"The true genius of Room 318, the philosopher, the creative force, the cultural prism, the inspiration, the social historian and agitator, and the genuine soul rebel behind (Peel's) achievement, was John Walters.....Without Walters, the national treasure that Peel became would not have existed." (Andy Kershaw, No Off Switch, Virgin Books 2012, p. 257)

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John Walters, John Peel's producer from 1969 to 1991, was born in Long Eaton, Derbyshire on 11 July 1939. In 1966 he married Helen Gallagher; he died in Oxted, Surrey on 30 July 2001.

Walters studied fine art at Durham University and worked as a schoolteacher and journalist in Newcastle before embarking on a career as a professional musician. Originally a trumpet player with local trad jazz bands (some tracks by Bill Croft's Blue Star Jazzmen, with Walters on trumpet, appeared in 2014 on a Lake Records anthology, "British Traditional Jazz At A Tangent Vol. 4 - Territory Bands"), he went on to join the Alan Price Set in 1965. In an article in Record Mirror printed just after their second gig, Walters is described as "25 and likes cats, fish and chips, black, Newcastle United, Charlie Mingus and Marianne Faithfull"[1].

He toured with Price's band and played on most of their hits, appearing with them at the last British concert by the Beatles, at the Empire Pool, Wembley, when the Alan Price Set were one of the supporting acts. Price had respect for Walters' musicianship, telling Beat Instrumental magazine in a January 1967 interview that he was crucial to the band's sound ("John is a heavy player.....")[2] In Melody Maker's "Pop Think-in" feature in April 1966, Price stated that "Our trumpeter, John, is very arty - a former schoolteacher and jazz lecturer" and had turned him on to old films; Laurel & Hardy, Jacques Tati's "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday"[3]. In June 1966, Walters won an LP from Melody Maker for writing a letter, published on the paper's "Mailbag" page, in defence of Ornette Coleman and critical of what he called the "bathchair modernists" of the British jazz scene.[4]

He became interested in radio production work as a result of recording BBC radio sessions with Price's band. As he told John Tobler in Zigzag 24 (1972):

....I wrote to them. They'd heard of the Alan Price Set and invited me for an interview. I told them that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life rushing up and down the M1 and, much to my surprise, the BBC almost snapped my hand off. They were so very amazed that anyone should actually want to leave the million-pounds-a-week Beatle style life (they had no clear idea of what a real group's life was like), and they thought I must be crazy....

Walters joined Radio One in 1967; his appointment was headline news in Disc & Music Echo[5], because he was the only producer on the new station recruited from outside the BBC, and he was interviewed in the following issue of the paper, saying that his ambition was not just to produce "sequences of music" but to "use ideas of my own"[6]. He gained his first experience on the weekly magazine programme Scene and Heard and then worked with Jimmy Savile and David Symonds, before becoming Peel's producer in 1969. He also produced Radio Flashes, when Peel was on holiday, which featured stand in hosts Vivian Stanshall and Keith Moon.

Room 101 John Walters 1of3

Room 101 John Walters 1of3

Walter's 1992 appearance on Room 101.

Walters was a radio enthusiast, like Peel, and later became a broadcaster in his own right. appearing on the likes of Start The Week, The News Quiz, Loose Ends and Woman's Hour. From 1981, he had his own Radio 1 series, Walters' Weekly, which covered "different aspects of the arts. leisure and entertainment...from Rauschenberg to rockabilly, from jogging to juggling. food, fashion and football", as the Radio Times Other appearances included BBC TV's Northern Lights and in 1990 he hosted another Radio 4 series, Largely Walters, which examined a variety of topics ranging from cannibalism to trainspotting. A Radio 4 series, Idle Thoughts (1992-94) ended when he retired from the BBC. Walters Beside The Seaside (1994), also on Radio 4, took a dryly laconic look at the traditional British holiday, while the 1997 series Stuck in...featured visits by Walters to "English towns whose names alone mean they will never be the destination for those in search of culture or romance" (e.g. Slough, Wigan, Hull). Also in 1997, he narrated Retying the Knot, a BBC Scotland TV documentary on The Incredible String Band, who had done sessions for Peel shows he had produced.

