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Melody Maker was a UK weekly music paper first published in 1926. Initially aimed at dance band musicians, it covered not only pop music but jazz (and, later, folk music) and was regarded in the 1960s as the most serious of the British pop weeklies. Besides its main news and feature pages, the paper included a large advertising section, with gig listings, ads from bands seeking to recruit new members, and offers of musical instruments for sale.

It's not known if Peel was a reader of Melody Maker in his youth, but it might have been one of the "jazz magazines" he subscribed to. He may well have been an MM reader during his years in the USA; some of the gossip items he included in his 1966-7 Kmentertainer columns on the British music scene read like the MM's "The Raver" column, which documented the "raving" and "looning" of pop stars in trendy London clubs like the Speakeasy and the Bag O'Nails. On the Perfumed Garden of 06 August 1967 he remarked that the MM "seems to be the most reliable"" of the pop weeklies.

When Peel joined Radio 1 it was the pop paper most sympathetic to the music he had played on the Perfumed Garden and featured an interview with him in September 1967, a couple of weeks before Radio 1 began. A sign of the paper's continuing jazz orientation was that he was compared in the article with Willis Conover, the authoritative jazz presenter whose shows on Voice Of America were listened to all over Europe[1]. MM was never a hippy paper, but it began to include pieces on the hippy scene in London and the USA and profiled many of the artists Peel admired, and he liked two of its younger writers, Nick Jones and Chris Welch. Jones was sympathetic to the underground and wrote in a hippy-impressionist style which brought him criticism, but Peel defended him in his International Times column.

In the "Melody Maker" reviewer Nick Jones writes of "seashell sounds" and the bewildered write and scoff. When I listen to music, see people in the streets, smell the tumbling smells of the Liverpool docks I feebly try to involve the rest of my battered senses in these experiences. If Nick hears "seashell sounds" in a record how many times better is that than "another rave record from a gas new group from Coventry?"[3]

Jones left MM in late 1967, but there was a mutual respect between Peel and Chris Welch, who reviewed (often humorously) singles and LPs for the paper, while also covering live gigs and the London club scene. Welch praised artists Peel liked, like Cream, Skip Bifferty and the Nice, some who were little-known but later became stars (Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Rod Stewart) and even some more commercial bands with good standards of musicianship (Marmalade, Amen Corner, Herd). But he wasn't impressed by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, describing them in 1968 as the worst group he'd seen anywhere. Despite this, Peel namechecked Chris Welch in 1975, on the final Top Gear show.

In 1968 and 1969 the DJ and his programmes were fashionable and popular with MM's readers, with frequent mentions in the paper (see Melody Maker: 1968; Melody Maker: 1969). But after that, Peel mentions gradually became less common, and in a 1971 interview with the DJ (see below) he was even described as "an institution that we all take for granted".. Nevertheless, Melody Maker gained a big readership by concentrating on the "underground" and "progressive" rock favoured by Peel's audience, attaining a circulation of 200.000 in 1972[4]. However, in 1973 International Times printed a four-page parody of the MM, entitled "Monotony Maker"[5]. It included some sharp criticism of the MM and the rock stars it covered, suggesting that the paper had "hit rock bottom".

Indeed, in the early 1970s, the New Musical Express began to challenge MM's pre-eminence by hiring younger journalists (some of them from the underground press) and adopting a more irreverent approach to the music scene. MM responded by hiring new writers, including Caroline Coon[6], who in the late 1960s had been one of the underground's leading figures as head of the charity Release, which provided advice and legal support to young people facing prosecution for drug offences and was praised by Peel in his International Times columns. By the mid-1970s she was developing an interest in the punk scene, which led her to write pieces for MM on many of the artists Peel was featuring on his shows after 1976. In the 1980s, however, NME became the most influential pop weekly and was often mentioned by Peel, but the two papers continued to compete for readers until 2000, when MM was merged with NME.

Peel never wrote a regular column for MM, as he did for rival publications Disc & Music Echo and Sounds, although he took part in some of the paper's opinion features, such as the record review series Blind Date (twice; he was also the first guest in the short-lived New Blind Date), was interviewed from time to time, and did contribute occasional pieces.[2]

As discussed with John Walters on Peeling Back The Years, Peel's victory in the DJ section of MM's 1968 readers' poll over Tony Blackburn may have helped to cement his position at Radio One. Walters commented:

You look down a fairly straight poll – obviously the Beatles were in there and so on – and there was John Peel, and the top radio show was Top Gear. And I remember within Radio One people were absolutely astounded. And it was sort of resentment mixed with a reluctant acceptance that things had changed and that you had been a key part of it changing. After 1968 you were being seen as a figure of importance and influence.[7]

Peel would eventually win the MM award 11 times.[3]

In the December 1994 edition of the Melody Maker, Peel was featured in the Rebellious Jukebox section, where music celebrities choose records that have made an impact on their lives. Peel choose twelve records ranging from Frankie Laine to Elastica.

