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"Disc, apart from John Peel's column, would seem to be an almost total waste of time and 6p." (Pete Frame surveying the pop press in Zigzag 24, 1972)


Disc Music Echo

Disc & Music Echo was a weekly music paper, which was aimed largely at a teenage readership and was at the peak of its popularity during the heyday of pop singles in the mid-1960s. Writers who worked for the paper included Jonathan King, the influential and outspoken singles reviewer Penny Valentine and "house hippy" Hugh Nolan, who later became a DJ, doing Peel-influenced programmes in the early 1970s for Radio Geronimo and Radio Seagull.

In the mid-1960s, Disc included a weekly American column by former Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, then living in Los Angeles and doing publicity for artists such as the Byrds, Paul Revere & the Raiders and Captain Beefheart. In 1967 Taylor embraced the hippy culture and was one of the organisers of the Monterey Pop Festival. His Disc column exuded the "utopian positivity of the Love Generation....spreading the word of Love to the uninitiated British" (Jon Savage, Mojo, June 2017, p.71). Apart from Melody Maker's Nick Jones, who briefly became an adherent of the hippy culture before leaving MM in late 1967, Taylor was the only writer in the British music press to express sentiments similar to those of Peel on the Perfumed Garden show on Radio London. [1]

Disc was home to a Peel column for several years from the late '60s, but the paper lost influence (and circulation) as the pop audience began to diversify - hence the Pete Frame comment quoted above. During the early part of the period Peel also contributed a column to International Times; then, occasional articles to The Listener. From 1973, he started writing for Sounds.

Olivetti Chronicles

Several of Peel's columns for Disc & Music Echo were reprinted in The Olivetti Chronicles:

  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Ipswich, 119-21
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Lovelace, pg. 146-50
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Osmonds, pg. 197-200
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Sick in Trains, pg. 273-7
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Loudon Wainwright, pg. 327-30
  • 1971-07-31: Peel at the ‘Quiet’ Albert Hall, pg. 214-17
  • 1972-04-01: Captain Beefheart 2, pg. 39-41
  • 1972-12-07: Football, pg. 94-6
  • 1973-04-14: Roadshows, pg. 260-2
  • 1973-04-21: Faces, pg. 88-9
  • 1973-05-12: Liverpool, pg. 141-2

Other Columns

1968

  • Jan 20 (Chart page, "Hit Talk by John Peel"; "Englebert's is well-sung but so boring!"): It's incredibly sad that the National Press were so destructive in their reviews of "Magical Mystery Tour." They just seemed to have been waiting for the opportunity to pounce on the Beatles for something. Of all the songs I think "Blue Jay Way" is probably the most ...(read more)
  • Nov 2 (John Peel's ABC Of Beauty, extract): ... Van der Graaf Generator: They seem to have disappeared briefly. Two of them (perhaps there are only two) came and sang songs for an hour on the floor of Peel Acres ... (read more). An A-Z of British artists who'd caught Peel's attention at the time, both famous and obscure ("There will be complaints that this is a purely personal and arbitrary list. This is quite true...."). Complete article, together with One Stop Records Top 20 (Captain Beefheart's LP "Striclty Personal" is at number one), available here.

1969

  • April 5: It would be nice, perhaps, to talk of Principal Edwards Magic Theater - a large group of gentle people who would seem to represent what is coming in the boundless universe of music. It is not easy to say exactly how many of there are because tonight, or tomrrow, you may be part of Principal Edwards ... (read more)
  • June 7 (extract; review of Deep Purple's The Book of Taliesyn); This has been around for a while in the import shops - you may have noticed John Vemon Lord's excellent sleeve. All the Harvest sleeves are good, in fact, all being gatefolds or whatever you call them....... The group have done some fine things for Radio One and they excite when they play live - that's why I don't understand where this record went wrong. It is all too restrained somehow......(read more)
  • Aug 2: It is nice to be, as Derek Taylor pointed out last week, a member of the Plastic Ono Band. If you remember, you are too - our first hit record and it is a good feeling. Play it somewhere friendly, and sing along and it does feel right ... (read more)
  • Oct 4: Buxton, Derbyshire, is 48 miles from Chester, 24 from Chesterfield, 34 from Derby, 35 from Huddersfield, 25 from Manchester, 28 from Sheffield, 24 from Stoke-on-Trent and 159 from London. It seems an unlikely place for a joyful night ... (read more: upper part / lower part)

