Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. The island, 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Jamaica is the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean, by area. Inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, and the Spanish imported African slaves as labourers. Named Santiago, the island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it and renamed it Jamaica. The island achieved independence from Britain on 6 August 1962.
Links To Peel
Jamaica has contributed ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub music and dancehall to Peel's playlist more than any other country in the world. Peel's first introduction to Jamaican music would have been in 1967 on the pirate station Radio London, which included ska, blue-beat and reggae records in its daytime playlists, including hits like Prince Buster's "Al Capone" and Desmond Dekker's "007". Peel would have played tracks like these when he covered for other DJs during the day, but he didn't play any Jamaican music on his Perfumed Garden show. It seems beyond reasonable dispute that his fascination with the genre really started at the end of the 1960s, after he had settled in London and was working for the BBC. Peel acknowledge that the first reggae record he played was from Jamaican singer Andy Capp with the song Pop-A-Top in 1969.
Bob Marley, one of the most famous reggae artists was the first Jamaican to do a session for Peel's show in 1973, however many Jamaican musicians did very few sessions, due to bookings being made and not getting fulfilled. Examples are Luciano, who cancelled at 48 hours' notice to play a gig instead, and Sugar Minott, who was booked three times and failed to turn up to any of the dates.
In the 70's, many Jamaican immigrants who settled in Britain started to make reggae music and contributed to the British reggae scene, which Peel supported immensely on his shows, especially artists such as Musical Youth, who later gained commercial success in the UK during the early 80's. In his self styled 1977 Festive Fifty, Peel nominated four Jamaican artists as one of his favourite Top 61 artists of the year.
Dancehall a music genre from Jamaica started to be prevalent on Peel's programmes in the 80's and later decades was criticised by many for the use of sexist and homophobic lyrics in their songs. Nonetheless Peel tried to be conscious on which dancehall tracks he would play on his shows that were not misogynist to women or gays.
Peel co-hosted a one off reggae show in 1986 on BBC Radio One called Caribbean Celebration with Ranking Miss P, a British DJ of Jamaican descent, where some of the artists played on the programme came from Jamaica.
In 1997, Peel spoke to Mark Lamarr about his recent trip to Jamaica and the records he got from the country. During that conversation, Peel mentioned that he was scared of flying and the only place in the Caribbean he'd been was St. Lucia. He argued that records that are made in places like Jamaica can be bought here in the UK.
Peel's fondness of Jamaica was not only through its music, but also the national football team, where they qualified for the 1998 World Cup finals, where he was disappointed after they lost to Croatia 3-1 in their first match on his 24 June 1998 (BFBS) show:
"One of the matches that I have seen with which I was most engaged was the first match featuring Jamaica, and I really wanted them to win. I mean, any reasonable person would, I think, and I was very disappointed that they didn't, but they were very brave, and Robbie Earl's goal, fantastic goal..."
To celebrate Jamaica 50th anniversary of its independence, the BBC produced the series Reggae: The Story Of Jamaican Music in 2002, where Peel took part and discussed on the first episode, the BBC's initial reluctance of playing reggae music and the Jamaican reggae artist Max Romeo controversial Wet Dreams song.
The following artists from Jamaica recorded sessions for the John Peel show. Years indicate recording dates; for further details, see linked artist pages. Please add more information if known.
- Laurel Aitken: (1 session, 1980)
- Asher D & Daddy Freddy (1 session, 1988)
- Cimarons: (2 sessions, 1975-78) 
- Cobra: (1 session, 1991)
- Culture: (3 sessions, 1983-2002)
- Eek-A-Mouse: (2 sessions, 1983-84)
- Gregory Isaacs and Roots Radics: (2 sessions, 1981-82)
- Linton Kwesi Johnson: (2 sessions, 1979-81) 
- Bob Marley & The Wailers: (2 sessions, 1973)
- Michael Smith: (1 session, 1982)
- Mikey Dread: (1 session, 1982)
- Prince Far I And Creation Rebel: (1 session, 1978)
- Twinkle Brothers: (1 session, 1981)
- Wailing Souls: (1 session, 1984)
The following Jamaican artists had Festive Fifty entries:
- Culture: See Them A Come #17 (1977 Festive Fifty)
- Culture: Lion Rock #48 (All Time 2000 Festive Fifty)
- Jays & Ranking Trevor: Truly #13 (1977 Festive Fifty)
- Bob Marley & The Wailers: No Woman No Cry #32 (1976 Festive Fifty)
- Bob Marley & The Wailers: Waiting In Vain #32 (1977 Festive Fifty)
- Peter Tosh: Stepping Razor #53 (1977 Festive Fifty)
(Tracks played by Peel from various artist (v/a) compilations with a specific Jamaica theme, excluding releases on Trojan Records (see label page) and other reggae v/a collections (see Reggae Compilations). Please add more information if known.)
(cassette - Smile Jamaica) NME
(LP - Party Time In Jamaica) Studio One
(v/a 7xLP - Pressure Drop - Island Celebrates 25 Years Of Jamaican Music) Mango
- 03 January 1989: Vikings: Six And Seven Books Of Moses
- 16 January 1989: Rulers: Copasetic
- 24 January 1989: Roland Alphonso & The Soul Brothers: Phoenix City
- 30 January 1989: Ken Boothe: Freedom Street
- 31 January 1989: Baba Brooks: Teenage Ska
- 01 February 1989: Stranger Cole: Run Joe
- 06 February 1989: Tyrone Evans: Let Them Talk
- 28 February 1989: Derrick Morgan: Tougher Than Tough (Rudie's Don't Fear)
(LP - Feel Like Jumping - Rock Steady And Reggae From Jamaica 1966-68) Receiver
- 16 May 1989: Jackie Mittoo: Put It On
- 05 June 1989: Gladiators: The Train Is Coming Back
- 30 May 1989 (Radio Bremen): Lynn Taitt: El Casino Royale
(CD - The Rough Guide To The Music Of Jamaica) World Music Network
(CD – Boogu Yagga Gal: Jamaican Mento) Heritage
- 25 April 2002: Count Lasher & Charlie Binger Six: Calabash
- 01 May 2002: Count Lasher’s Calypso Quintet: Slide Mongoose
- Admiral Tibet
- Beenie Man
- Don Carlos
- Mikey Dread
- Elephant Man
- Linton Kwesi Johnson
- Lee Perry
- N***** Kojak
- Sean Paul
- Red Rat
- Michael Smith
- Tony Rebel
- John Wayne(2)
- Tapper Zukie