John Peel: The Legend of British Broadcasting
It has been eleven years since the death of the legendary British radio host and disc jockey John Peale, but so far no one has been able to compare with such a talent.
To this day, everyone really lacks Peel’s constant curiosity, his authoritative point of view, and sweet quirks. John Peel, who died in October 2004, shaped the tastes of several generations of fans of good music.
He showed the world the hippies who listened to his program, The Perfumed Garden, broadcast from midnight to two in the morning during the Love Summer at the pirate station Radio London. To the psychedelic sounds of love, Peel watched in California how great new bands were emerging, such as the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and others.
Listeners followed him on “BBC Radio 1”, where he became one of the co-hosts of “Top Gear”, and for several years aired Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Led Zeppelin, one of the greatest musical events in the UK of all time. . By the early 1970s, along with producers Bernie Andrews and John Walters, Peel recorded and broadcast Roxy Music, Queen and The Wailers, while still calming the Union of Musicians, giving its members extra work and creating a valuable archive for future generations, in where they can dig around in search of lost records.
But the real changes took place in the spring of 1976, when the presenter purchased an imported copy of the debut album of the same name The Ramones and contributed to the activation of the punk revolution. For several months, the program got The Damned, but at the same time, to his deep regret, the spirit of the former teacher, who still lived in Waltors, did not allow trusting the rebels from Sex Pistols enough to invite them to the BBC studio.
Despite this, Peel willingly aired their single “Anarchy In The UK”, as well as their album “Never Mind The Bollocks”. After traditional listeners left him, the younger generation enjoyed his show from ten until midnight. The Clash band abandoned the air for technical reasons, and in the rest of the session, Peel’s playlists from 1977 defined who’s who among British punk and post-punk bands such as The Stranglers, The Jam and Buzzcocks, Siouxsie and the Banshees , The Cure and Joy Division.
Of course, the radio stations were worried when at one time alternative artists such as Gary Newman, Adam and The Ants and The Human League broke into the charts. “The late seventies were the only time the program was popular,” Peel said. “I really didn’t like the state of things. I believe that performers should feel growing popularity, understand that from now on the audience wants something specific from them, often something that they themselves are not happy with.”
The DJ was in a similar situation before, when Mark Bolan, Elton John and Rod Stewart, reaching unprecedented heights, forgot him and the role that he played in their breakthrough in the late 1970s. He also distanced himself from his favorites The Fall, The Undertones, New Order and The Smiths, who did so much for 1980s alternative, DIY and indie music.
Peel had already staged reggae, world music and hip hop, and would have continued with techno, drum and bass and The White Stripes. However, he always claimed: “I do not advance certain directions. Punk dominated only because at that time there was nothing more interesting, at least interesting for me. But after the initial admiration had passed, I returned to my original ways to study various musical directions and search for their best manifestations, be it rock, folk, reggae. ”
It was this enthusiasm, combined with the deep meaning of musical genres and a sense of humor, that made Saw so popular for decades. That’s why teens did covers and sent their demos. Pulp, The Wedding Present and Mogwai did not aim to conquer the charts or determine the future of rock music, they just wanted to get into John Peel’s program.
His death on October 25, 2004 during a vacation in Peru deprived Great Britain and the whole world of one of the most influential music radio hosts, although at the same time she saved Peel from retrospective audits that brought many of his former colleagues to the courts. “BBC Radio 1” all day cleared the broadcast in memory, but never really tried to find a replacement for it, trying to switch to the younger generation.
In 2002, the BBC Corporation launched the BBC 6 Music station, positioned as the next “Saw Face”, while the BBC 1Xtra radio station, founded in the same year, aimed at urban music. Nevertheless, despite the variety of music broadcast by these stations along with BBC Radio 2, the British commercial sector and Internet radio, everyone really lacks Peel’s constant curiosity, his authoritative point of view and his pretty quirks. Where else would you hear Scottish poet Ivor Cutler, two singles from the forgotten Tours pop group or the early 1980s pop sensation Sheen Easton?