On his show of 05 May 1997, which featured Blur's visit to Peel Acres, Peel showed off to the band his 1931 Christmas double issue of MM and also recalled a piece he did for MM's 50th anniversary, noting that the lead article of the first issue had been about whether there was still a place for the banjo in the modern dance orchestra.[4]

Online articles on Peel

1967

  • September 16 "Peel's appeal is in his chat": "in the jazz field Willis Conover of the Voice of America has for years been held in high esteem. Now pop has its own Willis Conover, 28-year-old ex-Radio London DJ John Peel...". He talks about his time in the USA ("I was offered a job with KFRC in San Francisco for 1,500 dollars a month. But I didn't take it because I wanted to come home...I left all my belongings behind, including 800 LPs, and came back...") and the Perfumed Garden; the article confirms he's among the ex-Radio London DJs taken on for the new Radio 1.[8]

1968

(See Melody Maker: 1968)

1969

(See Melody Maker: 1969)

1970

  • June 6: Mailbag: "Dandelion's out to make money, says Peel". Peel writes: "I'd like to thank C.M. Seftel (Mailbag, May 30) for his letter about Dandelion. First it's important to point out that Dandelion is, in fact, very anxious to make money. The difference is in the uses to which profits, if any, should be put...."(read more
  • November 14: Reaction (Peel gives his opinions on various people and topics).

1971

  • April 24: In the three years since he first won the Top DJ title in the MM Poll, John Peel has been mocked and worshipped. Today he wipes the slate clean... (read more)
  • September 25:"The State Of Rock. Starting a three-week series...which way is rock going?" Centre-page feature. Keith Emerson, Jon Anderson, Ian Hunter, Pete Townshend, Rory Gallagher and Peel give their ideas. JP writes: "As far as the music goes, groups like Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer are enormously popular and sell great numbers of records - becasue they are so predictable......Pop is such a mad animal. It charges about and I just hope I will still be around watching it!" (issue unavailable online at present)

1982

  • August 14: If the age of the Ford Prefect, Ealing Comedies and the Coronation Mug could be preserved in pickle for subsequent generations' delectation, its museum would probably be one room. Cocooned in the musty web of corridors... (read more)

Other Mentions

1967

  • July 1: From "The Raver" column: "Radio London DJ John Peele [sic] uses David O'List's guitar solo "Any More Than I Do" as a signature tune. Dave recently declined an offer from John Mayall"[9][5]
  • August 19: Mailbag - letter from Perfumed Garden listener after closedown of Radio London: "Every night from midnight to two am a beautiful sound flowed from radios all over the country. Soul by the Cream, Mayall, Doors and a host of others, and a a beautiful voice uttering inspiring thoughts and poetry. Now John Peele [sic] of Radio London wil be heard no more..."[10]
  • September 16: "Hold On, Here Come The Nice" - article on this "new group". "David [O'List] is the 17-year-old guitarist who played with the Attack...he already has fans like DJ John Peel who played his exciting solo on "Any More Than I Do" on Perfumed Garden."[11]
  • September 23: 1967 Pop Poll - Peel seventh in Top DJ listing. Winner is Jimmy Savile.[12]
  • September 23: Mailbag - letter in praise of flower power; "Aware people such as Jeff Dexter, John Peel and Steve Abrams[6] are becoming noticed and appreciated..." (link as above)
  • November 11 From "The Raver" column: "John Peel asked by pop magazine for a short, clean joke for their Christmas number replied: "How about Tony Blackburn?"[13]
  • December 2 From "The Raver" column: "Fantastic response to gOD poll from readers. Votes went to Eric Clapton, Tony Coe, John Lennon, Roland Kirk, Ginger Baker, John Peel, Donovan, John Coltrane, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Mavis Greebstabling, an undiscovered drummer from South London called George Jeffrey, and Edwin Bulstrode"[14]
  • December 16 From "The Raver" column: "John Peel played Captain Beefheart's "Electricity" on Top Gear. Yes John, it's "Safe As Milk"!"[15]
  • December30 "Old Dawbarn's Almanack". Bob Dawbarn's comic predictions for the music scene in 1968, including the replacement of Radio 1 DJs by much older, established BBC presenters; "November: Radio One replace John Peel with Jack de Manio"[16].

