• John Peel's Music On BFBS
  • 1987-07-24/31
  • John regales us with his opinions about live performances he has seen from Luther Vandross (a surprisingly positive experience) and Billy Joel (resoundingly negative). His review of the latter was published in the Observer and reprinted on pp.178-180 (Corgi) of Olivetti Chronicles. The book states, correctly, that the review was published in the paper on 1987-07-12 (this has been confirmed via the Guardian & Observer digital archive); Joel performed five nights at Wembley Arena in this stint (confirmed via the Guardian & Times digital archives), on 9th, 11th, 12th, 15th and 16th July, so Peel's review was probably of the 9th July show.
  • The Vaselines track Son Of A Gun was later covered by Nirvana, who played the song in a Peel Session recorded on 1990-10-21 and broadcast on 03 November 1990 (repeated on 22 April 1994).


  • None


24 July 1987 (BFBS)

(JP: "I'm sure that this is an LP that you all own anyway. I keep saying that, confident of course that nobody does at all.")
  • Al Casey with the K-C-Ettes: 'Surfin' Hootenanny (7")' (Stacy)
(JP: "If you think about it (which I don't really recommend, at least not for any length of time), a surfing hootenanny itself is an almost surreal, Zen-like concept, because a hootenanny is when a whole bunch of people get together in a place to sing folk songs, and the idea of doing that whilst surfing is, as I say, positively surreal.")

31 July 1987 (BFBS)

(JP: "In case I sound a little subdued this week, it's mainly because at the end of last week, I had to go and see Billy Joel in concert. Now I go to these things fairly open-minded because I write a review for one of the Sunday newspapers (I'd better not tell you which one it is, but I do). For example, the week before I'd been to see Luther Vandross who, if you're a regular listener to the programme, you'll know that he's not really my cup of tea exactly, but at the same time, he does sing supremely well. Rather too well I felt, actually, because he devoted rather too much time to kind of rather clever vocal trickery and so forth, but it went down very well, and when he sings seriously, he sings particularly well. He seems like an unpretentious man, and it was a most enjoyable show, and I was rather sad when it was over in fact, although I never stay for encores. I think encores are a complete waste of time, frankly: I'm not an encores man at all, never have been.
But as I say, last week I went to see Billy Joel at Wembley Arena, and he was utterly horrible: it was one of the most awful things I've ever been to in my life. I was enraged right from the start by the activities of gangs of American tourists outside, who put me in the wrong mood to start with: their sort of arrogance and waving gold credit cards around under the impression that this would gain them immediate access, probably to my seat. Once we got inside, he was terribly kind of twee and cute, and he was complaining about the amount of security that was there, and there were just three people in front of the stage keeping the audience at bay, as it were, and he was moaning on about this as though it was some kind of manifestation of everything that was wrong in Britain, that he had to have these three security blokes. Now you know, if he does a concert in somewhere like New York, he's probably got about 200 armed men between him and the spectators, and frankly, if I was one of the spectators, he'd need to have them there between me and him.")
(JP: "Of course, at one time it would've been impossible to play records by this ensemble on the radio because their name is a commercial product. The Vaselines, and I have to confess it's a better name than it is a record, having heard it again: I'm not entirely convinced by that. My favourite band, actually, who gave a commercial product their name (or vice versa) was a band from Brighton a few years ago called the Lillettes.")
(JP: "Fairly popular record on Peel programme shock!")


  • Peel 065
  • 00:46:05
  • Many thanks to Dirk.