Record Mirror was a British weekly music newspaper, published between 1954 and 1991. It became popular in the 1960s, featuring colour pictures and full UK and US singles chart listings, and was one of the four leading music weeklies of the '60s, alongside New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Disc & Music Echo. Later Record Mirror went through a number of relaunches and changes of ownership before closing in 1991.

Links to Peel

Writers with Peel connections who worked for the paper included Tony Hall [1]and Charlie Gillett. Peel himself never wrote for the paper, but was interviewed for it in 1974[2] and in 1986 (see link below).

His name appeared fairly regularly in Record Mirror's pages, with (as in Melody Maker) frequent mentions in 1968, when he became a fashionable figure. However, RM catered for a variety of audiences, not just those whose tastes were formed by listening to Peel's shows. Because of this, he usually featured in its best DJ poll listings but was rarely the winner, and, as can be seen below, some of the articles, artist interviews and listeners' letters which referred to Peel were critical of him.

Peel mentioned

JP Best DJ in RM 1979 Poll published 1980-01-12 c
  • September 23:: "Bill Harry's Pop Talk"; "...John Peel's 'The Perfumed Garden' to be presented at Tiles each Sunday..."[4]
  • November 18:: Results of 1967 readers' poll. Peel sixth in Top DJ listing with 384 votes - winner is Jimmy Savile, followed by Simon Dee and Tony Blackburn. Perfumed Garden fifth in TV or Radio Show list (433 votes).[5]
  • December 30: "Captain Beefheart To Tour In January"; "The sensational Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band are coming to Britain on January 13.....Although Beefheart's "Safe As Milk" album has not yet been issued, he has been described by DJ John Peel as "...Incredible. The most fantastic West Coast act I've seen"". [6]


