Played by a man who wants you to hear them.’ earned Osborne the prize, and he…, (Universal) His prose could be both astutely insightful and overenthusiastic, sometimes in the same piece. Richard Morton Jack has one of the biggest collections of ‘60s/’70s British music press, and has read much of Peel’s early rock criticism. I’d also take issue with Richard Morton Jack saying Peel “was so focused on helping new artists get a foothold that he simply couldn’t make room for nostalgia or comparisons with acts from previous generations. During the 1980s, Peel wrote a licensed spin-off novel based on the popular 1960s TV series The Avengers, titled Too Many Targets. And as far as radio goes, Peel was still the only person supporting alternative acts. He lives in Long Island, New York. For the next three years, Dandelion put out albums by several underground British acts, gaining distribution from CBS in the UK and Elektra in the US. Zimbabwe group the Four Brothers were a particular favorite of Peel’s, and even played at his fiftieth birthday party. In his review of Quadrophenia for The Listener, for example, he found the Who’s rock opera “as much an advance over Tommy as Tommy was over the earlier (and much briefer) ‘A Quick One, While He’s Away.’ It’s not just the use of synthesizers and sound effects, although their use is telling and tasteful, nor is it the wider dynamic range of the music: what counts is the wider emotional range. As David Cavanagh writes in his excellent survey Goodnight and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life, “Whereas surviving tapes of The Perfumed Garden are a bit like stumbling on recordings of a lost civilization, Peel on Top Gear sounds a lot more like a capable DJ from a world that looks quite similar to our own.”. John Peel's Record Collection. No one benefited more from Peel sessions than T. Rex; there were 38, by David Cavanagh’s count. Front covers were more or less advertorial and that transition to a more independently minded, substantial music press didn’t come about till around 1972/3. Even by 1966, he’d expanded his sphere into promoting bands who’d barely recorded, let alone had hit records. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. You can argue that he was taking advantage of the fact that he was almost above the law. “It was like one of your St. Paul on the road to Damascus experiences, it was stunning,” he remembered in the liner notes to the Misunderstood’s Before the Dream Faded compilation, hailing them as “prophets of a new order” back in 1967 to the Press-Enterprise. Such freedom would have been inconceivable on the BBC, which might have never played any rock album in its entirety, even Sgt. What would have been the point of him playing Marvin Gaye and Smokey? John Peel was an international treasure. Almost fifteen years after the demise of Dandelion Records, old pals Peel and Clive Selwood launched another label, Strange Fruit, that issued nearly a hundred discs in its Peel Sessions series. Record Boxes. With the publication of Timewyrm: Genesys (1991), Peel became the first author to write a full-length Doctor Who novel, featuring the Doctor, not to be based on either a TV or radio script. “By the punk and post punk era” — as described in Houghton’s recent memoir Fried & Justified — “there was a process whereby alternative acts broke as a result of a combination of their singles being reviewed in the weeklies and played by Peel simultaneously. Featured Record. “Peel’s abandonment of artists I was involved with was never a frustration to me or any of the artists because we all accepted this about Peel,” adds Houghton, whose illustrious clients also included the Jesus & Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, and KLF, among others. Been into punk since the 70s. We had decided early on that we would only record acts that needed minimal production.”, In the same book, Selwood shouldered part of the responsibility for Dandelion’s minimal impact. Three hundred of his shows from 1967-2003 are minutely detailed in David Cavanagh’s Good Night and Good Riddance, which weaves in colorful details about Peel’s personal life and the rapidly changing music scene in general.

In gratitude, the Faces put him onstage when they mimed to “Maggie May” on the TV show Top of the Pops, Peel gamely pretending to play the mandolin as the others larked around him. The Bunnymen could be very lazy and hard to motivate. Nick Drake performing “Cello Song” live in BBC studio for a Peel Session: Mick Houghton draws on his own expertise as a Sandy Denny biographer (in his fine book I’ve Always Kept a Unicorn: The Biography of Sandy Denny) with more instances: “There are examples of Peel sessions bettering the finished recording, certainly in terms of rawness and energy and spontaneity.