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This page brings together columns written by Peel for Disc & Music Echo between 1968 and 1973. 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 Disc, it ran ads in the rival weekly Melody Maker hoping to gain extra readers by highlighting his contribution to what was still a teen-oriented paper which focused mainly on the singles charts.

In fact, Peel's first column for Disc was as a guest reviewer of the singles charts in January 1968. He became a columnist later that year, but didn't seem to contribute very regularly at first, perhaps because he was also writing for International Times until mid-1969. An ad for his column in the Melody Maker of 20 September 1969, stated:

"John Peel, who has been writing occasionally in Disc, rejoins the paper this week to write a fortnightly column about himself and his music. It's a unique insight every fortnight into the Thoughts of Peel"[2].

Later he wrote a weekly column for Disc (as advertised in the 8 Novermber 1969 issue of Melody Maker) , before switching to Sounds. But Peel's columns for Disc give plenty of information about what he was thinking, doing and listening to in the early 1970s and are of interest to followers of the DJ's career because only a few audio recordings of his shows of this era have survived.

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)
  • Oct 5: Me (see separate page)
  • 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[3]). 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), not available online at present.
1969
  • Unknown date (extract, reprinted Private Eye, Pseuds Corner, 1969): comparing Pink Floyd to the sound "dying galaxies"
  • April 5: It would be nice, perhaps, to talk of Principal Edwards Magic Theatre - 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 tomorrow, 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: "Peace-hunting Plastic Ono Band start a "war"!" Headline covers both Peel's column and Jonathan King's; they have contrasting views on the POB. Peel writes: 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 ...JP also praises "The Forest", as he then called them and gives a list of "magic people" (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)
  • Oct 18: Anybody who can make their way to Paris should do so before October 24th. On that date starts something called the Actuel Music Festival[1] and this will run for five days. The main reason for going, personally, is the appearance of the righteous Captain Beefheart..... (Also recommends an unknown Bradford group called Penal Reform - who "confess to being influenced by Turkish music and Ornette Coleman" - searches for deleted records and recommends a few new ones, including some forthcoming LPs on Dandelion) (read more)
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: (Describes the Pop Proms week at the Royal Albert Hall, with mentions of many bands as well as "some of the sickening things that go on backstage") 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 authorities as ...(read more)
  • May 30: (Reviews the film Let It Be) 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 13: WRITTEN, once again, at my father's lair in the hills near the Horse Shoe Pass in Wales. It's difficult sitting here to relate at all to London, The sun, which has become a brilliant orange in the last 10 minutes, is just visible through the trees... (Peel visits his father, apologises for "wandering and being introspective" but still mentions Medicine Head's new single and reviews the previous Friday's "all-night gig in Buxton, Derbyshire" (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.
  • June 27: They always seem to be "getting themselves together at this cottage." For the past year the resources of the mighty Peel Foundation have been poured into finding such a cottage without any luck at all. My brother has one on the Kent-Sussex border....(Also mentions a pop festival in Bedford and is sceptical of ""free radio " now that the law-and-order freaks" (i.e. the Tories) are in power....If you think that commercial radio meas better radio then forget it...."... (read more)
  • Sep 26: "What It's Like To Be In A Group When No-One Wants To Know". 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 ... (After ruminations about deserted and closed railway lines, JP talks about seeing Van Der Graaf Generator and Family at recent gigs, looks forward to seeing Adrian Henri and Mike Evans in Liverpool, and describes the plight of "the luckless Stackwaddy" (read more)
  • Oct 10: AN OLD crone once told me that those horn under the sign of Virgo were liable to walk with a limb and that I would die of stomach trouble. At this very moment it is as much as I can do to walk at all, let alone walk with a limb. This morning the Radio... (JP describes seeing Wishbone Ash for the first time and also mentions the financial struggles of Stack Waddy, Forest and Family) (read more)
  • Oct 31: "Ecology - election promise word?" 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 ...(JP also acquires a hurdy-gurdy and visits Ron Geesin) (read more)
