• 1970-12-26
  • The first identifiably festive show in the Peel canon (for a list of the others, see Celebrations.). Aside from the Carol Concert, Xmas fare includes some tracks from Elvis Presley's Christmas album (which the DJ had won in a record auction) and the BBC Light Programme Children's Favourites staple, "Nellie The Elephant", according to JP the Pig's favourite record.
  • A couple of track choices poke fun at some of the year's musical trends; classical-rock fusions, musicians playing fast, and "heavy" bands.
  • The tracklisting below was originally from notes made by User:Smorodina while listening to the original broadcast. Thanks to Ken Garner for corrections from the PasB script and additional information. One conflict between the two sources is that the Incredible String Band session track was noted by Smorodina as 'Everything is Alright Now' while the PasB states it was 'Won't You Come and See Me', which was first played as part of the band's fifth session on 25 July 1970. A track called 'Everything's Fine Now' was part of ISB's sixth session, recorded 1970-10-06 not aired until 09 January 1971. The song, originally included on the ISB's 1966 debut LP, is actually entitled "Everything's Fine Right Now", and was recorded under that title for a session for Stuart Henry's Sounds of the Seventies, broadcast on 24 September 1970. It may be that Peel played it here by mistake, or as a preview of the forthcoming Top Gear session, or simply announced the wrong track.
  • UPDATE the track is "Everything's Fine Right Now" and is similar to the version the ISB performed during 1970 as part of their live set and on the German TV show Beat Club (now available on DVD). John did announce it as "Everything Is Alright Now".
  • The Rudies perform Peel's first "reggae" session (the band would reform the following year as Greyhound), showing that the DJ was taking a genuine interest in the music. British reggae was big at this time, particularly with skinheads (although "underground" as far as the media was concerned) and this is a group of Jamaicans who had arrived in the UK and were intent on riding the interest in reggae. Rudie and Greyhound found it difficult past the audition porcess. Had auditioned in 1968 as Glenroy Oakley and the Oracles. The audition panel recorded that they felt it was "badly played", "wrong chords," "pseudo reggae", "out of tune" according to Ken Garner; Greyhound recorded a session on 14/8/71
  • The Rudies do a couple of cover vesions; "You Make Me So Very Happy", a hit for Blood Sweat And Tears and Brenda Holloway before Alton Ellis took it into the reggae charts; and Clarence Carter's "Patches".
  • As with the 1969 Xmas period Top Gear, the majority of the tracks transmitted are from sessions recorded for the programme during the past year, with exceptions marked where known.


  • Carol Concert, one and only session. Recorded 1970-12-08. No known commercial release. This was a one-off collaboration featuring David Bedford on piano and Marc Bolan, June Child, Ivor Cutler, Sonja Kristina (& friend), Rod Stewart, Robert Wyatt, Mike Ratledge, Ron Wood, Ronnie Lane, Peel & Pig (JP and his girlfriend at the time, Sheila Gilhooly), Kenny Jones and Ian McLagan all on vocals (in unison, with differences noted below). Sheila claims that John Walters was also part of the line-up of 'all the usual suspects' who 'squeezed into the studio to contribute our own idiosyncratic versions' (Peel, J. and Ravenscroft, S., Margrave Of The Marshes, Corgi Books, 2006, p. 297).
  • Rudies, one and only session. Recorded 1970-11-23. No known commercial release.


