....I think it's probably the fact that he didn't have a copy of the record, because he'd got it down as 'Going To Spend'. So what I will do, I think, is try and find a copy of the record and see if I can get it to Kęstas in Lithuania, so watch out for that in the post. That's if I ever get around to doing it, of course. Very unlikely.')
JP: 'You are bit by bit reticent!')
(JP: '93 was the first great year for popsters from Asian backgrounds, and I hope that 94's going to be better still. I suspect it will be.')
('At number 16, one of the best, most obscure and most sought-after records of the year: nobody even knew where it came from, as far as I know, and I never managed to track down another copy of the record. Loads of people offered me daft money for the one that I've got.')
(JP: 'They're always lumped in with a load of bands that make a similar noise, so they say, but to me they're head and shoulders above those.')
(JP: 'Available in about 3,000 different mixes, so I thought it was probably easier to stick with the version on the LP.')
(JP: 'My favourite chorus of the year, anyway, no doubt about that.')
  • 11: Fall, 'Why Are People Grudgeful? (7 inch)' (Permanent)
(JP: 'You're not going to catch me talking over this one...their tenth entry in this year's chart, which is thoroughly bizarre, actually.')
(JP: 'Still livid about the fact that I never got to see them when they were over here.')
(JP: 'All around the country, tension is rising as we move into the top eight of the Festive Fifty for this thanks to my son William for lending me that.')
(JP: 'Our Thomas does a really good imitation of the last ten to fifteen seconds of that. I like to think she's barely got started yet.')
(JP: 'Regardless what you thought of them, or indeed of 'riot grrls' generally, there's a lot of women in the top eight of this Festive Fifty.')
(JP: 'I've got an uncomfortable feeling that it jumped at one stage, and I apologise for that if it did. There's always a great temptation for a major build-up before you play the number one in the Festive Fifty, but I'm not on these programmes, it's always shut up and play the tunes, so this is number one.')
(JP: 'Frankly, it's hard to imagine a more appropriate number one to the Festive Fifty in this depraved year. If only pop songs made some difference....Thanks very much for listening to all of this, and I'm sorry, Mark, for overrunning by a few seconds into your programme.')


  • a) ff93.1.1&2, ff93.2.1&2, ff93.3.1
  • b) F50_1993_01a & b
  • c) 1993-12-25 John Peel BBC Radio 1.mp3
  • d) 1993-12-xx Peel December 1993.mp3
  • e) f50 1993 first 8 mins
  • f) john peel festive 50 1993 to number 40
  • a) 00:47:56, 00:48:38, 01:06:16, 01:04:04, 01:19:21
  • b) 00:26:25, 00:46:59
  • c) 03:27:08
  • d) 01:57:43
  • e) 00:07:54
  • f) 00:46:40
  • a) The recording starts in the middle of the number 49 track. The final file ends at 00:31:47. The rest is silence.
  • b) Edited to include the tracks alone and starting with number 45.
  • c) All available parts edited together to form a complete show. Many thanks to Bill.
  • d) Selected tracks are available on Peel_December_1993 including the missing first track and a half (Sans links)
  • e) Includes all of Peel's intro to the programme. Stops at number 48.
  • f) Recording starts in the middle of the number 50 track until the end of number 40. Many thanks to Tim.
  1. In truth, Peel admitted having help from other hands with the 1990 Festive Fifty, and the Phantom Fifty was entirely put together by an anonymous listener from Sheffield.
  2. It seems reasonable to deduce that JP is exaggerating for comic effect here. Pulp were formed in 1978, and recorded their first session for his programme in 1981.
  3. Peel plays the US 'radio version', with the line 'you're so fucking special' altered to 'you're so very special'. He neglects to mention that not only had the song been released unsuccessfully the previous year, thereby normally rendering it ineligible for inclusion in the Festive Fifty of this year, but that Radio 1 as a whole had refused to play the song that year, finding it 'too depressing'.
  4. See this page for an explanation of this phenomenon.
  5. JP's first guess is right: the Smiths placed 11 entries in the 1987 chart, a record which was never equalled.
  6. Mark E. Smith seems to give the impression in interviews that this is a Fall original: it is actually a cover of a 1972 track by Steve Bent, which was featured in Kenny Everett's first 'World's Worst Wireless Show' in 1977.
  7. Taken from a Peel Session.
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