1970

  • Jan 3: Family, Graham Bond and Sam Apple Pie at London's Albert Hall. Leaving early because of the weather. Driving alone up the M1 on the snow. Through Bradford and on to Shipley around midnight. Sleeping on the floor and warmth and love and cups of tea. A wedding and a reception. Friendly northern voices and laughter. Driving to Bingley and ... (read more)
  • May 2: The Pop Proms having finished, I hope that Roy Guest and I will be able and willing to try again next year. Musically the week proved really nice with several outstanding performances. The first group on the Monday were Bronco who are very highly rated by such authories as ...(read more)
  • May 30: THE PIG said about half-way through that all the film critics had said nasty things about the film. Even the LP had come as a bit of a disappointment to many people. It was, for me, just about the saddest film I've ever seen and when the four of them suddenly froze on the roof of Apple, it was difficult not to let a small tear creep from the corner of the eye so I didn't bother much ... (read more)
  • June 20 (extract): If you can recall the Wednesday "Night Ride" I used to help with, then you'll remember the curious things from the BBC archives that were played. Some of the best are gathered together on BBC Radio Enterprises REC 68M which will be easily as hard to get hold of as the "Top Gear" LP was. It's called "Archive Things" and is quite a laugh-brings back memories of a programme that I still miss a lot.
  • Sep 26: Each weekday we would walk down Denhall Lane toward the marshes, between the high hedges that marked the boundaries of Hughes Farm, past the white painted gate with red gate posts on which the cows scratched themselves ... (read more)
  • Oct 31: One of these murky mornings we're going to wake up and find that man is the only animal remaining on the planet. Of course "ecology" is a fashionable word nowadays - Sammy Davis wanted to use it as the name of a record label - and it's a word that is even used in the ...(read more)
  • Nov 7: THE ECONOMICS of the pop industry have always been a mystery to me. On the rare occasions that I've inadvertently tipped over the stone with the edge of my foot and caught a glimpse at the writhing beneath I've seen a world equal in horror to any of those so alarmingly detailed by H.P. Lovecraft ... (read more)
  • Nov 21: Immediately after breakfast I went next door and sunk 50,000 tons of shipping. The best the Pig could do was 20,000 tons. The machine on which we performed this wanton destruction is in an amusement arcade next to the Wimpy Bar in ...(read more)
  • Nov 21: New Singles

1971

  • Jan 9: It all started with 10 inch French RCA L.P.'s by Big Maceo Merryweather, Washboard Sam, Jazz Gillum and Sonny Boy Williamson. Having heard WRR's "Kats Karavan" show ten to midnight nearly every night of 1961 and 1962 and after hours of ...(read more)
  • Jan 16: Lying in bed listening to the Weird Beard early in 1964. The Weird Beard was really Russ Knight and was, at that time, the strangest DJ I'd ever heard. If you have access to the finest imported LPs in the "Cruisin" series Russ does in 1962 (I'd heard an extract or two from that on Noel Edmunds, curious programme). He was talking about ...(read more)
  • Mar 20: The schoolgirl contest that never was: "from his position beneath _____ (a newspaper reporter) Mr. X said 'hello sailor' and 14 years later my name appeared, misspelled, in his column". Later Tempestua Verbatim described as an "office junior", asked me to buy her a cup of coffee ... More Thrilling Revelations Next Year ... (read more)
  • Sep. 4: "Peel at Weeley Festival" : The Pig just carried in my birthday cake. It's Monday and the cake is chocolate and she made it last night. My birthday treat was beating Johnnie Moran at squash this morning. Now she's having a sleep while I listen to the... (read more)
  • Oct. 23 (extract): I'd like to have seen the Everly Brothers myself although I hate to hear former heroes going through all their "Greatest Hits" rendered at an accelerated tempo and strung together in a minute and a half medley which is apparently what the ... (read more)
  • Nov. 6 (extract): If it's good music you're after--well all I can do is suggest that you try Radio Luxembourg early on Friday evenings when I'll be playing a wholesome disc or two on a programme called "Stenhousemuir 2 : Cowdenbeath 2". There is no reason at all why the programme should be thus named but I didn't want it to be called something "meaningful" and pompous so "Stenhousemuir 2 : Cowdenbeath 2" it is. Ultimately it is to be hoped that the affair will contain contributions from friends old and new, inside leg measurements of the stars and other diversions but, for the time being, we'll have to stick with good music.
  • Nov. 27: Have you any idea how far away Bridlington is? If you were to tell me that Bridlington is the farthest away place from anywhere I'd believe you without question. In a recently repaired Friday (a van) I drove alone bitterly cold up the A1 for what seemed like several days before turning right through Selby and through the ... (read more)
  • Dec. 4: If you have famous / notorious friends then you too could be taken to parties of which you could sit and observe other famous / notorious people as they grace gracefully among the cocktails and handcrafted sandwiches. This very Tuesday Richard Neville and I were among the guests on Steve Bradshaw's fine "Breakthrough" programme on Radio London ... (read more)
  • Dec. 11: Woe is me I'm unfashionable. Bowed as I am beneath monstrous pressures of work, it is all too seldom that the Mighty Pig and I to get the opportunity to witness Liverpool practising their mysterious arts and whenever we do get the chance we find ourselves ... (read more)
  • unknown date: "Last Tuesday I had one of the most encouraging radio experiences I've had since the original Radio London was closed down. The new Radio London has given over several hours of each Tuesday evening to Steve Bradshaw and have called the result "Breakthrough" ... (read more)

