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Leeds is a city in West Yorkshire, England. Historically in Yorkshire's West Riding, the history of Leeds can be traced to the 5th century when the name referred to a wooded area of the Kingdom of Elmet. The name has been applied to many administrative entities over the centuries. It changed from being the appellation of a small manorial borough in the 13th century, through several incarnations, to being the name attached to the present metropolitan borough. In the 17th and 18th centuries Leeds became a major centre for the production and trading of wool. Then, during the Industrial Revolution, Leeds developed into a major mill town; wool was the dominant industry but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing, and other industries were important. From being a compact market town in the valley of the River Aire in the 16th century Leeds expanded and absorbed the surrounding villages to become a populous urban centre by the mid-20th century.

Links To Peel

Leeds Market

Statue of former British Prime Minister Robert Peel in Leeds defaced with graffiti mentioning John Peel's death.

Leeds was one of many cities where Peel took his roadshows and attended live music events. Future BBC Radio One presenter Andy Kershaw and David Gedge of the Wedding Present each first encountered Peel in person at roadshow nights in the Leeds area.[1] In September 1980, the DJ introduced himself to Altered Images after catching their set at the second Futurama “science-fiction music festival” at Queens Hall, Leeds.[2]

During Peel's early years on Radio One, Leeds singer-songwriter Michael Chapman emerged as a firm favourite of the DJ, recording 12 sessions in a decade, with “Postcards Of Scarborough” later selected as a Peelenium choice for 1970. Meanwhile, the city's university hosted the Who gig recorded for the band's landmark “Live At Leeds” album, which was played on release in 1970 on Top Gear. The following year, Peel introduced the Rolling Stones live at the same venue for the BBC's In Concert programme.[3]

In the wake of punk, Leeds started to provide a steady stream of artists who were featured on Peel's show, including politically aware outfits from the fine art course at the city's university, such as Gang Of Four, Mekons and Delta 5. Wedding Present became a mainstay of Peel's shows from the second half of the eighties, while Chumbawamba scored the 1993 Festive Fifty #1 with “Enough Is Enough” (with Credit To The Nation). Other favourites from the city included Three Johns, Age Of Chance and CUD. Perhaps surprisingly, although the DJ largely steered clear of the thriving Leeds goth scene, Sisters Of Mercy recorded two Peel sessions.

Peel continued to broadcast shows from Leeds down the decades, including when Radio One spent a week in Yorkshire in late March 1979. He also hosted two shows from Leeds during Sound City 1996.

In the world of football, Leeds United were often leading rivals of Peel's beloved Liverpool team, winning top-flight titles in 1969, 1974 and 1992. Despite this, the DJ was happy to give a session to Leeds band Lorimer, named after the Elland Road club's all-time top goalscorer. In 1997, the Hitchers enjoyed Festive Fifty success with 'Strachan', an ode to the former Leeds captain.

Leeds Sessions

(See Leeds: Sessions)

Leeds Compilations

Leeds comp

Various artist albums played by Peel that focused on music from the Leeds area. Please add more information if known.

(CD/LP - Knowing Where It All Leeds) Stolen Sounds

See Also

  • Reading: In 1999, the late summer festival attended for many years by Peel gained a second leg in Leeds.
  • A Flock Of Seagulls: Peel became aware of the band after seeing them play live "in a pub north of Leeds" while visiting Wakefield[2] resident Bill Nelson, who produced their debut single on his Cocteau label.
  • Interview: On Liverpool FC, Heysel, Hillsborough: (JP: "When I first met Sheila she was a Leeds United supporter,[3] and Leeds at that time were actually the only team that actually posed any kind of threat to Liverpool’s domination. So there was quite clearly a bit of potential here for disaster.")

External Links


  1. Kershaw was entertainments secretary at Leeds University when it hosted a Peel roadshow night.[1] Gedge was given a lift back to Leeds by Peel after a roadshow event in Ilkley, as recalled on This Is Your Life.
  2. Wakefield is a city in West Yorkshire 9 miles (14 km) southeast of Leeds.
  3. Sheila is from nearby Bradford.
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