Links To PeelIn the spring of 1973 Mal's brother sent a tape of some songs Mal had written to John Peel on BBC Radio One. Peel was so impressed that he invited Pope to record a session for Top Gear in July. The broadcast became the subject of a short news item in Record Mirror, complete with a photograph of a smiling Peel standing next to Pope playing the piano (, p.6). John Walters, invited Mal to perform a session on the late night Sounds Of The Seventies show and a few weeks later Elton John had made contact asking Mal's parents if it would be okay to sign him to his record company. John Walters had been a key person in signing Mal to Elton John's Rocket Records. Walters told Mal's parents that there was another record company that had shown interest, but they weren't as established as Elton's company. That other company was Virgin Records, owned by Richard Branson. Mal later did more sessions for Peel, but by the time he reached puberty, his voice had broken and his music career was postponed until he reached adulthood. At the age of 13, Mal Pope is considered to be the youngest Peel Session artist.
Mal has managed to sustain a career, which has taken in gospel music, Welsh choral singing and musical theatre. He was quite prolific during the 1980s in particular, but by then he was working with the likes of Cliff Richard and Bonnie Tyler, in musical fields which didn't appeal to Peel - so his music vanished from Peel's playlists.
"We picked him and his older brother who'd come up with him from I think it was Swansea, and they'd never been in London before. And we picked them up at Victoria station 'cos in those days you could get on a train in Swansea and it would go to London and you got off. It sounds almost impossible now, doesn't it? But that's the way it used to work. We were driving up through London and we were just coming into the bottom end of Hyde Park and Maldwyn was sitting in the back of my car and I was with my then producer John Walters and we stopped at this traffic light and he said - I won't try and do the Welsh accent actually, although I would if I didn't have the microphone open - he said, "you must see lots of famous people in London." and we said "well actually you do Maldwyn". And at that moment, Benny Hill walked in front of the car. We said, "there you are! There's Benny Hill!" I think he thought it was true and he probably still does."
Sessions1. Recorded: 1973-07-10. Broadcast: 17 July 1973. Repeated: 05 February 1974, D031
- Truly / Couldn't Be Wrong / Shall We Go To Sea / Dream Castle / That Is The Question / How Can I Forget You?
- Maybe It's Wrong / Gunfighter / All Day / Autumn
3. Recorded: 1974-08-05. Broadcast: 17 October 1974. Repeated: None
- Lazy Country Days / Don't Say / Don't You Know
Other Shows Played
(Please add further information if known)