Peel said of him before he died, "Walters is sustained in his retirement by his determination to deliver the eulogy at my funeral. This will be unbelievably long and more about Walters than me".

Links to Peel

Walters became Peel's producer at Top Gear in April 1969, replacing Bernie Andrews. The pair's working partnership continued, other than a break in 1981-3, until Walters' retirement in 1991. But initially there was a coolness between them. In May 1969, International Times[7]reported that while Peel was recording an edition of Top Gear, "the producer" told JP that he wan't allowed to talk about the recent police raid on the paper on the air. As Walters explained to John Tobler in 1972 (Zigzag 24, no page numbers):

When I first got onto Top Gear, Peel disliked me intensely, because to him I represented a form of cynicism and commercialism from the Savile era.....

When Peely and I got together, we were both, for different reasons, aghast. I'd seen the more superficial side of the 'underground' thing and thought it was going to be all that "running through the cornfields of my mind" sort of piss, because there was so much of that "margarine policeman" stuff after 'Sgt. Pepper'...and when you've done a four year art school course, you're not easily fooled by third form poetry or fourth form philosophy, or fifth form paperback oriental religion. Naturally, I reacted strongly against this, whereas Peely was a bit more committed; not that he was into the third form stuff, but he encouraged it in the hope that something would happen, so we were at different ends. But eventually we broke it down, had a couple of lunches together, and found that we had a lot more common than we thought, because we tended to laugh at the same things.....

He goes on to describe how "the turning point" was when they went to see a festival of W.C. Fields films together; after that they became firm friends. He continues:

Although I've got one or two awards at home for a top radio show, they're off Peel's back in a sense, because there's no question of the show existing or being successful because of me. It's successful because of him, and if there was someone else producing it, as long as they were the sort of person who wouldn't get in the way, he could do it himself. It obviously helps to have someone who takes an interest, who is able to do the sessions sympathetically, and to programme sympathetically, provide a foil.....He has control, which he appreciates, but we get on very well.

For his part, Peel's friendship with Walters represented (along with the developing relationship with his future wife Sheila) a "turning point" and the beginning of a happier phase of his life. He credited the influence of Walters and Sheila with saving him from "a post-hippy spiral that might have proved fatal" [ref.] and started to sound happier on-air. Peel was pleased that Walters encouraged him to play favourite artists who were too eccentric or experimental for the pop/rock mainstream, like Captain Beefheart, while sharing his scepticism about the music business and dislike of some commercially successful progressive rock artists, like Yes, Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Walters also approved of Peel's interest in punk - although, as Peel pointed out, he liked the idea of it rather than the music itself, preferring to listen to jazz when he was off duty.

Walters was far from a typical "BBC man", but he was more than capable of holding his own in the departmental meetings which were part of life at the Corporation. Because of this, Peel, who often had detractors at Radio One, found his producer an invaluable ally:

"His great strength was that surrounded, as he was at the time at Radio One, by almost limitless bullshit, he was a man who could actually cut right through it to the nub of the matter, and this made management at least absolutely terrified of him. He was a great man to have on your side." [8]

Their friendship never excluded occasional arguments and disagreements, with Peel appreciating Walters' directness and honesty. Although Peel was disappointed when Walters was critical of his Radio 4 programme, Home Truths, their friendship survived this. He paid an on-air tribute after Walters died in 2001, and in one of his final conversations before his own death in 2004 regretted that he no longer had a close friend like Walters, with whom he could share his thoughts. Whether or not John Walters was, as the Andy Kershaw quote at the top of this article implies, the more important figure in the Peel-Walters partnership, there is no doubt that Peel's career might have taken a very different path if he had not been obliged to work with the producer who later became his closest friend.

