It’s over a month until the annual John Peel Day, which celebrates the late DJ and local lad’s achievements not only in radio, but also in British pop culture as a whole. We were going to wait until next month to post this, but it’s so good we just couldn’t sit on it any longer.
Forwarded by an eagle-eyed reader last week, it’s a set on music streaming service Soundcloud consisting of 458 of the Heswall-born DJ’s shows, dating back to 1967 when Peel was at pirate station Radio London, all the way up to his very final BBC episodes in 2004.
We’re not sure who’s behind this – mysterious user ‘+dB’ may be a radio insider or just a Peel completist – but whatever, the fact someone’s taken the time to digitise and upload these is incredible. The John Peel Centre for Creative Arts have been busy uploading Peel’s record collection online, but up til now there’s been no archive of his actual shows.
Hearing John’s voice again is still a little eerie, but it’s also incredibly comforting to know that there’s fans out there set on keeping these shows alive (they’re also all downloadable, so we hope they get shared around).
The scope of music on these shows is still gobsmacking. From fuzzy psychedelic rock to turn-of-the-century gospel music, clanging industrial to pastoral folk, Peel was the most wonderfully eclectic host to ever take to the airwaves. We love hearing how his typically dry, borderline shambolic presenting style was in effect right back in his earliest episodes, too. So take some time out over the next few months to explore these: open your ears, soak up some brilliantly broad sounds, and pay your respects to the greatest DJ who ever lived.
EDIT: Sadly it looks like the web police have struck as the channel is currently down. But you can still access them via Google Cache, luckily. Stream while you can.
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