1968

(See Melody Maker: 1968)

1969

(See Melody Maker: 1969)

1970

  • January 10: Centre-page feature: "Pop Into the Seventies. Pop people tell of their hopes and fears for the future". Peel is among them: "My hopes are for more tolerance in the Seventies...A lot of people who listen to so-called underground music have become very intolerant. People have become almost fascist.....I'd like to see a return to simplicity. I'd like to see people getting away from complexity for complexity's sake...."[17]
  • Focus on Folk. Interview with Suzanne Harris. "Just one day before her appearance with P.P. Arnold, John Peel and Alexis Korner at Friends House, Euston, a young folksinger from the Pacific North West rehearses her repertoire a little apprehensively. "I've just heard that the hall holds 1,300 peope", she announces coyly...".(link as above)
  • Mailbag: Letter from Steve Bradshaw of Leicester: "I wonder what treats 1970 has in store for us. Here are a few suggestions that should liven up the new decade..." - including "A weekly television spot given to John Peel, to featuring [sic] highlights of Liverpool football matches". (link as above)
  • January 24 News item: "A benefit for the Chicago Eight - members of the Black Panther and Yippie movements currently on trial for their alleged parts in the 1968 Democratic Convention riots - will be held at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, on January 26 from 7 p..m to 2 a.m.. Titled 'Festival Of Life 2', it will include Graham Bond, Quintessence, Mighty Baby, Heavy Jelly, David Bowie, John Peel, Jeff Dexter, Agit Prop and members of the Living Theatre"[18]
  • The Raver: "Jimmy Savile still making that horrible yodelling noise on Savile's Travels...John Peel funny on listeners' letters...." (link as above)
  • Preview of Lanchester Arts Festival at Coventry's polytechnic, with Peel photo and short interview: "It looks like being a nice sort of event, but I don't really know much about it..." JP "appears on Sunday, 25 January with Ron Geesin, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre and Ivor Cutler" and says "I want to see Jack Bruce and Mott the Hoople....I'm all for this sort of thing..." (link as above)
  • January 31 LP supplement; "The Occasional Word; "The Year Of The Great Leap SIdeways" (Dandelion). Pell[sic]-produced this drily amusing set can be summed up by the title of one of its songs. "A Thoroughly British Affair"[19]
  • February 7 News item:: "Mac, Shack, Trems in six-hour "light" show": "A massive six-hour pop festival under floodlights is planned for April 11 at Thrum Hall, home of the famous Halifax Rugby League Club.....It is also hoped for deejay John Peel to take part....."[20]
  • The Raver: "Blodwyn Pig's Jack Lancaster played nice tenor on the Peel Show."
  • Ad for Principal Edwards Magic Theatre LP with photo of double-fold sleeve: "John Peel and Principal Edwards Magic Theatre pruduced the album..."
  • "And so Klooks Kleek closes", by Max Jones. Owner Dick Jordan on demise of noted Hampstead club: "...you can't give tickets away, whatever the group, unless John Peel has rated it. Which shows a lot of confidence in the man. But why can't the public decide for themselves?"
  • Mailbag: "I had the opportunity to attend the BBC recording of John Peel's Sunday show recently when Keef Hartley used the big band. What a sound!  If this is the type of trend the pop scene is taking - great...." 
  • February 14 Ad for Siren LP with quote: "'Stomping, roaring...a considerable treat'. - John Peel"[21]
  • News in brief: "John Peel's tip for the future, Medicine Head, appear at Walsall Town Hall on Saturday February 21, together with the Rosko Show featuring the Go-Go Dancers and Light show."
  • Mailbag: Letter from record producer (of Elton John, the Bonzo Dog Band and many others) Gus Dudgeon: "I feel I must congratulate the person who decided to put John Peel's Sunday Show on the sir. This show has, for me, become the best radio programme since Radio One began... " Goes on to praise the balance engineer, and says "Please Radio One - if you're short of needle time - realise that programmes of this sort are the answer..."
  • February 21 Unenthusiastic review of Siren LP: "The merits of this album, according to John Peel's sleevenote, are its simplicity and lack of pretension. Fair enough; but it's also pretty inconsequential..."[22]
  • February 28 Enthusiastic review by Chris Welch of Gene Vincent's LP for Dandelion, I'm Back and I'm Proud: "One of the great surprises of the age is the appearance of the High Priest of Rock on the hippy gumbo John Peel label previously a catalogue of macro-biotic seeds and petals....."[23]