Sits in for Peel

(List compiled from the Holidays page of this site. Please add further information if known.)

Mentioned On Shows

  • 29 June 1969: ‎Some nascent Peel/Walters banter, with JP having a go at his new producer for mixing up the Idle Race running order.
  • 06 July 1969: It's clear that the Peel/Walters relationship is developing nicely here, as there are several quips from John P about his new mate.
  • 04 July 1970: Country Joe had recently stopped working with The Fish (as he told John Walters while recording the session).
  • 11 July 1970: It's John Walters' birthday and Peel says that this Top Gear is "the nicest we've had for as long as I can remember".
  • 26 December 1970: Carol Concert session. Sheila claims that John Walters was also part of the line-up of 'all the usual suspects' who 'squeezed into the studio to contribute our own idiosyncratic versions' (Peel, J. and Ravenscroft, S., Margrave Of The Marshes, Corgi Books, 2006, p. 297).
  • 24 April 1973: ‎Sessions from two Merseybeat stalwarts of yesteryear (plus Manchester-born Wayne Fontana from the same era), and all the records but one dating back to the previous decade, including many old favourites. In The Peel Sessions (pg 288), Ken Garner quotes John Walters' verdict on the show in 1992 as "must have been one of Peel's funny periods."
  • 02 November 1973: ‎A Touch Of Moon, produced by Walters.
  • D024 (unknown date, 1974/1975): "The programme produced of course by John Walters."
  • 11 August 1976: “And producer John Walters and myself are often to be seen around London exciting the admiration of young girls in our matching Eddie Riff sweatshirts, and these sweatshirts were issued to coincide with the release of the LP ‘In Search of Eddie Riff’ by Andy Mackay, from which this excellent tune is taken.”
  • 16 August 1976: "And ebullient producer John Walters was just saying that he remembers Cream recording that for a Top Gear session, ooh, ever so many years ago."
  • 10 December 1976: Punk special. Walters: "It's not meant to be a history of punk, but a presentation of the music, after all the remarks about the sociology of the players. It's not like the BBC is jumping on the punk bandwagon, but just some examples of what the actual artists sound like." (As reprinted in In Session Tonight, Ken Garner, BBC Books 1993, p.102.)
  • 30 December 1976: "John Walters and meself were talking recently to a girl who works at the BBC called Veronica, and discussing the Beatles, and she said, "Oh yes, I can just remember them." Amazing when you think about it."
  • 21 March 1977: ‎(Kid Jensen sitting in for Peel: "Thanks to Thin Lizzy, producer John Walters and of course to you for listening, and I hope you'll join me tomorrow night for Graham Parker & The Rumour. Goodnight."
  • 11 May 1977: ‎ Repeat of Roxy Music session #3. JP claims it was their first and that the producer was John Walters (Ken Garner lists Mike Franks).
  • 28 July 1978: Peel plays ‘If The Kids Are United’ by Sham 69: "John Walters thinks that that's going to be a number one record."
  • 04 August 1978: ‎ JP suspects that John Walters is guilty of a running order joke when he follows 'Rose Of Cimarron' with 'Hippys Graveyard'.
  • 18 August 1978: Peel refers to his earlier appearance on Kaleidoscope on Radio 4 discussing with Paul Gambaccini an exhibition of Who memoribilia at the ICA. The last time he did something like this Walters had pointed out that he had adopted an entirely different accent. To demonstrate this he plays a clip of his Kaleidoscope appearance before cutting over it with "What a prat!"
  • 29 September 1978: ‎"Haven’t played that for a very long time obviously, but a great record I think. And here’s a connection between that record and the next one that I bet even John Walters didn’t foresee."
  • 04 October 1978: "And while that was going on John Walters was delivering himself of a soliloquy on idiot dancing and mourning its passing. I don’t quite understand why – I don’t imagine he’d be very graceful at it himself.”
  • 12 October 1978: “And producer John Walters is currently vacationing in the barbarous splendor of his mother’s house in the Isle Of White, but he would regard this as being a programming touch worthy of himself. We follow Night Time with White Night.”
  • 02 November 1978: Peel blames Walters for following The Nips with Half Japanese.
  • 11 June 1979: Before playing a Barbara Cartland track JP says he and Walters thought it would do listeners good to here something sincere.
