For the 2 Nov 1968 edition of Disc & Music Echo, columnist John Peel offered readers his "ABC of Beauty', featuring British "underground" artists both famous and obscure who caught his attention at the time ("There will be complaints that this is a purely personal and arbitrary list. This is quite true....").
The full list of artists picked by Peel is reproduced below in his original order, under each letter of the alphabet. His brief comments on each selection can be read in the complete article, available here.
Many of the artists featured would have been familiar to listeners of Peel's Top Gear and Night Ride radio shows, while others subsequently recorded sessions or had their records played by the DJ; he admitted that he hadn't yet heard Caravan or the Third Ear Band, both mentioned in the article. Van Der Graaf Generator were one band who gained valuable early publicity from being featured in Peel's list, as later recalled by Peter Hammill.
Others soon lost favour with the DJ, including Deep Purple, Ten Years After and Yes, or are names only known to experts on late 1960s music (Kate, Vamp, Harsh Reality). A few don't seem to have been played on Peel shows at all - like the satirical singer-songwriter Jeremy Taylor, who, after being exiled from South Africa because of his opposition to apartheid, became a BBC regular on radio folk programmes before having his own TV series, and later collaborated on live shows with Spike Milligan.
At the end of the article there is a short list of artists who didn't quite make the final listing; these include Peter Sarstedt, the British band Kaleidoscope and two who read suspiciously like the kind of group names Peel enjoyed making up (Pregnant Insomnia, Bamboo Shoot).
- Bakerloo Line, Barclay James Harvest, Beatles, Bee Gees, Blonde On Blonde, Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Brian Auger Trinity (and Julie Driscoll), Bridget St John
- Jackie Lomax, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, Jeremy Taylor, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jo-Ann Kelly, Joe Cocker (& The Grease Band), John Mayall (& The Bluesbreakers), John Dummer Blues Band, John Martyn, Johnstons, Jon Hiseman's Colosseum, July, Junior's Eyes
- Pentangle, Pink Floyd, Pretty Things, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, Procol Harum, Pete Brown's Battered Ornaments
- Sallyangie, Savoy Brown, Scaffold, Serendipidy, Shirley Collins, Skip Bifferty, Small Faces, Soft Machine, Spooky Tooth, Strawbs
- ↑ Pregnant Insomnia did exist, and recorded a single for CBS's Direction label in December 1967. It was reviewed in Disc & Music Echo by Penny Valentine, who said that the band made "interesting noises" but that they had "not the nicest name in the wrold".
- ↑ As Gilbert O'Sullivan was known, before he had chart success a couple of years later under his full name..
- ↑ Members went on to form King Crimson.
- ↑ Featuring Mike Oldfield and sister Sally.