  • Start of show from Radio London (BBC) relay on FM; JP dedicates it to those listening on their own
  • George Harrison: My Sweet Lord (LP - All Things Must Pass) Apple STCH 639
  • Elvis Presley: Blue Christmas (LP - Elvis' Christmas Album) RCA Camden INT 1126 ("One of John Walters' and my favourite Chrsitmas records..".)
  • JP talks about being happy to present sessions by "archetypes" on the show, from the roots of the music, like Imrat Khan, Son House - and the Chieftains.
  • Chieftains: An Mhaighdean (Maigdean) Mara (Reels) (session)
  • T Rex: Ride A White Swan (session)
  • newsflash - death of athlete Lilian Board (followed by some twiddling of the radio dial)
  • Rudies: Moon Bug (session) ("That's really lovely...") - followed by motoring flash.
  • Family: Lives And Ladies (session) ("for me, their finest hour, so far...that may well be Family's "Hey Jude")
  • Monty Python: Trade Description Act (LP - Monty Python's Flying Circus) BBC Radio Enterprises REB 73M (interrupted by BBC Radio London announcement; "and that's where we have to leave Radio 1...")
  • Switch to AM
  • Incredible String Band: Everything's Fine Right Now (session)
  • Fleetwood Mac: Tiger (First Gear session) (cover of a Fabian song, dedicated to Johnny Moran and Bernie Andrews for the "First Gear" programmes they did during Peel's holiday in August. Track is from a session the band did for one of these shows)
  • Country Joe McDonald: Tell Me Where You're Bound (session)
  • Rod Stewart: Cut Across Shorty (LP - Gasoline Alley) Vertigo 6360 500
  • W C Fields: The Chicanery Of WC Fields (LP - The Original Voice Tracks From His Greatest Movies) Decca DL 79164 (Peel descibes how he and Walters enjoyed a series of Fields' short films shown in London)
  • Kevin Ayers: Derby Day (session) (Song dedicated by Ayers to various people including Robert Wyatt, the College of Pataphysics and Père Ubu - the character in the plays by French symbolist writer Alfred Jarry,, from whom the later US band took its name)
  • Ry Cooder: How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live (LP - Ry Cooder) Reprise RSLP 6402
  • B Bumble & The Stingers: Nutrocker (single) Top Rank JAR 611 ("for those peaple who are hung up on classic-rock fusions")
  • Massed Bands: Imperial Echoes (LP - Tattoo Highlights) Encore (Track played speeded up - "this is very heavy and very fast...right on, can you dig it? Spirit of Woodstock")
  • news read by Colin Nicol
  • Steeleye Span: Rave On (session)
  • Steeleye Span: The Blacksmith (session)
  • Rudies: You Make Me So Very Happy (session) ("for Blood Sweat And Tears freaks")
  • John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: Love (LP - Plastic Ono Band) Apple PCS 7124
  • Results of Miss Top Gear contest - winner sent photo of one and a half rhinoceroses. First prize is a meal at the Blue Boar with Peel and Walters. Second prize is a year-old Christmas pudding.
  • Cochise: Past Loves (session) ("one of my favourite compositions of the past year")
  • Osibisa: Ayiko Bia (session)
  • Medicine Head: Sing With The Drum (session)
  • Matthews Southern Comfort: And When She Smiles (session)
  • Monty Python: Interesting People (LP - Monty Python's Flying Circus) BBC Radio Enterprise REB 73M ("you may not find it easy to obtain in your local record store...")
  • Rudies: Patches (session)
  • Syd Barrett: Effervescing Elephant (session)
  • Mandy Miller: Nellie The Elephant (single) Parlophone R 4219
  • Elvis Presley: Santa Claus Is Back in Town (LP - Elvis' Christmas Album) RCA Camden INT 1126
  • Carol Concert session, in following order:
  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  2. Away In A Manger (Rod Stewart solo)
  3. Good King Wenceslas (Ronnie Lane & Robert Wyatt solos) (see below for audio clip)
  4. Silent Night (Sonja Kristina solo)
  5. O Come All Ye Faithful
  • (JP "And if all church services were as joyful as that one, you couldn't keep me out of the places")
  • Programme ends - then pips, followed by motoring flash. Radios 1 and 2 combine. Timecheck; it's 7.30.


  • J P Top Gear 26 Dec 1970 complete.mp3
  • 01:57:40
  • A portion of the Carol Concert featuring 'Good King Wenceslas' is also available from the Kat's Karavan blog. The 'expert' at the end of clip chat appears to have confused this show with the non-festively themed 27 December 1969 broadcast.
  • Main file thanks to the original taper, and to Tim for purchasing from eBay and digitisation
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