  • 25 June 1979: “We seem to have stumbled unwittingly into a kind of communications sequence here, engineered by the man Walters. After Tubeway Army's Airlane we find ourselves with Airmail and In A Moment on the Graffiti label.”
  • 28 June 1979: Peel is somewhat taken with an erotic photograph on the back of the Jane Aire & The Belvederes record, although John Walters apparently was nonplussed.
  • 17 July 1979: ‎ Peel points out the programming hand of John Walters in a series of telephone-related songs.
  • 18 July 1979: Peel claims he dare not take a holiday that year: “It’s easy to go away for a couple of weeks and come back and find some fresh-faced ninny with a degree in Anthropology and a basket full of John Stewart albums sitting in your chair and to discover Walters has been seconded to transmitter duties in the Highlands.”
  • 19 July 1979: "At this very moment, the man Walters is at a health farm, and he's got to spend the whole weekend there, and then discuss his findings on 'Start The Week' on Radio 4 at the crack of dawn on Monday morning. Should be worth listening to. So this'll probably be the last time I can play this record and dedicate it to him." (Plays ‘Fat Man In The Bathtub” by Little Feat.)
  • 23 July 1979: "And if you were listening to Thursday night’s programme, you will have heard me mention then that the man Walters, producer of this programme, was spending the weekend at a health farm – is that what they call the thing? – in order to report on the same for Radio 4’s Start The Week this morning, And if you missed Start The Week, as I did, you may be interested to hear that he looks exactly the same as he did when he went away. But he is now filled with a fiery resolve to live for a couple more years by cutting down his excesses. He was positively glowing, the truth must be told, in fact… "
  • 04 September 1979: "Both Arsenal and Palace got seven, so Walters, holidaying in the Isle of Wight, will be jolly pleased about that, as a Palace supporter."
  • 01 November 1979: Explains the spiritual deity "Snibri" that he and John Walters worship.
  • 12 December 1979: "I was feeling thoroughly miserable last night, to be honest with you. I don’t want to bore you with it, but Walters and myself had been out just for a quite half – of wine. We went round to the wine bar round the corner, you see, which is full of like “media people,” all coming in and doing a kind of “Quentin, haven't seen you since that party at George’s place!” … And we were sitting at the next table to Anna Ford, actually. Just goes to show you – mingling with the stars. And everyone knew everyone else, except for Walters and myself…"
  • 13 December 1979: The Madness track ‘Swan Lake’ had been programmed as it is apparently John Walters’s favourite from the band’s first album.
  • 18 December 1979: "John Walters has said very little about the performance of Crystal Palace last Saturday, noble though it was, it wasn't enough of course, as you already know. I don't like to rub things in, but this is one for him anyway, it's called I See Red. " (Liverpool had beaten Crystal Palace 3-0 at Anfield the previous weekend).
  • 19 December 1979: "Facts have to be faced you know, Walters and I do come up with some good stuff for you."
  • 06 March 1980: ‎JP says he and Walters will deliver a "good thwacking" if they ever find the 15-year-old with "good taste" -- meaning Genesis, Police and Rice & Lloyd-Weber -- mentioned in a recent Sunday Times column by Derek Jewel ("an infallible guide to all that is pompous and generally worthless").
  • 10 April 1980: "Nervous breakdown, manic depression, fear of the night, night of fear - you probably note that there's a theme evolving in tonight's programme and as Walters has pointed out, it really demonstrates how man can be saved from breakdown and inner tumult by the love of a good schoolgirl. Thus, the Moondogs and 'Schoolgirl Crush'. "
  • 22 May 1980: “Walters [has] just been on the phone rather aggrieved actually, because I'd failed to point out that he'd followed 'Saturday Morning Movies' with 'Come Back Bogart (I Wish You Would)' - and the next one up is 'I Don't Wanna See Your Picture'. The Mechanics.”
    JP (after playing U2's '11 O'Clock Tick Tock'): "What kind of a DJ am I? Don't answer that question; I should have played that at 11 o'clock and indeed Walters had intended that I should do.... As it is, it's what, 9 minutes past 11. It's not the same is it? Be honest."
