• Andy Kershaw Show
  • 2004-10-31
  • A tribute show for Peel by his good friend and long-time colleague Andy Kershaw, broadcast shortly after Peel's death.
  • Show features some favourite records of Peel, Kershaw's anecdotes about him, messages from listeners, and some vintage clips. All quotes in the tracklisting below are from Kershaw unless otherwise indicated.




”Hi, this is Andy Kershaw on BBC Radio 3 with a programme I never wanted to have to present, but we are not going to get mawkish about the loss of our great friend and a great man. That's the last thing that John would have wanted. Instead we are going to celebrate him with some of his favourite records and some of your messages and emails. John was also contemptuous of the new national trend for public sentimentality, so instead of a minute's silence tonight for John Peel, an hour and three-quarters of noise!”
I remember I think in the summer of 1986 going to see the Bhundu Boys for the first time with John at some college down in Chelsea. And I turned round to look at him halfway through the gig and there were tears streaming down his face, and he described the music as the most natural flowing music he had ever heard in his life.
(On the Damned) “That first John Peel session, the mother of Rat Scabies sent Peel and his producer John Walters a note which said, 'Thank you for helping Christopher with his career'!
John always said he had two regrets - that he couldn't sing and that he didn't have a bigger willy. Well, I can't never saw his willy, but I can testify that he couldn't sing, because on more than one occasion, driving around with him, he liked to bellow along to this on the car stereo. And it is also, you know, how he liked to see himself - I raised a lot of cane back in my younger days / My mama used to pray my crops would fail.”
(on James Carr) “John's favourite soul voice...”
(After reading listener's message about first hearing Peel's show on the radio) ”I can distinctly remember the first time I listened to the John Peel show. It would be sometime probably around 1974-75, something like that, and he was playing some Jamaican DJ like Ranking Trevor and then he played this, and it had precisely the same effects on me. It was the breadth of new music on John's programme which shaped my musical landscape. He changed my life too.
(Vintage Peel trailer for KOMA) “For the very latest information about the Beatles, Yardbirds, Rolling Stones and all of the other English groups, in addition to exclusive recordings by these groups and lesser-known but magnificent performers such as the Hollies, the Mighty Avengers, Spencer Davis Group, Snotty & The Nosepickers, and the Boys Blue, listen for me, John Ravencroft, when I have the honour of joining Bobby Davis and K nightly on KOMA, the only station with its finger firmly on the pulse of the English scene.”
”Many years ago, John and I presented a Radio One programme together live from the Glastonbury festival. And it was a muddy one that year, and the legs of the Radio One mobile had at one end sunk into the ground. And we were playing this next one for our women folk – in John's case Sheila and mine Juliette – and to be honest with you we were getting a bit sentimental, because we were a bit squiffy. And because the truck was tilting at one end, so were the turntables, and John looked at this LP going round in his best deadpan way, 'Oh handy, the record seems to be playing uphill.' So Sheila, once again, this is for you.”
(Peel clip from Top Gear, later rebroadcast on Radio Radio) “Well, we do have about 20 seconds to fill in, and this morning I found an ancient and rather damaged hurdy-gurdy down Westbourne Grove, and the Pig will now play it for you...” (Sounds of hurdy-gurdy) “OK, stop! She's gone mad. That is some fine hurdy-gurdy. That was Abide With Me, in case you didn't recognise it.”
  • Ivor Cutler: Life in a Scotch Sitting Room Vol. 2 Ep. 12 (session)
”Van Morrison & The Caledonia Soul Orchestra at the Rainbow, on that tour from which that album was recorded, at the Finsbury Park Rainbow in 1973 or 1974, John said was one of the best concerts he had ever seen. Not least he said because 'I was having strong urges about the viola player'. And it was also in Finsbury Park itself where John and Sheila and myself and Juliette went together to see our great hero Neil Young a few years ago. And we were quite near the front and they played Hurricane and the rain came down. And caught in the stage lights it was absolutely magical. It looked like the air was filled with jewels as Neil stood in the middle of all this blazing away and blasting us with an electric gale.”
"Kevin Coyne rang to say, “We all owe it to John.”
