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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. In spring 1966 it changed its name from simply Disc to Disc & Music Echo, and under the editorship of Ray Coleman (later to edit Melody Maker from 1970), it offered a lively view of the pop scene of the day.

Disc's influence declined in the 1970s, and in 1975 the paper, after having dropped Music Echo from its name in 1972, merged with Record Mirror.

Links to Peel

Aside from an earlier mention in Melody Maker of "John Peele" [sic[, Disc was the first of the pop weeklies to refer to Peel and his show, in three issues in July 1967 (sse below). noting his two-hour tribute to the Rolling Stones on the Perfumed Garden after Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had received prison sentences for drug posession, his increasing popularity with Radio London's listeners, and the fact that the station could be picked up with good reception in north-east Scotland, where Pink Floyd listened to his show after doing a gig.

Disc was more sympathetic to the pirate radio stations and DJs than some of its weekly rivals, which led to further mentions of Peel and his show in the period before Radio 1 began broadcasting. The paper became home to a Peel column for several years from 1968, when the DJ was becoming a fashionable and influential face on the pop scene. After JP joined the paper, it ran ads in the rival weekly Melody Maker hoping to gain extra readers by highlighting his contribution (for examples, see the Other Mentions sections of Melody Maker: 1968 and Melody Maker: 1969).

Writers with Peel connections who worked for the paper included Jonathan King (who praised Peel and predicted success for him in an August 1967 column, but later became more critical of his influence - see Other Mentions below), the influential and outspoken singles reviewer Penny Valentine, short-lived fashion editor and agony aunt Anne Nightingale, 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]

By June 1970 Peel was listed as one of Disc's regular staff, alongside others including Penny Valentine, the only survivor from the paper's mid-1960s heyday (like him, she would later move to Sounds). However, the paper gradually lost influence (and circulation) as the pop audience began to diversify. Pete Frame, surveying the pop press in 1972, wrote: "Disc, apart from John Peel's column, would seem to be an almost total waste of time and 6p." (Zigzag 24, 1972)

During the early part of his period with Disc, 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. For details see Disc & Music Echo: Peel Columns.

Other Peel Columns

For a list of available columns, see Disc & Music Echo: Peel Columns..

Interviews

1968

  • 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)

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)

Other Mentions

1967

  • July 8 "Scene" gossip column: "Radio London deejay John Peel's tribute to the Stones - two hours of their music last Thursday without any reference to the court result"[2]
  • July 15 "Pirates: Do They Rule The Waves? Bob Farmer listening in". Surveys all of the pirate stations including Radio London; "Not far behind Blackburn is relative newcomer John Peel and his 'Perfumed Garden' show. Peel, in fact, sounds not unlike (Kenny) Everett. As yet, he doesn't boast about Big L too much"[3]
  • July 29 Bob Farmer reports from a Pink Floyd gig at the Red Shoes Ballroom, Elgin; "They slump around Room 3a, quite hideously decorated, in the Stotfield Hotel, Lossiemouth..., listen to remarkably good reception on Radio London until John Peel creeps out of his Perfumed Garden at 2 a.m. Then they go to bed."[4]
  • Aug 12 "Pirates: R.I.P.". Article salutes the pirate stations, just about to close down: "You rave today about John Peel's 'Perfumed Garden' - but what about Radio 390's Mike Raven, who was way ahead in the sale of soul music?"[5]
  • Aug 19 "Ex-pirate deejay Mike Lennox has landed a new weekly two-hour late-night programme on the BBC and Paul Kaye and John "Perfumed Garden" Peel may also join the BBC...."[6]
  • Aug 26 Scene column; "John Peel's Perfumed Garden likely to be carried on in discotheques"  [7]
  • Jonathan King column: "John Peel. Host of the Perfumed Garden. I meant to comment on the tremendous atmosphere of this show many weeks ago. I foresee a return of it. I predict great success for John Peel. Am I right?" (link as above)
  • Sept 9 "Jacobs, Savile: Radio 1 'brush-off'". News article listing the DJs due to work for the new station, including 15 ex-pirates. JP isn't among them, but Pete Drummond is; he "will be joined on his three-hour Sunday afternoon show by either Mike Ahern (Caroline), John Peel (London) or Tommy Vance (London)."[8]
  • Sept 16 Scene column "Pete Drummond will be joined on his "Top Gear" three-hour Sunday afternoon show by one from Mike Ahern, Tommy Vance, John Peel and Rick Dane. These unfortunate four are each to do one show with Drummond and the best will get a permanent spot with Pete. Says Ahern; 'This is unnerving to say the least. We'll pronably be tensed-up, do a below-form show and that will be our lot!'"[9]
  • 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."
  • Sept 30 News item; "Dave Dee, Bee Gees 'live' on Radio One". Preview of station's first days; "Traffic, Move and the Pink Floyd star in 'Top Gear', the three-hour Sunday afternoon show with Pete Drummond and DJ companions led by John Peel....[10]
  • Centre-page feature on Radio One includes picture of "the full crew on the BBC's new-look pop scene". Peel is on the bottom right, next to a cheerful Mike Ahern, on the edge of the picture - he's the only DJ in the group whose head and body aren't fully visible [11]
  • 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 14 Jonathan King column: "Top Gear" is very fine, and seems to have selcted a number of powerful DJs. I'd like to see John Peel, Mike Ahern and Tommy Vance with their own shows, leaving Pete Drummond in charge"[12]
  • Oct 21 "Pop the Question" - readers' enquiries: "Is there any news of a record by Nico and the Velvet Underground, whom I heard on John Peel's Radio London shows?" The reply; "News is that Verve are rush-releasing an album, 'The Velvet Underground and Nico', as quickly as possible...the same disc John was using on his 'Perfumed Garden' programme.."[13]
  • 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.
  • Nov 18 Radio 1 Newsdesk, by David Hughes. "More changes in the Radio 1 programme.....Already out - Pete Drummond, whose six-week contract for Sunday afternoon's "Top Gear" expired last week. His place as resident compere has been taken by John Peel, and sharing the honours is former Luxembourg, Caroline and London DJ Tommy Vance. The programme has been firmly contracted at least until the end of the year."[14]
  • Dec 2  "Christmas LP alphabet". "V is for 'Velvet Underground and Nico', which John Peel and his many followers can tell you all about"[15]
  • Dec 9  "Scene" column: "DJ John Peel in hospital with appendix trouble"[16]
  • Dec 16 "Jonathan King's Christmas Awards": "A silver bust of Robin Scott's toes to all the DJs who have bowed towards them, but Golden Nail Oscars to the standout goodies - Everett, Peel, Denning, Vance, Henry, Freeman, Skues, Stewart and Moran. Aluminuim Corns to Jimmy Young".[17]
  • 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?...." [18]
  • 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 newsstands 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 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)