    “Walters has missed an opportunity here because Metropolitan Life of course the name of an insurance company and there was another record down on the list of records that I thought we would be playing which was also the name of an insurance company, 'Mutual Of Omaha' by the Fools. But he hasn't scheduled it, so... “
  • 03 June 1980: "Curiously enough, and this is absolutely true, I did have a dream last night that I do remember being in colour. Walters and myself were in Dallas, Texas, and what exactly we were doing there I don't know. Not a lot, as I recall."
  • 21 July 1980: Peel & John Walters decided to make this an all records show as there was so much good stuff waiting to be played.
  • 21 May 1981: Peel trails upcoming Walters Weekly on the coming Saturday, featuring chat with Bill Nelson.
  • 23 July 1981: ‎Trailer for Walters' Weekly
  • 12 September 1981 ‎(Peel's Pleasures): Voice of John Walters pre-recording his Walters' Weekly show and indicating mistakes to the tape editor by going "beep" (frequently)
  • 23 February 1982: Reveals he and Walters shared a table at a TV event with "one of my favourite bands".
  • 29 April 1982: "Hello. It's luscious, pouting tip-tilted singing star John Peel with a programme featuring the Cherry Boys and the Ravishing Beauties, the latter being heard for the first time outside Walters Weekly, a programme which is also produced by Chris Lycett. Sort of, Chris fertilisation if you like. Ha!"
  • 13 July 1982: A listener helpfully points out from the Radio Times that the producers of both the Terry Wogan and Jimmy Young shows are also called Walters, wonders whether there is some kind of conspiracy and dastardly plot. JP thinks this is a good point.
  • 30 September 1982: Chris Farlow plays live with backing band that includes John Walters.
  • 13 October 1982: "Walters, whose function on these occasions seems to be basically to demoralise me, tells me that my attempts to speak with a German accent actually sound Welsh. I don't think this is true for a moment. And so I'm rather hesitant about saying once again 'Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft'..."
  • 16 November 1982: "I should say this, that (the session by Short Commercial Break was originally broadcast on Walters Weekly."
  • 06 July 1983: Peel mentions John Walters being impressed with Nigerian King Sunny Adé And His African Beats performance in London.
  • 19 September 1984: "This is Megatwa Fatman again. As I said last week, just a "t" away being from being Walters' debut single."
  • 26 September 1984: ""As Walters and I took breakfast this morning at our favourite café, a moon-faced youth sauntered over to tell me that he didn’t listen to the programmes any more and to wish me good luck with anything I undertook in the future.""
  • 19 December 1984: "Walters always says that, if I die before him, and he's asked to go on the radio and do a kind of 'Tribute To John Peel', he'll play When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease. He's got it all worked out. Then I'll have some kind of Radio One Fun Funeral. Actually, I suppose 'Funneral' is what they'll call it. It'll be terrific."
  • 25 December 1984: The Bushes Scream While My Daddy Prunes by the Very Things is #27 in the 1984 Festive Fifty: “Walters thinks that the Shend on that sounds as if his vocals are influenced by the Goons. For those of you who don't remember the Goons, they were an extremely influential comedy programme in the Fifties, I suppose it must have been, who now sound to me acutely embarrassing.”
  • 02 January 1985: ‎ JP has been told by John Walters to mention that he has won the Sounds DJ poll. Thanks people who voted for him.
  • 23 January 1985: Peel & Walters decide to introduce a new "spotlight artist of the week" feature. Next week they plan to feature Kitty Wells (after enjoying the track in this show so much) and get so carried away that the following week they have already planned to feature Marino Marini.
  • 06 March 1985: A Chilling Tale Part 4 by 3 Mustaphas 3 is announced as Part 2, but this is later corrected by Walters.
  • 01 May 1985: ‎Features John Walters' impression of an elephant.
  • 24 July 1985: Upcoming at the weekend is a five-hour Arena blues night on BBC-2 that will include John Walters interviewing BB King.
  • 12 August 1985: ‎Peel plays a Sanny X and P-Rez track that is apparently a favourite of John Walters. JP verdict: “I know it’s awful, but I mean it’s satisfyingly awful rather than being just awful.”
  • 17 December 1985: Peel had apparently been to the Radio One Christmas party that day, and ended up talking with Walters.