(On “matey DJ chat”) “We reduced that down to the point where he used to hand over to me and we used to say, 'Matey DJ chat', 'Matey DJ chat'.
”Another email here... 'What about playing Diblo Dibala's Matchatcha Wetu, the one that mentions 1 minute and 12 seconds in 'BBC John Peely' as part of the lyrics?' And also, referring to another Zairean guitarist, Joseph says, 'Do you remember Peel in the early '90s threatening to have the name of Bongo Wende tattooed on the knuckles of the children?'”
”John loved Diblo's guitar playing, so admired him, that one afternoon we were down here at the BBC and we learned that Diblo was over in Stern's African Records. We raced over there just so John could get his autograph.
”And John loved this next band so much he once said he'd like to buried alongside them. Where that leaves Nigel Blackwell tonight I really don't know.”
  • Oldham Tinkers: Come Whoam To Thi Childer An' Me (live recording dedicated to Peel, from Kershaw show?)
(Peel from Radio Radio, 1986) “We used to listen to the radio during the war and I had no idea really what was going on, but at the same time the radio played a very important part in our lives. We had a blue radio in the air-raid shelter at the top of the garden – being middle-class people, we had our own air-raid shelter – and we used to cluster around that as the planes flew overhead. So I used to listen to the radio from a very, very early age, and was always interested in it. I mean, for all kinds of silly reasons, like all of those wonderful names that were engraved on the dials. You know, Schenectady, which is in New York – why that was on the radio I have never known. I didn’t become aware of listening to the radio deliberately, as it were, until I started listening to Radio Luxembourg and the American Forces Network when I was about ten or 11 years old.
And then I heard Elvis Presley on Two-Way Family Favourites – Heartbreak Hotel. And I’d read a little bit in the music press about Elvis Presley, but nothing had really prepared me for the reality of it. Just the starkness of it was one of those things which is literally transcendental – I mean, something which my children will never experience, because they have grown up gradually with all of popular music and I don’t think there is going to be one of those, I’m sure it’s called something like a quantum jump, that is going to be so radically different. So I heard Elvis, and then on AFN a week or so later, it may have been longer, I heard Little Richard, and that I always say hearing Little Richard on AFN was like Saul on the road to Damascus. I mean, nothing was – genuinely, nothing was – ever the same again.”
  • Faces: Had Me a Real Good Time
(Peel from Radio Radio) “I’m always rather puzzled by the fact that after all of these years, and this is going to sound terribly vain but it genuinely isn’t, that I usually win music paper polls, not only in Britain but in Germany and in other countries as well. And it does seem to be a sort of indictment anyway of other radio programmes. Now I’m not saying they should all be like my programme, but it does seem to me that after all this time and all these polls I have won, that somebody somewhere would say, 'Well, this old twerp must be doing something that’s right'."
”You know, I genuinely believe John wanted to be in the Faces … and in fact he did play with the Faces one time when eh pretended to play the mandolin – or rather he mimed the mandolin – when they played Maggie May on Top Of The Pops.”
”Another email here...'Andy, years ago John used to say that when he finally slumped over the turntables, he had issued instructions to John Walters to come in an open his show with 'An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease' by Roy Harper. Since old Walters made it to the pavilion ahead of him and I doubt anyone at Radio One has been there long enough to remember, you're the only one there left to do it for him.' We shall here that in just a second.”
”Another great favourite of John's – in fact he claimed to have seen him play live in Dallas, Texas, when he was living there in the early '60s...”
”Roy Harper's 'When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease', the record John Peel wanted played when he died. I should have put it on at the wrong speed, shouldn't I? Thanks for all your support and messages over the last few days, thanks very much for listening tonight, but most of fall, thank you, John Peel.”


  • 1) Kershaw Peel Tribute
  • 2) John Peel Tribute by Andy Kershaw - BBC Radio 3 - 31st Oct 2004
  • 3) 20041031 Andy Kershaw tribute show [R3].mp3
  • 1) 1.55.13
  • 2) 1:40:47
  • 3) 1:41:48
  • 1) Torrent version is split up into individual tracks.
  • 2) Many thanks to colinhayes.
  • 3) Many thanks to Ian
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