  • January 20: "Your Page" - readers' letters. "BBC Disc Ration"; "As a part-time DJ of some ten years' standing, I never cease to be amaned by the shattering inaccuracy of our so-called broadcasting "professionals". Of the current crop, only two seem to have any idea what they are enthusing about - John Peel (an expert in a limited field) and Alan Dell, who deals only with "class" music and is therefore in a league of his own. ..."[7]
  • January 27: "Your Page" - readers' letters. "Demand for Peel"; "This is a vitally urgent notice to all true believers in the PERFUMED GARDEN. Radio Luxembourg is planning to radically change its format, and to introduice new DJs..... (Urges readers to write to Radio Luxembourg demanding that Peel be given a regular spot on the station)[8]
  • March 2: "John Peel is to introduce a new kind of late-late show on Radios 1 and 2 from midnight on March 6. The programme is to include pop, folk, jazz, classical music and poetry reading.."[9]
  • March 30: "Tyrannosaurus Rex, who appeared with Donovan at the Royal Albert Hall last week, are scheduled to appear in concert with Radio One disc jockey John Peel in the Purcell Room of the Royal Festival Hall. There will be two performances of the programme, entitled "Oak, Ash & Thorn", at 7.30 p.m. on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 13....."[10]
  • May 11: "Your Page" - readers' letters. "Last Thursday mornng, during John Peel's 'Night Ride', folk-singer Al Stewart made reference to a small record company in Bristol who were releasing material by white blues artiste Ian Anderson. I have searched in vain to find further details..." (with reply from Al Stewart).[11]
  • News shorts; "next LP from Fleetwood Mac to be presented in a double-fold sleeve, with lots of pics, and sleevenotes by John Peel...."
  • May 18: "Your Page" - letter disagreeing with reader who argued that West Coast groups should be in the charts: "Would Dave really like to see names like Country Joe & The Fish and Love sandwiched between Engelbert Humperdinck and Cliff Richard?....let's leave Captain Beefheart etc. as a minority taste, where they are at least in the capable hands of John Peel and can be enjoyed by aware people....."[12]
  • June 1 "People talk about Beefheart!" by Norman Jopling. Interview, which ends "I said goodbye to the Captain and his Band after remembering their first British ally Peter Meaden to them (it was Peter who introduced the Band to John Peel who has done so much for them" - Meaden helped to set up Beefheart's visit and even claimed to have "discovered" the band, but of course Peel knew of them long before he did (see Captain Beefheart page for details)[13]
  • July 6 "Your Page" . Letter complaining abouit Top of the Pops - "the same dreary old aritsts singing the same dreary old songs...Why not have a really aware DJ for a change (e.g. John Peel or Rosko) and completely ignore the inane ramblings of Murray, Savile, Freeman, etc.....".[14]
  • July 13 "Your Page" "I am slowly going out of my mind. Why? Because it seems that I am the only person in Great Britain who appreciates the great, dynamic duo Simon & Garfunkel. (Correction, I must add that John Peel also has good taste).... "[15]
  • "Sunbury Jazz Festival" - list of artists appearing at festival on Aug 9, 10,11 - Peel among them.[16]
  • August 3: "BBC Plans for Radio"; "Blinding everyone with figures and statistics last week, Robin Scott outlined the plans for Radio 1 and 2 in their second year beginning in October. ...." Among the many shows listed in the article, "John Peel will present his "Top Gear" and "Night Ride" for the second year.."[17]
  • August 10; "From The Underworld - Underground Groups by Derek Boltwood", mentions many groups who were part of Peel's Top Gear playlists but gained greater recognition in the US and Europe than at home. The writer blames lack of exposure on the BBC for this: "John Peel does give valuable airspace to so-called uncommercial sounds - and strangely enough his programme is one of the most commercial on the radio...". Marc Bolan of Tyrannosaurus Rex remarks that airplay on Peel's show aided the chart success of their single "Deborah".[18]
  • Back page gossip column, "The Face": "Who are the Original Apple Dippers (apart from John Peel)?"[19]
  • August 17: Report on Sunbury Festival. "As Ten Years After was a musical highlight of Saturday evening's entertainment, so was Jethro Tull on Sunday. Known to many via John Peel's efforts, they completely broke-up the fans who wanted more and more...."[20]
  • "The Nice:; Bernstein Is Peeved" (with their version of "America"). "Thanks to programmes like John Peel's "Top Gear" - he recently described them casually as "One of the world's best groups" - and of clubs like the Marquee, The Nice have almost unnoticed become one of the biggest live draws in the country"[21]
  • August 31: Review of Fleetwood Mac LP "Mr. Wonderful": ""What a gorgeous cover, and what delightful sleevenotes by John and Biscuit Peel", said the man in the ankle-length plastic gum boots....." Also quotes from JP's notes, which claim the band "first met in a Scout hut in an apple-dipping rally....."[22]
  • October 12 :"Your Page" - readers' letters: "Peel & Rex" - "Recently I was privileged enough to go and see the one and only John Peel and the incredible Tyrannosaurus Rex. Mr. Peel was one of the nicest people one could wish to meet and Marc and Steve one of the most original groups of our generation...."[23]
  • "From the Underground" - Derek Boltwood discusses the term "Underground"; "Last week John Peel said "I don't know what the Underground is. I'm not part of it." But he did qualify it with "Perhaps it's just an attitude, you can't pin it down." This is where the confusion arises, for John Peel has done more for the underground groups than any other DJ. But he doesn't know what it is...."[24]
  • Back page gossip column, "The Face": "What was John Peel doing sitting on Lee Jackson's lap at The Avenue last week?"[25]
  • November 9: "Who and what makes Radio 1 go on". Article on Keith Skues's book Radio Onederland; The Story of Radio One (Landmark Press) with quotes from DJs: JP; "My first public appearance was at a National Service medical at which I was called upon to prance about lightly in front of four lumpy doctors....."[26]
  • December 7; David Griffiths' review of Cream's farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall includes a mention of "pleasant compering by John Peel", who was "quite comical", expressing his own ideas on who should appear at the Royal Variety Performance.[27]