  • 22 December 1986: ‎"It can hardly have escaped your notice over the past few years that Walters is spreading through the media like some virulent form of creeper, and has even got his foot in our door now." Trailer follows for Janice Long Christmas show the next day, voiced by Long and John Walters.
  • 23 December 1986: John Walters tells Peel that the Bhundu Boys are playing the next night, and JP wishes he could be there.
  • 24 December 1986: "At 21 (in the 1986 Festive Fifty), a record which I very nearly lost (Love's Easy Tears by Cocteau Twins). In fact, I took it home with me last night and forgot to bring it back in again, but found another copy of it on the floor of Walters' office this evening."
  • 24 March 1987: Peel plays a track from the Latin Rascals that uses a Mozart sample and then mentions that John Walters remembered a track from Red Ingle And The Natural Seven that sounded like that, which he plays on the programme.
  • 31 March 1987: Peel plays a record from Winifred Atwell, that was bought by John Walters in a second hand shop when holidaying on the Isle Of Wight.
  • 27 May 1987: "While that was going on, Walters phoned up ... such condescension, to say that he'd scheduled the Jackdaw With Crowbar session for next Wednesday, a week tonight. "
  • 16 June 1987: Peel reads out a postcard sent to him and Walters from Ted Chippington in the USA.
  • 30 June 1987: Peel relates that Cud were only one of five bands chosen for sessions on the basis of demo tapes heard on the car stereo by JP himself (who was driving) and John Walters.
  • 29 September 1987: ‎Peel explains that both Walters and office secretary Janice were off sick during the day, so he had to do all the work for the show, including answering the telephone. He resorts to reading the music press while the records are playing in order to discover what gigs, if any, his session guests have coming up.
  • 12 October 1987: Peel mentions that the Robert Wyatt's Peel Session, recorded in 1974, was produced by John Walters.
  • 26 October 1987: "What happens on a Monday you see is that Walters and I discuss records, and I give him the titles and things like this over the phone, he writes them down and hands them to Janice, our secretary, and during this sort of Chinese Whispers process, "Bang" has turned into "Barry." So that was Barry by the Heart Throbs."
  • 11 July 1988: Peel mentions that it is John Walters birthday today and he and the Pig sang 'Happy Birthday' to him over the phone.
  • 06 September 1988: "And a few months ago when I had a night off to stare at my organ of generation waiting for my kidney stones to pop out, Walters played a record what he imagined to be mock Arabic in it. It turned out to be real Arabic of a peculiar abuse of nature and this is got what sounds like Japanese in it and if it's real Japanese and it's terrifically rude then I'll apologise in advance to any Japanese speakers. From the Dinks, this is Nina Kocka Nina"
  • 05 October 1988: "A bonny start for bubbling brunette John Walters. I particularly liked the rapping with Overlord X and indeed the rapping by Overlord X. Our sessions come, as Walters said, from the Funky Ginger and My Bloody Valentine. And if you heard him you'll know he played a new tune from the Fall and said that I'd play another one".
  • 07 December 1988: "I put about a third of the festive fifty votes which I hadn't yet entered into the ledger in a large black polythene bag and left them in our Radio One office. I came back out after half an hour or so to find that the cleaners had taken it. I was chasing round the building trying to find where polythene bags full of rubbish went. Walters and I ended up scrabbling through a skip in a car park at the back of the building until we found your festive fifty votes. This is how devoted and dedicated we are cos if we'd just left them in there frankly, you'd not have known would you?"
  • 27 December 1988: The Overlord X session track 'The Dedication' features a large number of namechecks, including Peel and Walters (JP: "Not nearly enough mentions of me in that").
  • 11 July 1989: "Today, producer John Walters is 50, and fittingly he spent it at home sitting in the sun. I hope he's had a good day, and I hope he has lots more of them, and I bet you do too." ‎
  • 30 August 1989: ‎JP 50th birthday special, introduced by John Walters.
  • 06 November 1989: JP: "Within ten seconds of that starting, John Walters was on the phone, but within another ten seconds we were cut off. I don't think he's noticed yet, he's probably still sitting there talking at the other end of the phone."
