Article from the NME on 24th January 1981

The New Musical Express is a weekly British music publication launched in 1952. Unlike former competitors such as Melody Maker and Sounds, the NME survives today, although only online. After moving away from the “inky” newspaper format of earlier years to become more of a glossy magazine, it became a freesheet in September 2015. The final print edition appeared in March 2018.

The NME was challenged in the 1960s by Melody Maker and Disc & Music Echo, with both papers showing more awareness of new trends in the music scene and gaining readers as a result. Peel was rarely mentioned in the NME and the paper focused on the singles charts when LPs and the "Underground" werw becoming more important, But it became the leading pop weekly in the 1970s, succeeding Melody Maker and the ailing Disc by changing its approach. At the time, Pete Frame wrote:

Amusing to see that the New Musical Express have undergone a very peculiar transfiguration from teenybop to progressive heavy, man. The older guys seem to have stepped into the shadows and left it to a new, young, forceful breed of journalists to explore areas of progressive music; good for laughs. (Zigzag 24, early 1972, no page number)

Despite this mockery, the new NME recruits, some of whom had written for the underground press, like Mick Farren and Barry Miles (who both joined NME after International Times ceased publication) and future celebrity rock journalists Nick Kent (ex-Frendz), Charles Shaar Murray (formely of Oz) and Ian Macdonald, brought a more critical and irreverent tone to the paper, which contrasted with the earnestness of much Melody Maker writing and helped pave the way for the arrival of punk. After 1976 NME was the pop paper most sympathetic to Peel's tastes and remained so until the mid-1990s.

While Peel never wrote a regular column for NME, as he did for Disc & Music Echo and Sounds, he was frequently mentioned in its pages, and wrote occasional pieces, such a review of the publication's Ruby Trax 40th anniversary release in the 1992-10-10 issue.


According to a Wikipedia list of covers dating back to 1969, Peel appeared on the NME front page four times. In August 2015, the magazine selected the Peel tribute cover of November 2004 as one of its 50 Greatest Covers.[1]

$(KGrHqR,!joE2IP2E8ufBNpfugm62g~~0 12.JPG
18 Aug. 1979
Feature by Paul Morley
09 Sept. 1989
50th birthday
06 Nov. 2004
Following death
15 Oct. 2005
One year after death


According to, Peel or his programme won the NME Pop Poll/Readers Poll every year from 1972 to 1993, with the exceptions of some years. However, there are discrepancies with the site and published images of the results on the internet, with the 1975 Best DJ awarded on the Rocklistmusic site [2] given to John Peel rather than Noel Edmonds on the NME published image.[3]

In 1994, Peel picked up NME’s "Godlike Genius Award". At the NME awards in 2005 he was named "Hero Of The Year" and posthumously given a special award for "Lifelong Service To Music". The same event saw the introduction of the "John Peel Award For Musical Innovation".[4] [5]

Awards In Detail

Mixed Peel

In 1987, the NME hooked up with Strange Fruit to release a Peel sessions compilation cassette, Mixed Peel.

NME V/A Compilations

Plays by Peel of various artist releases from the NME. The DJ also gave airtime to the Capital Radio NME EP featuring the Clash (see band page) and at least one of a short-lived NME singles club featuring Peel session material (see 04 September 1993). Please add more information if known.

C81 NME Rough Trade.jpg
(NME 022, 1986) C86.jpg
Mixed peel.jpg
(NME 040, 1992) Ruby Trax The NME's Roaring Forty.png

(cassette - NME / Rough Trade C81) NME / Rough Tapes COPY 001

(cassette - NME / Charly Pocket Jukebox) NME 005

(cassette - Mighty Reel) NME 004

(cassette - Racket Packet) NME 006

(cassette - Stompin' At The Savoy) NME 007

(cassette - Smile Jamaica) NME10

(cassette - Raging Spool) NME 014

(7" EP - NME Readers' Poll Winners '84) NME GIV 1

(7" EP - NME's Big Four) NME GIV 3

(cassette - C86) NME 022

(7" - Fourplay NME GIV 4

(cassette - We Have Come For Your Children) NME 024

(cassette - The Latin Kick) NME 025

(7" - NME's Hat-Trick) NME GIV 5

(LP - I Dreamt I Was Elvis) NME PRO 5

(cassette – Mixed Peel) NME 033

(cassette, 2xLP - The Tape With No Name) NME 034

(LP - Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father) NME PEP LP-100

(2xLP - Bird Lives: The Complete Dial Masters) NME - ‎JU-6-7333

(LP - Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die) NME NAM 1

(cassette - Indie City1) NME 036

(cassette - Indie City 2) NME 037

(2xLP / CD - The Last Temptation Of Elvis) NME 038/039

(2xCD - In A Field Of Their Own - Highlights Of Glastonbury 1992) NME GLASTON 1 DCD

(3xLP / 3xCD - Ruby Trax - The NME's Roaring Forty) NME 040

(2xCD - In A Field Of Their Own Volume 2 - Glastonbury 93) NME GLASTON 2DCD

(cassette – Brat Pack '96) NME BRATS 96

(CD - The Glastonbury Broadcasts Vol 1) NME-BBC GLASTO 99

(CD - The New Rock Revolution) NME NRR1

See Also


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