  • January 4 "Idle Race Beatles Bee Gees Kick?" Interview with Jeffrey (Jeff) Lynne and other Idle Race members. "His own songs - the ideas are culled from the library of newspaper cuttings he holds - have been described as "perceptive" by John Peel and "superb" by Kenny Everett..."[28]
  • David Griffiths reviews Captain Beefheart's LP Strictly Personal; "Here is a suitable moment to say a word of thanks to man-about-the-pop-scene Peter Meaden...The high - and I mean HIGH - esteem in which the Magic Band are held among John Peel and the rest of the underground in-crowd is directly attributable to Peter's enthusiastic efforts.... " (Not quite true; while Meaden did help set up and promote Beefheart's visit to the UK in January 1968, Peel knew about the artist long before that)[29]
  • "'69 Underground Survey" by Derek Boltwood. "John Peel regards "Top Gear" as a forum for good music. And on the whole it is. So what better proof can there be that there is a very large section of the community that is aware, that wants to know about good sounds? Because "Top Gear" is one of the most widely listened-to programmes on Radio 1, and John himself has been voted DJ of the year."[30]
  • April 19 "Tony Stratton-Smith's North American Notebook"; "Every British expatriate is sick about Bernie Andrews's removal from "Top Gear". The guy turns on good and often new sounds; he creates an intensely loyal audience, helped by the low-key honesty of John Peel; they take "Top Gear" to the top of the polls. Then the BBC whack him..."[31]
  • July 12 "Festivals & Pop". Report on Bath Festival of Blues: "The great teeming hordes behaved exceptionally well with the frequent persuasion of John Peel and Mike Quinn...."[32]
  • September 13; Front page article announcing programming changes at Radio 1 in the coming autumn. Peel's Top Gear was to move to Saturday afternoons for a 3-5 pm slot, with Johnnie Walker's show being brought forward from 1-2.55 pm. It was also noted that Peel would lose his Wednesday evening show.[3][33]



  • 10 January "A lot of people must hate me". Interview with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson: "In that respect one play on the Jimmy Young radio programme is worth ten of John Peel's - that is not meant to sound derogatory to John Peel but by a play on Jimmy Young's programme we would probably be reaching millions of people who would never have thought of listening to us and maybe a few would like it...."[34]
  • 31 January John Peel is to visit Denmark shortly to discuss the possibilities of recording some Danish groups on the Dandelion label. "It's time this Anglo-American monopoly was broken up," he said, "there are a lot of bands in Denmark that are equal instrumentally to many English... [35]
  • 21 March: Interview with the Move. Roy Wood: "We would very much like to do a John Peel Show, but we weren't quite his cup of tea before. I think we would be now, but of course we have to prove it. And you can't really appear on theother people's shows, like we might have in the past, because then John Peel wouldn't want to know."[36]
  • 16 May: Interview with Noel Edmonds; "Now at the age of 21, he has just joined the BBC as their youngest DJ...."Blackburn is predictable and so are most of the deejays, with the possible exception of Everett and Peel.....I hate the music that he features, but I admire John Peel," he said with honesty."[37]
  • 25 July: Letter from Coventry DJ Craig Crunchbukkit: - "I prefer the 'heavier' stuff and loathe most soul. John Peel also comes in for a lot of 'stick' because of his lifeless attitude, Yes, he is lifeless, he does mumble, but he knows his stuff and presents perfectly listenable shows for this type of music".[38]
  • 22 August: Letters page, with pictutre of Peel - a reader writes in praise of Johnny Moran's "First Gear" show, broadcast in the Top Gear slot while JP was on holiday and with a rock'n'roll playlist; "And as far as I'm concerned, John Peel can stay on holiday permanently."[39]
  • 29 August: Interview with Stewart "Wooley" Wolstenholme of Barclay James Harvest: "John Peel heard our record "Early Morning" and liked it, so he played it. However, he heard our LP and wasn't bothered with it, although the reviews were good..."[40]