  • 01 February 1990: John has annoyed Walters by implying the outcome of a football match he wanted to watch.
  • 09 August 1990: ‘Eat Yourself Fitter’ rounds out the repeated Fall session in the Fall In August series of shows: "Even better than the LP version. I seem to remember that when I first heard that, I swooned clear away and Walters had to revive me by burning feathers beneath my nose.")
  • 30 June 1991: John Walters' last show as producer. Peel pays tribute: "Career In Rock" brings me rather neatly into the subject of John Walters, because in one minute's time, his hand will leave the tiller of this programme after 20-odd years. I'm not going to make a long speech about it, because there's not really much more that I can say. I mean, people who've listened regularly to the programme will quite clearly know what a considerable debt we owe to him, and he's going to be very much missed. We've always tried to think of different ways of describing our relationship: quite clearly, the words that he uses are very different from the ones that I use, but the neatest way that I've managed to conjure it up anyway is to say that we're like a man and his dog, each imagining the other to be the dog, and I think that's not a million miles from the way that it's worked over the years." (Ken Garner relates (in The Peel Sessions, p. 137-9) that Walters, unusually for him, broke down as he listened to this pre-recorded show. As Ken explains, "He had made Peel his life's work, and now it was over.")
  • 26 October 1991: "Terry also points out in his letter, "Jacko the mindermast" (shouldn't that be mastermind?) "behind Stiff Records had an interesting Dandelion single the other day: Bill Oddie performing On Ilkley Moor Baht'At in the manner of Joe Cocker, and yourself on the B side singing Hare Krishna." He says, "We think it's time you gave it an airing on the show. Don't be shy." No chance Terry, and I suspect that I own all of the copies apart from the one that you found. Also featuring on that particular recording was John Walters, and indeed the Pig."
  • 05 April 1992 (BFBS): "If people say, "Who's the greatest DJ who ever lived?," an extraordinary question to ask, but when they do, I always name Fluff, because I do think he's quite magnificent. I used to do a programme immediately after the one that he did, and used to do trails for it, John Walters and I, he was the producer of the programme. He used to make a great number of offensive remarks about Fluff, as you might imagine. One of the theories that we had was that he'd had so many facelifts that his ears had passed each other on the top of his head, and if you look very closely at him, his ears were on upside down."
  • 01 January 1993: "I was listening to Radio Four, because it is important to monitor what's going on on the other networks. They were having their pick of the year, and it's really frustrating listening to that. I'm not suggesting they should have picked anything from this programme, although why not, you know? But there was nothing from Radio 1 at all. In fact, the only time that Radio 1 got mentioned in the entire programme was when they played a little bit of John Walters, which was highly entertaining, but they said, 'former Radio 1 producer', and that was the only mention of it."
  • 13 August 1993: "I was disconcerted a few weeks ago when somebody wrote and told me that my attempts at saying things in Welsh sounded German. Oddly enough, John Walters always used to say that my attempts at saying things in German sounded Welsh."
  • 05 August 1994: "I once outraged John Walters by telling him that the kind of jazz that I liked was really the kind of thing that you'd see in black and white pictures when the villains all pour into their old DeSoto, or whatever it happens to be, and they switch on the radio and that sort of fast, hot music comes whipping out."
  • 08 September 1999: A listener claims to have a collection of the Peel/Walters trailers for Alan Freeman’s show in the 1970s. Peel says he’s rather proud of them, although he admits they “did go on a bit.”
  • 06 July 1999: “It was very much the BBC's way at the time that there was no provision made for keeping popular music sessions because they were held to be pretty much valueless, and for a long time they just existed in boxes alongside of the corridor, and (John) Walters and myself gradually found places where we could hide them and keep them away from the people who wanted to destroy them, but it didn't go very well to begin with.”
John Peel's first show after the death of John Walters-0

