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Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. In the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 569,700 (mid-2015 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000. (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel


In music, Peel's best-known Sheffield link is probably his early support for Pulp, whose schoolboy singer Jarvis Cocker pressed a demo cassette on the DJ at a John Peel Roadshow event in 1981, leading to the first of four sessions over the next 20 years. At the other end of the spectrum, youthful metal hopefuls Def Leppard were another band given their first national radio exposure after a Peel gig in the city.

The biggest star to emerge from Sheffield in the 1960s was Joe Cocker, who did three sessions for Top Gear before becoming internationally famous. One of the busiest session guitarists of the 1970s, Chris Spedding, went to school in Sheffield and began his performing career with local band The Vulcans. He appeared on Peel sessions by the Battered Ornaments, Nucleus, John Cale and Roy Harper as well as recording two under his own name, in 1972 and 1977.

In the post-punk years, Sheffield gained a reputation as a hotbed of electronic music, as recalled in the documentary Made In Sheffield: The Birth Of Electronic Pop, which featured bands played by Peel such as Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Human League, Heaven 17 and Vice Versa (who evolved into ABC). In the film, the DJ cited Artery as his favourite outfit from the city during this period.

Subsequently, Sheffield was the birthplace of Warp Records, the influential electronic dance label whose roster came to include (non-local) Peel session artists such as Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, and LFO.[1] In June 1998, the opening night of the Meltdown festival curated by Peel was a Warp label live special featuring Autechre, Broadcast, Plaid and Plone.[2] (The label relocated to London in 2000.)

Among students in the city, Dandelion label folkie Bridget St. John gave her first first public performances locally while attending Sheffield University.[2] One later mature student at Sheffield Polytechnic (and thereafter manager of the city’s Anvil Cinema) was Dave Godin,[3] renowned soul music enthusiast and compiler of the celebrated “Deep Soul Treasures” CD series much played by Peel in the 1990s and beyond.[4] Subsequently, Peel's son (and future BBC Radio 6 Music DJ) Tom Ravenscroft studied at Sheffield Hallam University.[5] In 1999, Peel himself received an honorary doctorate from SHU.[6][7]

In the world of football, Sheffield is the home of Hillsborough stadium, the site of the disaster that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans in 1989. Devoted LFC supporter Peel wasn't at the ground for the match that day but was deeply affected by the tragedy.

Session Artists

The following artists from the Sheffield area recorded Peel sessions:

Festive Fifty

The following Sheffield artists had Festive Fifty entries:


The following tracks by artists from the Sheffield area were chosen by Peel in his selections for each year of the 20th century:

Sheffield Compilations

1st 15

(EP - 1980: The First Fifteen Minutes) Neutron


(LP - Bouquet Of Steel), Aardvark

Shows Mentioned

  • 22 March 2001 (Radio Eins): "Last week I was up in Sheffield, because that's where my son Tom is at university. And he recommended a record shop to me that I'd never been into before, although it was quite close to an Indian, no not and Indian, and African restaurant, that I've been in once, which was utterly wonderful, but I went along to this record shop on Tom's recommendation, and I'd been in there about quarter an hour, and a fella came over and said, "do you recognise me?" and of course I said, " well I don't think I do" and it turned out to be a fella called Barry Everard, and Barry came to my wife and I's wedding, twenty and how many years ago it was, and I hadn't seen him since then. He'd been running this record shop all of this time, and it was an excellent record shop, it has to be said. And one of the members of his staff, hang on wait until I make sure I play the right track - has made a CD under the name of I Monster, called These Are Our Children. And from it, a track called French Mods Can't Drink. And as to the veracity of that statement, I can't possibly comment."

See Also



  1. The label's first release was by the Forgemasters, who took their name from a Sheffield engineering firm. Early Warp releases played by Peel included tracks from Sweet Exorcist, featuring Richard H. Kirk of Sheffield legends Cabaret Voltaire. Local session artists on Warp included Black Dog, whose split led to the formation of Plaid.
  2. The Warp night was on 1998-06-20 (Independent newspaper review).[1] Selections were broadcast on Peel's show of 30 June 1998.
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