• 1976-12-28
  • Third of six shows featuring the legendary, long-lost 1976 Festive Fifty, the first ever.
  • Tracklisting information below kindly provided by Ken Garner, author of The Peel Sessions, via the Peel Mailing List. Many thanks, Ken!
  • The 1976 Festive Fifty remains something of a holy grail among collectors of Peel shows, and no recordings from any of the programmes have come to light as yet. If you have such a thing, or any old recordings on tape, you are urged to contact the Peel Mailing List, where your arrival will be greeted with much rejoicing. EDIT - the rejoicing may begin. Many thanks to taper John Cavanagh and his pal Ken for making this show available after all those years.
  • Start of show: "'Well, we have no sign of the hymn tune Repton here, I'm afraid, but we do have tonight further selections from the year's best sessions, this time those from Stretch, Bill Aitken and Racing Cars, and we also take up the Festive Fifty once again at number 35, and I will read out for latecomers a resume of what the dolts have missed. Two hours of remarkably good music, all things being considered, and we start with...."


  • Stretch, #3 (rpt). Recorded 1976-09-30. No known commercial release. 'The Way Life Is' not TX in this show.
  • Bill Aitken, one and only session (rpt). Privately recorded June 1975. The remaining two tracks were TX on 03 January 1977. [1]
  • Racing Cars, #2 (rpt). Recorded 1976-09-09. No known commercial release.


  • Stretch: 'Can’t Get Enough' (Peel Session)
(JP: 'One feels somehow instinctively, doesn't one, that that's terribly true.')
(JP: 'On most of the sessions we've had during the year, the engineering's been done by Bill Aitken, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't do the engineering on that Racing Cars session. [2] And of course, you may recall that earlier in the year, we had a session from Bill himself, [3] tapes that he'd put together entirely by himself and in his own time, and we broadcast them and they were very good. Since then. Bill's been working on his LP with a bunch of other musicians, and hopefully this LP will be released sometime early in the New Year. Anyway, this is the first from Bill.')
(JP: 'A band for all seasons.') Followed by traffic report of ice and fog in Kent.
(JP: 'He's not bad at all, is he, actually? We must try and get a new session from him sometime early in the New Year. That's Bill Aitken, and that's his own song called 'Ghosts Of Yesterday'. And we'll be resuming with John Peel's Festive Fifty at number 35 in just a moment or so, but before that....')
  • Stretch: 'Rock ‘N Roll Hoochie-Coo' (Peel Session)

1976 Festive Fifty: Numbers 35-25

(JP: 'And now we start back again with Peel's Festive Fifty, and for those of you who have no idea what that is, back in about the middle of November, we invited listeners to nominate their three all-time favourite tracks whether they were LP tracks or singles, send them to us on a postcard in order and we'd award them points on a 3-2-1 basis, and build from that your Festive 50. And for those of you who missed the first two broadcasts of the Festive 50 on Christmas Eve and last night, let me remind you what you've missed.') Rundown of numbers 50-36 ensues.
(JP: 'Well, I'd dearly love to have a copy of the Top Of The Pops film that had me pretending to play mandolin on that.')
(JP: 'I hope we hear a great deal more of Jonathan Richman in 1977.')
(JP: 'Don't know why it's called John Peel's Festive Fifty: bit of a misnomer actually....Up until now, you might have been excused for believing that the whole thing was rigged by me cos there are a lot of my favourites in there. This should convince you otherwise, though.')
(JP: 'I was very chuffed to see that get in there...the only record the catalogue number of which I know off by heart 'cos of the number of times I've had to write and tell people what it is....I'd like to dedicate that one to my mother, because when the band came over here in 1966, they went and stayed with her for a few months. I don't think she's ever fully recovered from that.')
(JP: 'I had expected that to be a bit higher, but the Who, one of those groups that have such an extensive catalogue, most of which was covered by votes, that their stuff didn't get quite as high as their position in the rock-a-boogie world would merit.')
(JP: 'This, I'm almost embarrassed to tell you, is number 27.')
(JP: 'Well, if it had been left up to me, there'd have been five or six Little Feat tracks in the Festive 50.')
(JP: 'Wake up Pig, it's time to go home....Not sure how that got in there, but it did.')


  • a) Peel 1976-12-28a F50 #35-25
  • b) Peel 1976-12-28b F50 #35-25
  • c) 1976-12-28 John Peel BBC Radio 1.mp3
  • a) 01:02:23
  • b) 00:57:52
  • c) 02:00:10
  • Many thanks to John and Ken for making this long unheard show available.
  • a) & b) No longer available online
  • c) Mooo
  1. The PasB for this repeat mistakenly says 8-12-75, which was the original broadcast date of the tape.
  2. Maybe he did: The Peel Sessions (p. 322) lists the engineer as unknown, with Tony Wilson being the producer.
  3. Actually first TX late in 1975.
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