October 27, 2004 by

John Peel


Categories: Media

jpeel.jpgJohn Peel, a British radio broadcaster and disc jockey, died on Oct. 25 of a heart attack. He was 65.
Born John Robert Parker Ravenscroft in Heswall, Merseyside, England, he completed his required military service as a radar operator in the Royal Artillery, then moved to America. There he adopted the professional name John Peel and worked as a broadcaster at WRR radio in Dallas, KOMA in Oklahoma City and KMEN in San Bernadino, Calif.
Peel returned to Britain in 1967 and launched the show “The Perfumed Garden” on Radio London, a pirate radio station. Six months later, when the station closed down, he switched to the BBC’s brand new pop channel, Radio 1, and established himself as the late night DJ on the show “Top Gear.”
For the next four decades, Peel championed groundbreaking new music and helped expose listeners to punk, reggae and hip-hop artists. Bands from all over the world sent him their demo tapes in hopes of getting exposure on his popular radio program. The songs Peel selected were broadcast in full, without commercial interruption. He also brought bands into the studio to perform live and record exclusive tracks for his show. Known as “The John Peel Sessions,” these songs had a demo-like feel; many were later released on record with the Strange Fruit label.
In 1998, Peel premiered the show “Home Truths” on Radio 4. The eclectic magazine program about family life earned four Sony Radio awards. The British broadcasting legend also received an Order of the British Empire and the Sony Gold, the radio industry’s highest honor. He was inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame in 2003.
Listen to a Tribute Show From BBC Radio
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

4 Responses to John Peel

  1. Andrew

    It’s impossible to pay proper tribute to John Peel in any way succinctly. What a tremendous loss. So obviously a thoroughly decent man. Uncompromisingly honest. Modest; self-deprecating. A subtle but biting wit. A wonderful romantic. And then the music: what an amazing example of just sticking with what you like irrespective of popular opinion. Thank you, John, for the very different pleasure my two-year old son and I each enjoy on weekend mornings when we reel madly around my home office and laugh like crazed lunatics to such unlikely toddler favourites as The Smiths’ “The Queen Is Dead”, The Fall’s “Hey! Luciani”, Pavement’s “Summer Babe”, Sonic Youth’s “Pattern Recognition” and so many more. You enabled that.

  2. Alessandro

    Only 2 tributes to the Greatest John Peel??
    We all have something from Mr. Peel, all our music taste has something from him, personally I wish to thank him for introducing me to all the beautiful music that now is in my collection, thank you John.

  3. Leon Wolfe

    A gentleman genius, who fought for the underdog and played truly inspirational music. The music scene has lost its’ Godfather. Proud to have met him and eternally grateful to have heard his unique radio shows. Peace and love – Leon Wolfe
    Our dedication to him and all his great music can be found at: http://www.psychodoglic.com

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