  • Trevor Brice of singles chart group Vanity Fare in Blind Date: Tyrannosaurus Rex: "Prelude" from the LP Beard of Stars (Regal Zonophone): "I think it's horrible. It's like an old age pensioner singing...One of the biggest indictments of John Peel was when he had Tiny Tim on his show and said he was going to be the big new underground sound. He turned out to be a pure entertainer. He builds up a big myth about Tyrannosaurus Rex and it's all so feeble...."[24]
  • Mailbag: Main headline; "Impossible task for BBC radio". Letter laments lack of pop on VHF and suggests "Could not, for instance, the Saturday sports programmes on Radio 3 be broadcast on medium wave only, and Rosko, Peel and Drummond be put out in its place on VHF alongside medium wave 247?". Reader also praises Peel's new Sunday show ("This is the way to beat needle time").
  • March 7: "The Raver's Weekly Tonic": "John Peel goes to hear more live groups than any other deejay..."[25]
  • March 14 News article: "Better deal for pop on Radio 1". "Progressive pop gets a special daily showcase in the new Radio 1 schedules announced on Tuesday. The new schedules operate from April 4. Under the title Sounds Of The Seventies, the series includes a repeat of John Peel's Sunday Show on Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m....". Goes on to list other SOTS DJs and give details of changes to R1 daytime shows.[26]
  • "The Raver's Weekly Tonic": "Ed Stewart, John Peel, Tommy Vance, Brian Poole, Don Partridge and Tony Gomez among those taking part in Top Ten XI charity football match at Wealdstone Football Club, Harrow, on Sunday (15). Kick-off is 3.30 p.m.." (link as above)
  • "Back to poetry for Liverpool Scene". Interview with Andy Roberts by Jeremy Gilbert, who recounts the band's history; "The group then added drummer Brian Dodson, and started getting things together, with the unlimited help of John Peel..." (link as above)
  • March 21 News article: "Lennon to support CND show": "John Lennon and Yoko may support the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Festival For Life at London's Victoria Park on March 29", Lists the many artists scheduled to appear and says "John Peel will compare [sic] the pop attractions". [27]
  • Interview with Judy Dyble and Jackie McAuley of Trader Horne: "John Peel had a fixation about Trader Horne, and he gave us the name. The history of the name is very long and boring, but it all started with Captain Aloysius Smith...." (link as above)
  • Folk Forum gig listings; Sunday - "Hear Jim James and Raphael Callaghan on John Peel Show. Bookings; Formby 76932 (Lancashire)" (link as above)
  • March 28: front-page story: "A massive Pop and Fashion festival, titled Extravaganza 70, will be staged in the vast Empire Hall, Olympia, London, from May 29 to June 6...". Peel and Tyrannosaurus Rex due to appear on June 4.
  • Interview with Christine Perfect, who complains that Blue Horizon label releases aren't heard on radio: "Duster Bennett, for example, is very big in America, but how many record plays does he get over here? Except those by John Peel..."
  • April 18 "Sterling Cash". Interview with DJ Dave Cash, whose show had just ben dropped by Radio 1.. "Auntie BBC moves in strange and mysterious ways. Of all the deejays on its roster, Dave Cash - with the possible exceptions of John Peel and Kenny Everett - strikes me as being the most hip. Not necessarily musically, but certainly from the point of view of his presentations..." Cash says "I don't want to do a 'format' type show. Kenny Everett won't do it, and neither will John Peel.....Only on the BBC could John Peel say he had had VD and not be sacked on the spot...."[28]
  • June 6: The Raver: "John Peel was the victim this week of Jobsworth Power when he went to introduce Tyrannosaurus Rex at Pop Extravaganza '70 at London's Olympia. "A guy said on the door - where's your pass? I told him I hadn't got one, and he told me to buy a ticket....""
  • Full-page ad for Bath Fest[ival of Blues and Progressive Music: "Continuity by John Peel and Mike Raven [29]]
  • Centre-page feature on upcoming General Election, with many musicians giving their views. "JOHN PEEL: "I'm not voting because both parties are exactly the same. Their major interest is to maintain the status quo, which means their jobs......"
  • "Busker who came in from the cold". Interview with Lol Coxhill by Richard Williams. "..That's how he got to know John Peel, who has asked him to make an album for the Dandelion label...."