1969

  • Unknown date (Readers' poll, front page article, photo of Peel with Liverpool FC scarf and looking serious): "Radio 1 Is Not All That Wonderful ... But Peel IS!" He's just been voted Top DJ (by a narrow margin over Kenny Everett) but the readers' negative view of Radio 1 is called "a stunning blow for the BBC, and especially for Radio 1 boss Douglas Muggeridge."
  • April 12: "Happening" feature: "Liverpool Scene, that multifarious assembly of minstrels from Scouseland, are to promote their own concerts from now on. First will be at London's St. Pancras Town Hall on April 26, 8 p.m., tickets ten shillings. Group's next LP, for June release and again produced by John Peel, is titled "Bread On The Night".[2]
  • July 5 Jonathan King column attacks teenage audiences "who looked ghastly" and "uncritcally accept all the underground music, creative or rubbish...I saw them appreciate the Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, John Peel's latest "wow" group, with stale guitar solos, out-of-tune harmonies, pathetically verbose lyrical imagery..." Is also critical of Peel's influence on audiences but claims the negative effects aren't his fault ("John is a sincere, humorous and good disc-jockey").(read more)
  • "Happening": "BE IN by joining John Peel in a Macrobiotic Buffet luncheon at the ICA centre in London's Mall tomorrow (Friday)at noon. Unfortunately you need a ticket to enter into the feast, to launch John's new Dandelion underground label..... AN ALBUM John Peel's been raving about on "Top Gear" out on July 1. By Los Calchakis, it's called "Flutes Harpes and Guitares Indiennes." (link as above)
  • "Remember" - 5 years ago; "Disc, July 4, 1964. BBC producer Bernie Andrews selected "Top Gear" as the title for new Brian Matthew series from vast number of suggestions sent in by Disc readers. Are you reading, John Peel?" (link as above)

1970

  • 13 June "Top Gear moves into "First Gear" for four weeks in August with eight hours of "revived 45s." Says producer John Walters: "John Peel wiil he on hohday throughont August, so rather than try a watered-down 'Top Gear' I've decided to appeal to people's summer nostalgia, something Radio I has nver really exploited....Shows...will br hosted by 'Scene And Heard' man Johnny Moran..."[19]

1971

  • February 6 Scene column: "John Peel to be featured in TV documentary titled 'One Man's Week' being made by 'Late-Night Line-Up' team. While Peel's footballing part of the week was being filmed he almost wrecked it by smashing the camera and crew with a wildly shot football"[20]
  • February 13 Pop Post:- headline: "Peel's right about the freaks!" "If he can hear me over his mounds of tissues, I would like to congratulate Mr Peel (Mr Hypochondriac 1971) on his criticism of average progressive freaks' narrow taste...." (read more)

1973

  • 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.[21])

See Also

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.
  2. In fact, the LP was produced by the band themselves, together with Sandy Roberton.[1]

Links

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