Links To Peel
Deep Purple's debut radio session, presented by Peel, went out on his Top Gear show as early as June 1968, some weeks before even their debut single was released. Based on their performance on the show the verdict of BBC Radio One's selection panel was "enthusiastic, unanimous pass, polished commercial group," which ensured further, important BBC airplay for the band in their early years. However, Peel was disappointed with their second album, released in 1969, The Book of Taliesyn, and is alleged to have said:
"The group have done some fine things for Radio One and they excite when they play live. I don't understand where this record went wrong, it is all too restrained somehow. They recorded "Wring That Neck" much better for a recent Top Gear." 
Some kind of breaking point for Peel seemed to be reached when Purple performed Concerto for Group and Orchestra with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in September 1969, with a subsequent vinyl release in December 1969. In a later interview, the DJ recalled:
"Concerto was, quite simply, spectacularly awful. And the worst thing is, I thought it was crap then, too. People say, 'Oh, you used to play a lot of Purple on Top Gear,' which I did. But when they brought in an orchestra, I bailed out." 
Even so, in 1970, when Deep Purple performed at the BBC Studios in London after the band stepped in at the last minute for Joe Cocker, who cancelled his scheduled appearance, Peel, who was presenting the concert show, was impressed with their sound:
"That's the type of Deep Purple I like to hear." 
However, in a Melody Maker "Reaction" article (November 14, 1970), when Deep Purple was mentioned, he commented:
"Ah, yes, a very successful band. I don't know them all but I've spoken to Jon Lord and he seems a nice guy. They are shrewd and will probably remain successful for some time. Obviously publicity conscious, but there's nothing wrong with that. They seem to be trying to create a controversy where no controversy exists. A lot of groups play formula rock and Deep Purple do it admirably. I just happen to be one of those jaded people who like to hear the unexpected. That's why I like Led Zeppelin and not Deep Purple. Zeppelin had the courage to do something different from what their fans expected. They could quite easily have made their third album "Son Of Whole Lotta Love"".
On another occasion, in an interview with the underground paper Friends (issue 26, March 22 1971, p.20) he compared them unfavourably to Doris Day;
"But it's still the children of the same people who are doing the manipulation, so to my mind a group like Deep Purple are as much show-biz as, say, Doris Day. But Doris Day owns up to it...."
By 1971 Peel was getting bored with the sounds of bands such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, ELP and Ten Years After. In a Melody Maker interview with Michael Watts (quoted by Ken Garner, The Peel Sessions, BBC, 2007, p75), Peel explained:
"Those bands have lost the spark somewhere down the line and are basically going through a routine... we're going through a very sterile period... the one distinguishing feature of Progressive music with a capital "P" is that under no circumstances should it progress an inch, because if it does people don't want to know."
By the mid-70s, although many of Peel's listeners were still eager to listen to Deep Purple, Peel was reluctant to play the band. On the 1976 Festive Fifty, listeners voted Child In Time at number 25, Peel responded by stating:
'Wake up Pig, it's time to go home....Not sure how that got in there, but it did.'
When punk arrived on the scene in the late 70's, Peel removed many hard rock and prog acts from his playlists and rarely played any of Deep Purple's material again.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 1976 Festive Fifty: Child In Time #25
- Two sessions. Both sessions are found on the "The BBC Sessions 1968-1970" (BBC).
- Hush / One More Rainy Day / Help
- Hey Joe / Hey Boppa Re Bop / Emmaretta / Wring That Neck / It's All Over (first broadcast 23 March 1969)
- Recorded: 1970-02-19, Broadcast: 22 February 1970. Officially released on "In Concert" (Harvest, 1980)
- Speed King
- Child In Time
- Wring That Neck
- Mandrake Root
Other Shows Played
(The following list was compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive and is certainly incomplete. Please add further details if known.)
- 16 March 1969: Emmaretta (7") Parlophone
- 17 March 1972: Never Before (single) Purple
- 28 December 1976: Child In Time FF #25
- 02 December 2003: 'Space Truckin' (LP- Machine Head)' (Purple)
- 19 October 2004: Highway Star (LP- Made in Japan) (presented by Rick Smith and Karl Hyde of Underworld)