  • Folk News: "The Chieftains, that incredible band of Irish musicians who use traditional instruments to reint[30]erpret traditional material, will be over in Britain for Cambridge [Folk Festival]. At the same time they will record a John Peel show..."
  • June 27: "Have A Nice Bath". Centre-page preview of the Bath Festival with profiles of the many American bands appearing and an interview with promoter Fred Bannister. "Continuity will be by John Peel and Mike Raven both days".
  • "Thank God Labour are out - says Tony Blackburn. Election aftermath: will Britain get free radio?" Various "personalities from the music world" give their views. John Peel: "Obviously the idea of some kind of commercial radio is a good idea, but it's very important that people realise that commercial radio is in actuall effect much more restrictive than the BBC..."
  • July 18 "Cool or Uncool?" (p.8) Light-hearted article with lists of people and things which fit the two categories, including "Cool: John Peel - Uncool: Tony Brandon[7]"[31]
  • Centre-page feature on future of radio after the Tory election victory ("Thank God Labour are out" shrilled Tony Blackburn") JOHN PEEL: What's wrong with Radio One? The fact that you can listen to it for an entire week without learning anything that relates to what's going on. I don't know whether it originates from the producers or where, but..." Other DJs who give their opinions include Johnnie Walker, Kenny Everett, Pete Drummond. Mike Raven and Tony Brandon (read more)
  • July 25: Article about the Humblebums"Since John Peel declared, earlier this year that his favourite record of the moment was " Please Sing A Song For Us," very little has been heard of the Humblebums. Last week they broke a three-day holiday from recording to pay a visit to the MM." [32]
  • Album review of John Peel's Archive Things, by Richard Williams: "Connoisseurs of good radio will remember that Peel's old Wednesday Night Ride was probably the best programme ever to appear on BBC. In It Peel was given complete freedom to presents poets, musicians, and — most Importantly — material from the BBC archives, dug up by Peel and researched by David Luddy. The result was vastly more adventurous and far more rewarding than Top Gear, because it took us into new, unfamiliar realms of music which, like travel, truly broadened the mind." [33]
  • Mailbag - letter criticising Jonathan King's bad review of the Bath Festival: "So Jonathan King thought it necessary to criticise the people at Bath. Well, a lot of people will agree with John Peel when he says the real stars are the people out front not the paper ones backstage as I hope Mr King realises soon." [34]
  • Article about Kenny Everett, sacked from the BBC after his comments in MM: "John Peel, Pete Drummond and David Symonds — all Radio One deejays — were also critical of the BBC in the same MM article." [35]
  • September 19: 1970 Pop Poll Results: "John Peel makes it a hat-trick of Top Disc Jockey awards, follows it up with the first and second places in the Top Radio Show division with his Top Gear and Sunday Show".[36]
  • September 26 "MM Pollwinners rock the party of 1970". Report on Pop Poll awards at Savoy Hotel, with pictures, including one of Peel "looking suitably thoughtful". "John Peel...was cool and helpful. He kindly lent the MM a notebook to make notes about its own event. This proved to be full of strange fan letters"[37]
  • October 10: Mailbag: "Pop TV needs Peel". Two letters responding to his victory in the MM's Pop Poll. "...John Peel is Top DJ according to the Melody Maker Poll so he should introduce Top Of The Pops...."[38]
  • December 26: Farewell 1970. Quotes of the Year. John Peel: "A lot of people who listen to so-called underground music have become very intolerant. The whole thing started as a plea for tolerance but now it's come the full circle. People have become almost fascist; they've become very intolerant of anything that's not their musical scene".[39]
  • "Three wishes for Folk in '71" by Karl Dallas. "....If Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span can sing Child ballads at the Country Club and a Peter Bellamy record can be played on the John Peel show, we are reaching a position where pop is more tolerant than folk..."[40]
  • Mailbag; letter looking back on 1970 mentions various artists, especially guitarists ("Axe grinders of the year") and ends: "And finally - yes, John Peel should be made Big Chief of the BBC".[41]