  • 8 January: "Old Lon's Almanac - an improbable look at the year ahead"; "March: Eurovision winner John Lennon replies to chat show celebrity John Peel's accusation that his peace antics are insincere; "peace peace peace peace peace and more peace, you big twit!""[41]
  • 20 February: "Mirrorpick/LPs" - reviews (p.19): SIREN "Strange Locomotion" (Dandelion DAN 8001); PRINCIPAL EDWARDS MAGIC THEATRE - "The Asmoto Running Band" (Dandelion DAN 8002); STACKWADDY - "StackWaddy" (Dandelion DAN 8003); THE WAY WE LIVE - "The Way We Live" (Dandelion DAN 8004). "John Peel's relaunched Dandelion label will, hopefully, receive more attention than of late. The initial release batch of four are of a higher standard than previous Dandelion product with The Way We Live being the outstanding offering...."[42]
  • 17 April: Marc Bolan interviewed by Keith Altham (p.7): "...John Peel rang up to say he was 'beginning to feel like a groupie' and publicist B. P. Fallon said `GodBless' as is his wont and I got a cab in Little Venice and went home."[43]
  • 29 May: Peel placed fourth in paper's "Top Jock Survey" (p.15), benind winner Jimmy Savile, Tony Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis.[44]
  • 5 June: Interview with Colin Earl of Mungo Jerry: "Just at the moment we would be happier if Peel gave us a play because he seems to have ignored us since 'In The Summertime' - we get the impression he doesn't like us anymore..."[45]
  • "Albumscope" - back page ad feature, with LP sleeves and blurbs: Lol Coxhill - Ear of Beholder, DSD 8008. "Lowen Coxhill, busker extraordinary, star of John Peel's recent appearance on 'One Man's Week' (for details, see Peel On TV) and ex -member of Kevin Ayers and the Whole World has come up with a truly remarkable debut solo double album retailing at the price of one. It represents amazing value." (link as above)
  • 24 July (p.11): Interview with Harry Simmonds, manager of Savoy Brown and Chicken Shack, who complains about the club scene and lack of radio exposure: "What we need is 10 John Peel's, 10 Mike Raven's, 10 Rosko's and the hierarchy of the BBC to open their eyes every now and then..."[46]
  • 7 August (p.3); "Inside Straight" - column for soul record collectors, by Tony Cummings: "Someone should mention to John Peel ('the most informed record reviewer' - 'Scene And Heard') that it was the Velvelettes who cut 'Needle In A Haystack'. The Velvelettes were the black girl group used for a time by the late Cyril Davies."[47]
  • 25 September (pp.8-9): "The world of Radio - Number two in a series by Rodney Collins". Long piece on new developments at Radio 1 - interviews with "new" DJs Dave Lee Travis, Dave Eager, Alan Black and Bob Harris ("Bob lists John Peel, Johnnie Walker and Terry Wogan among the bradcasters he most admires") as well as with Douglas Muggeridge and Teddy Warrick.[48]
  • 9 October (p.2): Mirrormail - readers' letters page, headlined "We don't all like John Peel". A teenage reader criticises Radio 1's programming: "...And when we turn on the radio at three o'clock on Saturdays - the peak listening hours - it's that horrible, rubbishy, noisy programme, introduced by that weird DJ, John Peel. In fact no one I've asked likes the programme...We don't all like John Peel music"[49]
  • 9 October (p.7): "Peel gets a Lux spot": "John Peel has joined Radio Luxembourg, strengthening the stations recent step-up on progressive programming. Starting from November 5, Peel will have his own hour-long show every Friday from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. Peel will choose all the material for the programmes and will produce them himself..." (read more at above link)
  • 20 November (p.10): "On The Boxes" - radio listings for the week include mention of JP's "new Radio Luxembourg show every Friday evening (6.30-7.30 pm) called "Stenhousemuir 2, Cowdenbeath 2" and also reminds readers; "Don't forget Stereo Rock BBC Radio 3 every Saturday evening (5.30 to 6.0 pm) introduced by Manfred Mann". [50]
