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John Peel Dies

Old 26th Oct 2004, 13:11
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Unhappy John Peel Dies

RIP John

Legendary radio DJ John Peel dies

John Peel was one of the UK's most-loved broadcasters
Veteran BBC broadcaster John Peel has died at the age of 65, while on holiday in Peru.
Peel, whose radio career spanned 40 years, was on a working holiday in the resort of Cuzco with his wife Sheila when he suffered a heart attack.

He was BBC Radio 1's longest-serving DJ and in recent years had also presented Home Truths on Radio 4.

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said Peel's contribution to modern music and culture was "immeasurable".
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 13:29
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I know none of this is military related, but I do own several "Peel session" CDs of great bands who played on Peel's radio program...

During the early years of BBC Radio 1 (1967-), the broadcasting of music in the UK was governed by an arcane Musicians' Union rule, 'needletime', which prescribed the amount of recorded music that radio stations were allowed to transmit. Only able to play a limited number of records per day, the Corporation's new pop station was desperately in need of live music to fill its airtime, so many of its programmes, including Peel's, had to include some kind of 'live' performance recorded by the BBC.

'Needletime' has since been abolished, but the tradition of live sessions on Radio 1 is still going strong; most famous of these are the Peel sessions. Bands are invited to spend a day recording at the BBC's Maida Vale studios with a BBC producer/engineer. The resulting session is broadcast a few weeks later on John Peel's Radio 1 programme.

Many of the bands who have been invited to record sessions for Peel have gone on to become rich, bloated and famous, but a far greater number haven't. Peel's keen ear for originality coupled with the fact that as a public service broadcaster he is in a position to feature bands on the radio without regard to their popularity or prospects for commercial success mean that a Peel session often gives exposure to unique bands and musicians who otherwise would not get to be heard.

The enthusiasm and inclusiveness of Peel's programme represents the antithesis of playlist committee radio, and is glaringly at odds with the conservative music policy of daytime Radio 1. With the encroaching homogeneity of big-business music, radio playlist policy dominated by commercial interests, and in the absence of a truly adventurous music press, Peel's is one of the few programmes where you can discover music which sounds like nothing you have heard before.

Sorry to see him go, may he rest in rock & roll heaven...

Cheers! M2
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 13:53
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On a military note - was under the impression that John Peel DJd for BFBS (was SSVC back then!) at some stage as well.

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Old 26th Oct 2004, 14:20
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About 40 years ago, the biggest revolution in radio ever to hit the UK happened when the off-shore 'pop pirates' started broadcasting - until they were banned under Wislon's Labour. Argueably the best was Radio London ('Big L') on 266 metres MW. John Peel started his UK career on Big L - and a whole host of music personalities owe a great deal to the exposure he brought them.

Down in the West Country I could just about pick up Radio London in 1965 - with 70 ft of aerial wire draped across the garden plugged into my 'transistor radio' with the 'wave change' lever attached to an external earth. Great days!

Tenuous link - a USAF F-100 pilot once bailed out near the ships and it was the tender which served Radio London which picked him up.

Radio London was sited at N51:47.9 E001:20.55 in a disused US minesweeper 3.5 miles from Frinton just outside the '3 mile limit'.

Last edited by BEagle; 26th Oct 2004 at 14:47.
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 14:31
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You are correct, according to his BBC bio , Peel, "after completing his military service in Britain in 1962, went to Texas and began working for WRR radio in Dallas..."

Good catch!

Cheers! M2
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 15:30
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Cheerio Peeley !

I never met the guy but I used to love his "Home Truths" on Radio 4. A very entertaining guy, I hope they do the decent thing and play something inappropriate at his funeral, I think he would have liked it.

Didn't he screw Germaine Greer at one point ?

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Old 26th Oct 2004, 15:41
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Yup - he claimed to have got that stat!
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 15:54
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You just brought back a couple of tremendous memories for me. The first is Big L - never been equalled. The second was flying out of Wattisham in the mighty F4 to buzz the pirate ships and maybe even get a mention. Big L had gone then, but Caroline was still broadcasting.

John Peel will be missed. Rest in peace.
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 16:32
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Hail and farewell John Peel. A great bloke.
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 17:37
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What a guy. Who else could have conquered Radio 1 and Radio 4 simutaneously and in such a self-effacing way? His youthful outlook belied his age, which makes his death all the more shocking. I'll particularly miss him on Home Truths, the antidote to tabloid journalism.
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 19:57
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A sad day, the world is a better place having had him in it.

(and he put "Here's Where the Story Ends" by The Sundays at the top of his Festive Fifty)
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 21:07
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John Peel was an ex RA gunner, so this thread is not unauthorised.
His "Home Truths" show on Saturdays will be much missed by myself.
I remember listening one Saturday whilst on my way to Yeovilton FAA museum with the boys. John announced that after an extensive survey of middle aged men in England, that what they desired the most was a garden shed. I laughed ......... but how true!
Radio wont be the same without you John.
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Old 26th Oct 2004, 21:31
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I'd have never heard of the 3 Mustaphas 3, or many of the other acts I took on tape to my crew tent (someone had better tell BEagle what one of those is ) in what-is-now-called-GW1 but was known to us as Op Jena - were it not for Mr Peel. Internet radio here in Kuwait is a much poorer place tonight. Very sad.
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Old 27th Oct 2004, 12:25
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Didn't he screw Germaine Greer at one point ?
But with characteristic self-deprecating humour, he also said about the incident:
She was sleeping with everybody famous at the time ... and I had to get the night after George Best!!
What a top bloke! He was writing his autobiog, hope we see published what he wrote so far......
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Old 27th Oct 2004, 12:34
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Well, John Peel and Kenny Everett will be DJ'ing away on Radio Heaven - with a top line up of guest celebs. Elvis Presley, Marc Bolan......

But I suspect Keith Moon will be over on the other channel...

maxburner, the 'real' pirates had gone by your Wattisham time. Even Radio Nordsee International had by then - leaving, as you say, Radio Caroline. But not the original I-love-Caroline-on-199 though.

'twas indeed "Smooth sailing with the highly successful sound of Wonderful Radio London" back in the late '60s.

Thanks, John!
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Old 27th Oct 2004, 13:50
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Do you ken John Peel?

One of his many strengths was that a lot of his audience felt they did, because there was none of the normal schmooze and c***p that one expects from a DJ. You knew it was coming from his heart.

An obit today mentioned that he championed, amongst many, Principle Edward's Magic Theatre. Hell, I had forgotten about that band for 20+ years! He profferred the offbeat, he challenged the status quo, he showed consummate humility. What more can one ask from a broadcaster?


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Old 28th Oct 2004, 06:13
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He also had a regular slot on the BBC World Service, on FM relay in Oz.

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Old 31st Oct 2004, 20:24
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JP lived at Gt Finborough, near Stowmarket, almost within earshot of Wattisham. The press, radio and TV have given him an excellent coverage locally, and truly deserved too.

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