1971

  • January 16: The Pete Townshend page: "Do you suffer from media frustration?": "A year ago I would have jumped for joy at the news that the government was going to hand Radio One over to commercial interests....Today I’m nervous....We’d lose Mike Raven and his Blind Blake records. We’d lose Pete Drummond and John Peel, Scene and Heard and What’s New. There are so many good things which are unfortunately outweighed by all the bad things, all the Light Programme type things which should really be on Radio Two....[42]
  • January 30: The Raver; "Leon Russell looks like John Peel on photographs..(Russell's photo is on the front page; he'd just arrived in Britain to do TV appearances and a concert tour)...Tommy Vance claims Radio Monte Carlo exclusive first broadcasts of new albums by Janis Joplin ("Pearl", her final LP), new Faces, Yes and Eric Burdon LPs, and Labi Siffre's single. Listening, John Peel?" [43]
  • February 13 "Football on Peel 'Special'". "Guests on John Peel's Late-Night Line-Up "special" on BBC2 TV on February 20 at 10.45 p.m. will include former Liverpool and Scotland football international Billy Liddell and soprano saxist Lowen Coxhill..." . Programme was described as first of a regular series, but only this one featured Peel. The series was called "One Man's Week" and was edited by Rowan Ayers, father of Peel favourite Kevin Ayers[44].
  • The Raver: "John Peel sez it would have been more constructive of Eric Burdon to have issued an album of his boring press conference instead of the music that found its way onto the boring new album...Right on John!" (link as above)
  • Interview with Steve Brown, "songplugger" who promoted Elton John at the start of his career and got his single "Lady Samantha" lots of plays on Radio 1; "And Elton did a couple of live shows. The very first one, I believe, was John Peel's "Night Ride...."(link as above)
  • LP reviews: Richard Williams on "Tracking With Close-Ups" by Sweet Slag (Transatlantic): "(Paul) Kerensky is the composer, and his writing is harshly contemporary; jagged, raw, essentially joyless in a way which should guarantee them a gig on Peel's Sunday Show...." (link as above)
  • Interview with Wishbone Ash begins with Peel quote: "I heard Wishbone Ash for the first time, and haven't been so impressed by a relatively new band for a long time...." (link as above)
  • April 17: Review of Buddy Knox LP "Rock Reflections" (Sunset); "...It's pleasant, very lightweight stuff and might interest anyone who heard Buddy perform these songs on John Peel's show during his recent visit here"[45]
  • May 1: "New progressive channel? Radio Three may rock this autumn". "Discussions are currently in progress...and the outcome is likely to be an hour's programme featuring progressive rock, either once weekly or fortnightly....Certain Radio One disc jockeys, including John Peel, have been campagning for progressive music on a difficult [sic] channel for some time"[46]
  • May 22: "Freedom and fish soup". Ian Carr of Nucleus discusses freedom in music. "The general insistence on 'doing your own thing' has helped to make some valuable changes in the attitudes of the musical establishment. BBC programmes such as the Sounds Of The Seventies and John Peel's Top Gear and Live Show allow musicians and groups to present their music as they wish"[47]
  • Mailbag: Letter defending JP in response to critical letter in May 8 issue:"The music John Peel and others play is not to be broken down and analysed; it is something you feel....John Peel plays music he likes, and that is a rarity, even today.....You listen to Deep Purple, I'll be listening to John Peel" (link as above).
  • May 29: "Peel hits at BBC drug ban." Front page article. John Peel hit out this week at the BBC's decision to ban Mungo Jerry's latest single - Lady Rose because one of the tracks on the maxi-single, "Have A Whiff On Me" refers to drug taking. Other quotes from Mungo Jerry's management, Tony Blackburn and Radio 1 controller Douglas Muggeridge [48].
  • June 5: Interview with Roy Harper by Andrew Means. "Since Harper was a John Peel Show guest that evening they had to return to the studios to check the sound balance before continuing the interview. Some 20 minutes later we drifted towards a pot of tea at Fortnum and Mason's...".[49]
  • "THe flashy, friendly home of hip....Michael Watts reports from the headquarters of the Kinney complex", which at that time owned record labels Warner/Reprise, Atlantic, Peel's Dandelion and Elektra; Clive Selwood was its European manager and "John Peel, they'll tell you, is always ambling in to write his Dandelion newsletter and pass the time of day" (link as above).