  • 4 December (p.4): "Marc Bolan is also set to appear with a panel of guests on London Weekend's networked television show 'Pop And The Media' which will be screened on December 12. Other artists appearing include Edgar Broughton, John Peel and Tony Palmer, and film clips from `Gimme Shelter' will be shown."[51]
  • 11 March 1972 (p.3): On The Boxes" - radio and TV listings for the week. Peel's Radio Luxembourg show now at 1 a.m. on Friday night/Saturday morning. [52]
  • I April 1972 (p.6): On The Boxes" - radio and TV listings for the week, plus Record Mirror's Top Forty DJs, from the paper's Pop Poll. Peel is fourth, behind winner Jimmy Savile, Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmonds.[53]
  • 13 May 1972 (p.3): "Maybe if you're young enough, from a dreary environment with nothing but a soul destroying future, then maybe you could enjoy a festival like BICKERSHAW". Scathing report by Norman Jopling: "The announcements were the usual pot- pourri of "do- this- do -that" warnings to the punters and Woodstockian announcements, some of which were real bummers...delivered in that studied John Peelian English Doper voice..."[54]
  • 13 May 1972 (p.13): Interview with producer Johnny Beerling, discussing his ideas for Radio 1: " ..John Peel's show for instance is the type of programme to be listened closely to. I don't think it should be poked away in some corner on its own." (link as above)
  • 21 July 1973 (p.6): "Peel Pal: Thirteen-year-old singer/songwriter Maldwyn Pope from Swansea made his first broadcast on John Peel's Top Gear on Tuesday after sending a tape of his music to Peel, who was impressed enough to invite him on the show. Maldwyn has been a musician for two years".[55]
  • 16 February 1974 (p.8): Radio Waves section: 'Beeb bulletin', "Tonight (Thursday) John Peel presents Caravan, Boys of the Lough and Peter Hamill. [...] Horslips, Ralph McTell an Bob Sergeant get into Top Gear on Tuesday." [56]
  • 23 February 1974 (p.8): Radio Waves section: 'Beeb bulletin', "Tonight (Thursday) John Peel has Tangerine Dream, Robin Dransfield and the JSD Band." Bulletin also mentions the line-up for the next Top Gear show, presumably for the following Tuesday.[57]
  • 20 April 1974 (p.8): Radio Waves section: 'Beeb bulletin', "Paul Gambaccini steps in to John Peel's shoes tonight (Thursday) to present Buddy Knox and Joan Armatrading." ([58]; this refers to 1974-04-18, see also 11 April 1974 on Peel's two-week absence).
  • 04 May 1974 (p.5): "Womble problem". News feature on Radio One D.J. and Pop Star Grand Prix to be held at Brands Hatch on Sunday, May 5. Among the Radio One DJs "expected to drive" is 'Hohn Peel' (sic.).[59]
  • 30 August 1975: the "Who, When and Where" section (p.20) carried the news that late night rock was returning to Radio 1 at the end of September - in stereo - and that Peel would be presenting an hour-long rock show from 11 pm until midnight Monday through Friday. The show was to begin on Monday 29 September together with other Radio 1 schedule changes.[60]
  • The issue dated 05 June 1976 (p.10) features an "easy as pie" DJ Quiz, with question 3 regarding John Peel, namely "Who's his (Peel's) fabbest football team?".[4] [61]
  • 1977 Readers' Poll, published in isue dated 12 February 1977 (centrespread): John Peel no.2 in DJ category (after Noel Edmonds), no.3 in Radio Show category (after Noel Edmonds' Breakfast Show and Tom Browne Top 20).[62]
  • 30 September 1978: the News section (p.4) carries further news of Radio 1 schedule changes as from 11 September, including John Peel's show now running from Monday to Thursday only "with a new show between 10 and midnight on Friday featuring live rock and records".[63][5]


