• 1989-08-30
  • Fiftieth Birthday special, introduced by John Walters. Show features surprise gig in Peel's honour recorded the previous night at Subterranea, London. Due to the surprise nature of the event, Peel's own pre-recorded show for the evening was postponed and broadcast the following night, 31 August 1989. It had been pre-recorded to allow him to spend his birthday at home with his family.
  • The Undertones had agreed to reform to play on the night but were forced to pull out due a family bereavement. The House Of Love took their place.
  • Knowing of Peel's liking for the music of Gene Vincent, The Fall included a cover in their set. Mark E Smith introduced the number with, "we learned this especially for John's birthday."
  • (K) Some of the best things about this wholly unrepresentative show are, I think, the intros: Walters, The Shend, Scott Piering... and of course Peel's emotional speech at the end.



  1. Christine
  2. Love In A Car
  3. Shine On
  4. Salome
  5. Destroy The Heart
  6. Man To Child
  7. Can't Stand It
  1. What Have I Said Now?
  2. Crushed
  3. Kennedy
  4. Thanks!
  5. Bewitched
  6. Granadaland
  • Fall (live at Subterranea)
  1. Mere Pseud Mag Ed
  2. I'm Frank
  3. Arms Control Poseur
  4. Fiery Jack
  5. Race with the Devil (Gene Vincent cover)
  6. Carry Bag Man
  7. Mr.Pharmacist
  • Scott Piering calls Peel up to the stage

JP final comments

  • Barmy Army: Sharp As A Needle (show plays out to this)


  • Peel 50th Birthday show 1989-08-30a
  • Peel 50th Birthday show 1989-08-30b
  • 47.24
  • 40.17
  • Show has been unavailable in full before. The Fall set has long circulated online (see The Fall celebrate John Peel's 50th Birthday).
  • As the BBC doesn't have an archive copy, the Wedding Present set was released officially only after David Gedge had appealed to fans for tapes of the radio show. It seems that the one eventually used may well have been from a member of the Peel newsgroup.
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