  • June 19: "Fairport date". News item previewing Edinburgh Lyceum Pop Festival, from July 1-5. Fairport Convention to appear on the 5th, "with Stealer's Wheel and the Top Syndrome [?] with John Peel, John Walters and Tony Palmer".[50]
  • Feature on bootleg albums: "How they are made"; "In the same category falls the taping of radio and TV shows. The BBC2 series In Concert is an obvious target...and John Peel's Sunday Show is another. The successfully-prosecuted "Live Experience" album came from Jimi Hendrix's various BBC broadcasts, from the Lulu Show to Top Gear.." (link as above)
  • July 3: The Raver: "Thanks John Peel for excellent Saturday show, good to see Rod Stewart getting valid long periods of airplay"[51]
  • July 31: Mailbag: "Peel appeal". "Is John Peel turning 'commercial'? It may seem an unnecessary question to ask....On his Sunday droned on Wednesday programme of last weekend...he became quite excited (in the coolest possible way) about the audience and how responsive they were...." [52]
  • August 14: Front-page story: "At last; Radio 1 goes heavy"; "Progressive rock has finally won its battle with the BBC. From October 4, Radio One's Sounds of the Seventies will move to a late-night two-hour spot every weeknight, hosted by John Peel, Alan Black and Bob Harris..." Article ncludes quotes from Douglas Muggeridge, Harris (who's mildly critical of the change) and Black, but nothing from JP..[53].
  • Interview with Dick Morrissey of If: "We did a John Peel show recently and there must have been a lot of If fans because they made a huge noise and called out for tunes! It was really rewarding and flattering and gave us a lot more confidence....." (link as above).
  • Mailbag: "I have just heard Cochise on John Peel's concert programme. Their excellent set included, to my surprise, a version of that Neil Young classic, "Ohio". Surely this song was banned by the BBC for the ridiculous reason that it mentioned three students who were shot dead on a campus in Ohio?...." (Page also includes an LP-winning letter complaining about the audience at a Mott the Hoople gig, from Horace Panter of Kettering - perhaps the one who later played with the Specials?) (link as above).
  • September 25: "Up the Poll! MM Pop Poll Special 1971" by Chris Welch. ""It was probably the strangest pop poll awards ever held by the MM" - because the national press hadn't heard of most of the pollwinners...""Who is he?" asked a pressman curiously, as Viv Stanshall threatened to scourge the chattering, boozing crowd with a whip...John Peel smiled from a corner, a veteran of such skirmishes. He chatted to Peter Frampton...." ([54])
  • November 6: The Raver: "Scots grouo Nazareth held a hilarious reception for TV radio and pressmen at London's saucy-but-plush strip club, the famous Nell Gwyn last week. Guests, including a slightly perplexed-looking John Peel, rolled in the aisles at a special show normally reserved for the men in dirty raincoats......"[55]
  • Mailbag: "Some months ago John (the top DJ) Peel made some rather scathing comments about record companies that issue reocrds in plain white inner covers....I've just bought Bridget St John's "Songs For The Gentle Man" on Peel's own label and what do I find? A plain white inner! Come on Peel, practice what you preach."(link as above)
  • November 13: "The Thoughts Of Emperor Rosko". Interview with the DJ. "And Tony Blackburn is a good personality...John Peel is another. He's completely natural - he's just being himself. He gives plenty of information on the records he plays - and gets on with the music..."[56]
  • December 18: The Raver is scathing about London Weekend TV's Sunday evening Freedom Roadshow on pop - "a chat-in-cum-shout-up about nothing in particular (as long as rock and religion got an airing). On the panel were Sir John Peel, Tony "What am I?" Palmer, Marc Bolan, Cheery Edgar Broughton, and a lady called Polly Perkins....Peel was the only one who kept his head, and honour. Both Bolan and Broughton caricatured themselves as sufferers of the Jiving K. Boots syndrome...this programme set back rock chat shows for at least 90 years"
  • The Raver's Weekly Guide: "Roxy Music" (Speakeasy, London, Monday). "Peel's onto them already (they'll be on Top Gear next month) so be first on your block to discover one of next year's sensations. Really."
  • Gilbert O'Sullivan explains why he's not doing live gigs: "There is enough live entertainment for people around at the moment...I have just done a BBC2 'In Concert' programme and taped a John Peel concert show..."
  • Mailbag: "No buzz from the Beeb": "The Sounds Of The 70s programmes are feeble.....In short, where is the excitement? It does exist in rock as Stoneground proved on John Peel's Concert programme, but there is not enough played on the radio."