  • Nov 7: "The cost of playing for free": 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 Margate ...(JP talks about seeing Stray and Little Free Rock, reflects on the low standard of driving on motorways ("The worst offenders seem to be those drivers you just know voted Conservative") and outlines his "Miss Top Gear" contest.("entries are pouring in...at the rate of one or two a week") (read more)
  • Nov 21: New Singles
1971
  • Jan 9: "Visions of the early sixties in Dallas,Texas". 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 "Kat's Karavan" show ten to midnight nearly every night of 1961 and 1962 and after hours of ...(read more)
  • Jan 16: "Liverpudlian spoke here made me Casanova Peel. Confessions of a debauched DJ" (with photo of a youthful JP). Peel writes of his short peiod of fame as a Beatle expert in Texas (and of his cricket career) 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 Edmonds, curious programme). He was talking about ...(read more)
  • Feb 6: AFTER Sunday's football, which could well be reported in detail in some other part of this scurrilous rag, it as much as I can do to strike the keys of this machine with sufficient force to make an impression..'(In fact on the same page, there's a match report - "Radio One Dynamos 2, Songpluggers 0 - on the same page, headed "Pele Peel paves Pluggers rout" and illustrated with three photos of JP in action. He also watches "Stars On Sunday" on TV, talks about Fanny's new LP, Stack Waddy failing a BBC audition, is still looking for "101 ladies called Sharon" and mentions a press conference by Eric Burdon and War, "one of the most bizarre events I've ever attended..." (read more)
  • Mar 6: "The narrow 'Progressives'" . Peel writes about being ill and enjoying listening to radio plays; The situation grows more theatrical each week. This morning my temperature is down to 100 degrees so I'm sitting here in my bed typing one-fingered. Outside there are long lines of people waiting for the 7, 28 or 31. What now appears to be... He also discusses music; "Your so-called 'progressive' audience has become undiscerning, narrow-minded and often downright repressive......." (read more)
  • Mar 13: "The one thing you should be certain of seeing at something called a 'Police Ball' is a policeman. Consequently no-one at what used to be Middle Earth in King Street, Covent Garden on Saturday night seemed to be too startled when about 50 uniformed officers began to move slowly through the 1,500 people gathered there.... (Benefit fot the Oz obscenity trial. Peel reviews the bands present: Egg, Third World War, Vivian Stanshall and Friends, Kingdom Come, Magic Michael, Gnidrolog) (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 ...(Column incomplete, but contains a fragment of a review of a John Lee Hooker record and Adrian Henri's thoughts on schoolgirls) (read more)
  • Apr 10: WANDERING last week in Fulham I found a fine book, printed in 1891, called "Enquire Within Upon Everything". I seem to remember having been read several very useful extracts from a similar volume when visiting... (read more)
  • Apr 17: "From the launderette with love" SUCH are the pressures of the glamorous world of show-biz that this column is being typed in a launderette of Westbourne Grove, while Gerry and the Pig stand guard over several swirling tubs full of grubby clothing. On the opposite wall a... (JP praises Ry Cooder's contribution to albums he likes and refers to fellow Disc columnist Derek Taylor finding a split infinitive in his last column) (read more)
  • Apr 24: I am fully prepared to believe that the combustion engine is the most destructive device yet invented by man. In fact I bet it is. At the moment it is unfortunately necessary that I drive a device powered by one although I drive a device powered by one...The machine I drive is a Land Rover called Friday... Also writes about not having time to play all the records he'd like to on Top Gear, and gives a long list of artists (read more)
  • May 1: "Hunt down this man he's a rare breed!". Peel describes seeing Loudon Wainwright III in Hampstead. "I love him really, I really do," said the girl who hadn't stopped talking since he starting playing. "Some of his lines are all right but there are too many verses," said the groover standing behind John Walters, the Pig and I. "Who is this guy?" asked someone.... Also talks about DJ gigs at "the Poly" and the Nag's Head, starts to discuss recent records, gets distracted, (read more)
  • May 15: As the sun sinks slowly in what experts assure me is the west and the veil is mercifully drawn on a weekend of peculiar frightfulness, I sit in my lonely room dreaming of tomorrow - a tomorrow in which I can stand straight and...(Says he was too ill to appear at the BIT benefit at the Roundhouse, is depressed by a recent Liverpool defeat "by the most boring team in Europe", bought rare records in Birmingham... (read more)
  • May 29: It usually starts with a phone call, "Will you," the disembodied voice wants to know, "come to our school next term and talk to the sixth form about music?" At that moment "next term" sounds neons away so, "Yes," I find myself saying... (more)