1972

  • Feb 5: This was the week when Hazel Gilroy asked for my autograph. Contrary to what you may believe I am seldom asked for my autograph and am grateful that this is the case I always feel slightly fraudulent writing "John Peel" rather than "John Ravenscroft" and I've never been able to develop a "flash" looking Peel that really looks like an autograph should ... (read more)
  • Feb (exact date unknown, republished on sleevenotes of 'The Faust Tapes' LP): "The first time I heard tell of Faust was when I saw their extraordinary first LP in its equally extraordinary sleeve and felt that, regardless of the music within, I had to acquire one. When the music turned out to be highly original and very exciting that was a welcome bonus ..." (read more)
  • Feb 19: Whenever the lights go out and you start to feel the cold again don't curse the miners. Rather curse a form of government which is based on the same sort of principal that could have a football team stand motionless throughout a game in the hope that their opponents would score an own goal ... (read more)
  • Jun 10: Singles
  • Aug 19: "Watching the girls go by...". Peel writes his column while at the Reading Festival: It's about 5.30 on Sunday evening. On stage Status Quo are performing a well received boogie or two. On the roof of the van are a security man. Eclection's manager and a member of Good Habit. Good Habit got the festive under way about the time on Friday evening that I was sitting on the steps of All Souls watching the secretaries going home for the weekend ... (read more)

Other Mentions

1967

  • Sept 23 (News page - short item: "John Peel at Tiles") "John Peel's highly successful "Perfumed Garden" show opens a weekly spot at Tiles club, London, this Sunday (24). It will run from 8 p.m. to midnight."
  • Oct 7 ("It's Onederful!") JP and Top Gear of 01 October 1967 included in a review of the first two days of Radio 1, by David Hughes: ""Top Gear" I enjoyed because I like John Peel and the music he plays...." (read more here)
  • Oct 28 (Who's Who On Radio 1 series): By now it was four weeks since the station began broadcasting. Obviously Disc had graded the DJs by estimated importance and popularity, and so Tony Blackburn had received a whole page but Peel (and Pete Brady, Dave Cash and David Ryder) was alocated a couple of paragraphs at the bottom of page 11, underneath a far more important article about Cliff Richard's Christian beliefs. The last line of the piece on Peel says that in addition to contributing to the Sunday afternoon Top Gear programme, John also has a monthly news programme on "all the nice things happening in London" for Dutch TV.
  • Dec 30 ("Radio 1 men are queueing up to meet fans at the BBC stand") "Boys And Girls Exhibition" at Olympia has been running since 1967-12-30. Peel is not due to make his first appearance until 1968-01-03, alongside Tommy Vance and also Tony Brandon.

1968

  • February 10: (Pop Post, readers' letter responding to JP's column in January 20 issue) "John Peel regards Englebert's ballads as 'wallpaper music'. So what?...." [1]
  • March 23 (Scene gossip column): John Peel's late night Wednesday Radio 1 show is getting back towards his Perfumed Garden days...last week he played 17th Century French Baroque music, the Stones, San Francisco's Blue Cheer and far-out modern jazzman Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra, plus poetry and stories. Nice! (As the issue would have hit newstands on Thursday the 21st, the show referred to appears to be the Night Ride of 13 March 1968, only the second one broadcast).
  • March 30 (Grapevine column, "John Peel Show On Radio Luxembourg"): And here's some news from your friendly station of the stars. Radio Luxembourg is planning to pull John Peel into their new-look programmes which start this weekend. With such top Radio 1 names as Tony Blackburn, Alan Freeman, David Symonds and Pete Brady already signed up, 208 have invited Peel, the personality everybody seems to want, to host his own show six nights a week, between 12:40--1:10 am, with the tentative title "The Other Side Of The Track". In fact this is to be only a pseudonym for "The Perfumed Garden" show which won him fame with Radio London.
  • May 25 (Singles reviewed by Penny Valentine): John Peel likes Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera and he is not alone. A good group....(read more)
  • June 8 (Interview by Hugh Nolan): "D'Ye Ken John Peel - he's the minority deejay": "It's difficult to realise what a tiny minority one is in. The majority would rather look at a pretty chocolate box than a Paul Klee - anything that doesn't make them think" (read more)
  • June 22 ("Stones Office - Setting For A Mad Hatter's Tea Party", by Penny Valentine): "....I arrive at midday and they are waiting for Mick Jagger to arrive with John Peel for an interview. The five huge rooms - furnished like a flat - are in controlled uproar.." (read more)

1973

  • Feb 17 (Andrew Tyler: John Peel: Peel And The Pig — An Everyday Story Of Country Folk): John Peel is a sensitive figure with a sturdy patch on the crotch of his jeans and a tendency towards schoolgirls and sensible underwear ... (read more)
  • March (exact unknown unknown): "I'd love to hear a 10cc album." (The quote was subsequently used on the back sleeve of 10cc's self-titled first album.[2])

References

  1. In April 1968 Taylor returned to England to work for the Beatles again, as the press officer for their newly created Apple Corps. After that, he joined the newly launched UK record company WEA, where Peel's manager Clive Selwood was also employed as manager of Elektra's London branch. One of the acts he encouraged was the Liverpool band Deaf School.

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