  • In the 1979 Readers' Poll, published in issue dated 12 January 1980, Peel won both the Best DJ and Best Radio Show categories. The same issue featured an interview with producer John Walters talking about Peel.[6] It's not clear whether Peel himself was unavailable for the interview or whether he had refused to do it.
  • 1980 Readers' Poll: no.1 DJ of the Year category (no.2 Vance, no.3 Read).[64]
  • Issue dtd. 29 March 1980, p.28: advert for the Members' new single Romance, "It's the greatest single I've ever heard John Peel play".[65]
  • On page 2 of the issue dated 3 January 1981, Record Mirror ran a news item about Peel leaving Radio One to join Capital Radio. In a "lucrative" deal Peel would be given the station's breakfast show slot with four hours of programmes seven days a week. Peel is reported to have said that he new job would give him "security for my wife and family, something I would never have got with Radio 1". Radio 1 Controller Derek Chinnery described the move as "night time robbery".
    Record Mirror 1981-01-03 Peel quits Radio 1 for Capital

    via twitter

    The same page also ran news stories about David Bowie buying his own theatre and a new supergroup involving Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe and members of The Police. Although a casual reader would find them competently written, all three "news" items can be considered as fake[7]. The article may well have been intended as parody or satire; it seems improbable that Derek Chinnery, who according to Peel "disliked me intensely, and took every opportunity to let me know that this was the case"[66],would have been upset at the DJ's departure [8]. Peel's presentation style and playlists had little in common with the pop radio breakfast shows of that time, and he certainly wasn't "an influential voice among... the housewife audience", as the article claims. What's more, the notion that Peel's deal with Capital would involve a tie-up with a clothes manufacturer seems particularly bizarre, given his lifelong indifference to fashion. John Walters firmly denied the Peel to quit Radio 1 story in a brief article in NME dtd. 31-1-1981 (which also previewed the BBC2 Arena documentary "Today Carshalton Beeches....Tomorrow Croydon").[67]
  • 1981 Readers' Poll: no.3 in 'Top DJ' category (after Read & Travis).[68]
  • 1982 Readers' Poll: no.5 in 'Best DJ' category (after Wright, Read, Jensen & Powell).[69]
  • 1984 Readers' Poll: no.4 in Best DJ category (after Wright, Read & Davis although ahead of Powell, Long & Jensen).[70]
  • 1985 Readers' Poll: no.2 in 'Least Offensive DJ' category (after Wright and one place ahead of Long).[71]
  • 1986 Readers' Poll: no.2 in 'Least Worst DJ' category (Long at no.1).[72]
  • 1987 Readers' Poll: no.2 in 'DJ' category (Long still at no.1; all top 4 as previous year).[73]
  • 24 September 1988, p.32 (Indie charts): 'Earlier Peel'. News of new Radio 1 schedule changes, with Peel 'taking over Liz Kershaw's earlier slot', Monday to Wednesday 8.30 -10.30, 'while Nicky Campbell takes over the late night slot'. The Mirror hopes that the changes don't 'cut down too much on the sort of music represented by these pages'.[74]
  • 1988 Readers' Poll: no.4 in 'Best DJ' category (after Mayo, Brooks & Wright).[75] Did not figure in 'Worst DJ' category. Radio 1 top in Best Radio Station category.[76]
  • Issue dated 12 November 1988: in the review of the Wedding Present's album Ukrayinski Vystupy v Johna Peela, contributor Tim Nicholson comments that, "John Peel must be a proud man to have fathered such a crazy notion..".[77]


  1. In the 1960s Tony Hall [1] was known as a Radio Luxembourg DJ and record promotion man, as well as for his influential column in Record Mirror. He worked for Decca Records before going out on his own; his company Tony Hall Enterprises provided Peel with some of the records he played on his 1967-68 shows. He was the only music business figure of the era, apart from Clive Selwood, to be regularly mentioned by Peel on air and in his International Times columns. He was born in 1928 and died in 2019; an obituary is here
  2. 'I'm a pig-headed self-opinionated sort of bloke' in Radio Waves section issue dated June 29, 1974 p.8 (including pic of Peel in the bath). [2]
  3. The new Top Gear Saturday slot began on 27 September 1969. [3]Sunday evening's slot was,as mentioned, replaced by a series of Peter Sarstedt shows, produced by Frances Line (later responsible for Sounds On Sunday and Radio 2's folk shows, before becoming Controller of Radio 2 from 1990-1996) and featuring guests known to Peel listeners, such as Pentangle, Bridget St. John, Al Stewart and the Humblebums.
  4. see Talk page for further info.
  5. This was Tommy Vance's new show. Andy Peebles' new 8-9.50 pm Show also mentioned.
  6. 'Peel Pusher' by James Parade, Record Mirror January 12, 1980. Poll results p.7, Walters interview p.9. source:\Record_Mirror
  7. Bowie's purchase of the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton (a famous left-wing "alternative" venue at the time) never happened and there is no record of the supergroup.
  8. Earlier, both Alan Freeman and Johnnie Walker had left Radio 1 after disagreements with Chinnery over the station's musical policy.


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