The Listener was a magazine that was established by the BBC in 1929 and ceased publication in 1991. Its name referred to the era when the BBC broadcast only on the radio. It was generally regarded as a more serious journal than the popular Radio Times and contained analytical pieces on politics, broadcasting and culture as well as transcripts of some BBC radio and TV programmes..
Peel, regarded by some at the BBC as representing the more "intellectual" side of pop culture, was first featured in The Listener in the issue of 5 September 1968 (in which he is also pictured on the front cover), as the subject of a profile by Richard Gilbert. He was also mentioned in a number of other articles published in The Listener during 1968, relfecting how fashionable a figure he was at that time.
Later, Peel himself began to write pieces for The Listener, as outlined below.
John Peel contributed occasional articles, several of which were reprinted in The Olivetti Chronicles:
- 1973-04-12, Kosmische Musik, pg. 136-8
- 1973-06-07, Tubular Bells, pg. 311-3
- 1973-08-08, Peel's Theory, pg. 218-9
- 1973-11-22, Rock's In Trouble, pg. 266-7
- 1975-12-25, 1975, pg. 175-9
- 1976-04-24, Eurovision 2, pg. 69-72
- 1977-07-07, Viv Stanshall 2, pg. 286-9
- 1977-12-22, 1977, pg. 180-5
- 1979-11-01, Article about the state of music (link)
- 1979-12-?? (vol 102 no 2642) Making Tracks (review of 1979) (link)
Please add any information for further articles by Peel if known.
The DJ also featured as a subject of articles and was mentioned elsewhere in the magazine,
- 1968-09-05: "Inside John Peel's Perfumed Garden" (pp.306-307). Profile by Richard Gilbert, Peel talks about his American career, his Perfumed Garden, Top Gear and Night Ride shows, and his attitude to his DJ work and the hippy underground. Gilbert concludes; "..Peel is vulnerable because he is so open. But he is never falsely sentimental. Sometimes he ends his show by saying: "I hope your week is filled with peace and love". Coming from a mandala-chanting, plastic hippy this would sound positively mind-contracting. From Peel it seems both convincing and appropriate."
- 1968-09-19: Letter from Radio 1 controller Robin Scott: "May I raise one point in connection with Richard Gilbert's otherwise admirable profile of John Peel?...it is certainly not true to say that "every other DJ continued to flash a Pepsodent smile at the microphone" following the news of the shooting of Robert Kennedy. Although the first news threw us all off balance, Radio-1 disc-jockeys thereafter handled the subject with great sensitivity, and the treatment by Jimmy Young in his show following the news of the death was both dignified and moving...." (link as above, p.371)
- 1968-09-26: "First Birthday", by Gerard Evans. Discusses Radio 1, "just coming up to its first birthday". Calls Peel "one of the best of Radio 1's team of disc-jockeys" and reviews The Voice Of Pop and Top Gear ("Peel's linking comments are liberally sprinkled with in-references to musicians and to long-playing records destined, one suspects, for infinitesimal sales...") (link as above, p.421)
- 1968-11-07: Period Piece - D.A.N. Jones presents Alan Bennett. Bennett was enjoying his first major stage success with "Forty Years On" and the article compares him with his literary contemporaries: "...Angus Wilson, in The Middle Age Of Mrs Eliot, put the general complaint into the mouth of a corduroyed, bearded public-school youth, searching for a new style, a new pose: "A lot of the people who went to public schools have got quite a few ideas about how things ought to be." Angus Wilson has never told us what happened to Tom Pirie. Perhaps he works for Private Eye or turned into Simon Dee. Perhaps he learned a regional accent and so became John Peel. (link as above, p.612)
- 1968-11-14: Tim Souster reviews last week's broadcast music (classical only): "Connecting the bits of these reviews is always a tiresome business which breeds the kind of anxiety that John Peel must experience at the need for a smooth transition from Ligeti to Leadbelly...." (link as above, p.658)
- 1987-01-08, Lost Sessions And Sticky Tapes, p. 24: One of the earliest pieces in the journalistic career of Ken Garner