[57]

1972

  • March 4: "In Brief": "John Peel will be introducing Hawkwind, Steve Took, Graham Bond, Pete Brown, Adrian Mitchell, and Adrian Henri at Aldermaston as part of the annual CND march on Easter Monday, April 3. [58]
  • Mailbag - letter which won an LP for the writer: "The main trouble with supposedly progressive music today is that too many groups are producing themselves....For example a Van Der Graaf Generator track on the John Peel show was based on a simple but pleasant idea.....It dragged on for well over five minutes and became very monotonous...." (link as above)

1973

  • February 23: Mailbag: letter from a progressive music fan complaining that Peel was playing too much black music on his shows. Provoked a reply from Robert Wyatt defending JP. (Not available online at present)
  • September 29: Peel winning the Best DJ category in the 1973 Melody Maker Readers' Poll. (read more)
  • November 10: Review of benefit concert for Robert Wyatt. "Compere John Peel was pleased to announce that some £10,000 was raised. He said that Robert intended to carry on with a singing and drumming career...."[59]

1976

1978

  • November 11: Peel wins Top DJ and comes 2nd in the Best Radio Show in the 1978 Melody Maker Readers' Poll. (read more)

1980

  • 15 March: "Up from Rock Bottom". Long interview with Robert Wyatt by Vivien Goldman. There's a classic John Peel session from years ago where he sings a song and changes the words to say how nice it is at the BBC, where they let you play almost as long and as loud as a jazz group or an orchestra on Radio 3, and he continues to sing about the coffee machine in the hall... Wyatt: "I wanted to get out of this place, especially when I realised after the last election that the country was just full of Tories — I wanted to separate myself, and I couldn't do it physically, so I started tuning into the short wave radio... to anyone who was considered the enemy, with immediate strong bonds of sympathy pouring out to them. The result was that I spend my time hovering between the radio of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Radio Moscow. And Radio Havana, on 41 metres short wave, from ten to 11 in English, which means missing the first part of John Peel. That's a sacrifice, seriously — but I'm prepared to make it, so entertaining is Radio Havana. I found out there's more to life on the short wave than the enemy, and it's very Eurocentric to call anyone who isn't us the enemy."[60]

1991

  • January 5: Peel wins Best Radio Show in the 1990 Melody Maker Readers' Poll (read more)

1995

  • Sept 30: "The Jarvis & John Show! This Saturday, John Peel will interview Jarvis Cocker on Radio 1FM and play tracks from Pulp’s forthcoming album. Andrew Mueller goes to Peel Acres to watch Jarv and John in action." (read more)

Melody Maker v/a Compilations

(Known plays by Peel of various artist (v/a) releases from Melody Maker, listed in order of first appearance on his R1 show. He also gave airtime to at least one flexidisc issued with the paper (see 03 May 1982). Please add more information if known.)

Mm1.jpg
Mm2.jpg
Mm3.jpg

(v/a LP - Red Stripe - Playback Volume 1)

(v/a 7" - MM Vinyl Conflict 1)

(v/a 7" - Vinyl Conflict 2)

(v/a cassette - Five Alive)

(v/a 3xCD - The Serious Road Trip )

(v/a cassette - Reading Present)

(v/a cassette - Reading Present 1995)

(v/a CD - ...Hold On)

See Also

References

  1. Because of the lack of jazz on the BBC, Melody Maker included listings of jazz programmes broadcast by European radio stations, as well as the American Forces Network and Voice Of America, in its jazz pages. Conover's VOA "Jazz Hour" was broadcast every night and was audible in the UK on the medium wave band, thanks to the VOA's powerful transmitter located in Germany.
  2. For example, as guest reviewer for MM in 1991, Peel made PJ Harvey's debut 45 Single Of The Week.[1]
  3. This is a frequently quoted figure - see, for example, Peel's Wikipedia entry - but no full list of the years he won is available. Please put a note in the Talk section at the top of this page if you can help with this.
  4. Peel and John Walters had presented a BBC Radio One Insight show on 1976-03-22, looking back at 50 years of the MM.[2]
  5. Although the Attack's "Any More Than I Do" was a lifelong Peel favourite. there's no evidence of this on available recordings. However Peel did use a snippet from the track in an ad he compiled, no doubt with help from the station's engineers, for the Nautilus Club, Lowestoft - a regualr venue for Radio London DJs. It can be heard on the show of 01 July 1967.
  6. American academic living in London in 1967 who campaigned for the legalisation of cannabis. He sponsored and authored the full page advertisement petitioning for cannabis law reform which appeared in The Times on 24 July 1967. In 1987 Abrams appeared in the video for the song 'The Body' by Public Image Limited.
  7. A Radio London and Radio One DJ with middle-of-the-road music tastes, he was known as Tony "Birdbrain" Brandon and eventually moved to Radio Two in 1971.

Links