  • Jun 5: "Rockatunity Knocks - with a dull thud" (Headline referrs to John Walters' contest to discover new bands for Peel's programme; "Unfortunately the standard has been depressingly low...Too many groups have tried to sound like Black Sabbath and/or Deep Purple..." - but Henry Cow stood out). Peel also discusses football and talks of going to a Faces gig at Brighton College of Education: "It might be fair to say that Rod Stewart is the Steve Heighway of rock...." (read more)
  • Jun 12: FOR ONE reason or another I've been here by myself all week. I just set off to do the washing but the washateria was too crowded and anyway I didn't have enough sixpences. So I've tidied it up instead, read the Sunday papers, listened to a lot of depressing records... (Writes about his lonely, depressing week in London but also describes a Radio 1 In Concert by Heron and David Bowie and Friends; "With David you can never be sure what's going to happen..." (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.. (Goes on to describe the festival, seems more interested in the audience than the bands: "Gnidrolog sounded good but by the time Gringo played I was driving some of the wounded from the Hell's Angels/Joy Caterers conflict to hospital in Colchester....". (read more)
  • Oct. 16: "If Shankly had seen me" - headline, with photo of Peel in football action. "DON'T write about this in your column," said the man on the terrace after Chelsea had held Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield. I must admit to feeling that neither team would have scored if they'd kept on playing until the following... (Also responds to letter from reader angry about his review of an Elvis Presley single) (read more)
  • Oct. 23 (extract): "Peel..on his rich life as a Radio DJ star". Ironic headline; mentions sleeping in his van at the Keele motorway services after attending a concert to benefit the Music Liberation Front at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, He also misses Loudon Wainwright III at the Royal Albert Hall - 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 they did - but meets Wainwright a couple of nights laterwhen the singer records an In Concert show for Radio 1 (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 ...(Recommends Charlie Gillett's book The Sound Of The City, meets Genesis P. Orridge, sleeps on a sofa in an overcrowded room..) (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 groaning through lacklustre games ending in goalless draws ...(in this case, Ipswich v. Liverpool. Also talks about the Thursday concert programmses, the latest featuring Rab Noakes, Stealers Wheel and Lindisfarne; sees the film Shaft but criticises "the increasingly fashionable Isaac Hayes" and praises the new Ten Years After LP, even though it hasn't had chart success) (read more)
  • Dec. 18: "The trouble with having an image". Mentions small crowd at Sunday Concert for Marmalade, who "played a lovely set yet only received a polite response from the audience" because they weren't thought of as "progressive". He thinks the BBC's programme policy is encouraging a "polarisation" of the audience and "unwittingly strangling creativity in popular music" He's still enjoying plays on Radio 4, though.. (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: "Goings on at Peel acres". 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 ... (Talks about wanting to play more black music on his shows, says Pete Drummond is doing so too, and has problems at home due to heavy rainfall) (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: "Ready for the nude boom" - headline next to photo of Peel in bath. 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 ..(Mentions the John Peel Boot Boys, his visit to Liverpool for the Liverpool-Leeds cup-tie....), . (read more)
  • Mar 4: "Peel..in search of fun and riot in Hull". I doubt that even that city's keenest admirer would claim that Hull is an exhilarating place. At 6.00 on a cold, windy evening during a power-cut it is substantially less than invigorating. Under such adverse conditions came Pig and I to Hull for the first time in our lives (a Thursday evening "progressive night" at Malcolm's Disco, with Medicine Head. Also mentions appearing on Rosko's Round Table on the previous Friday, evening, with "the admirable Alan Freeman"... (read more)
  • Jun 10: Singles
  • Aug 19: "Watching the girls go by...". Peel writes his column 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 ... There seem to be a great number of police persons about and it is sad that so many people have been busted....". Concludes "I like festivals more than any other gigs I go to...." (read more)

References

  1. The festival was banned by the French government, who feared large gatherings of youmg people in Paris after the student uprisings of May 1968, and had to relocate to a small town in Belgium, near the French border[1].
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