John Peel's first show after the death of John Walters-0

John Peel marks the death of John Walters, 31 July 2001.

  • 31 July 2001: Peel's first show since learning of the death of former producer and friend John Walters.
  • 01 August 2001: The Son House session was repeated largely at the suggestion of the White Stripes. It was just coincidence that the session, produced by John Walters, was scheduled into the programme the day after Walters' death had been announced.
  • 02 August 2001: There is no Pig's Big 78 selection in the programme because Sheila has gone to stay with John Walters' widow Helen for a few days.
  • 05 March 2002: Peel had been in London the previous day with Sheila for a memorial event for John Walters. He tells an amusing anecdote about Walters' response to Peel's warning about an incident involving rude language in the show.
  • 09 April 2002: ‎A listener asks if there's any chance of a box set of Viv Stanshall sessions: "Well, it's one of those faintly frustrating, in fact very frustrating, things. Because John Walters always wanted Viv Stanshall to release the things that he did for these programmes on record. But Viv being Viv always wanted to go away and re-record them, and also being Viv, never got very far with the project, which is a pity." Peel also says the Stevie Wonder track played on this show had followed him around NZ. Recalls that he debuted and played the LP (Talking Book) in its entirety back in 1972, adding that John Walters had been a great Stevie Wonder fan.
  • 14 May 2002: ‎Plays a track from the Siouxsie & The Banshees debut album after learning they are going on tour; says he hadn’t realized they were still going in any meaningful way: “The late John Walters and myself were mad for Siouxsie & The Banshees, and Mary Anne Hobbs reckons she can remember me playing an entire Siouxsie & The Banshees LP through from start to finish on one occasion."
  • 05 February 2003: "Do you know I've supported Liverpool all of my life, I mean that's fifty years or more. And these bastards are a disgrace, they really are. John Walters, who was the producer of this programme for about twenty years, was a Crystal Palace supporter and congratulations to them. He'd be enjoying tonight hugely."
  • 18 November 2003: After playing the Soft Machine session track "Moon In June" (produced by Walters in 1969), Peel comments: "I still miss him."
  • 13 May 2004: The Alan Price Set song played is from a 1966 French pressing that has been sent by listener: "I'd never heard it before, and it was composed by the man who produced this programme for 20 years or more and was best man at our wedding - John Walters."
  • 29 September 2004: 'I'm Looking Over A Fourleaf Clover' is played as a Pig's Big 78: "Made the Pig and myself quite sad, actually, because it reminded us so much of the late John Walters, who produced this programme for twenty years or so, because, as I say, he used to do an excellent version of that, and he was, I suppose, my best mate, and I don't really have a best mate in the same way now."

See also


Trakmarx/ZigZag articles

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