Today (25th October) is the annual John Peel day. The Heswall-born DJ is one of greatest who ever lived, who strived hard to give a platform to the world’s best, weirdest, and most wonderful artists. We could write pages and pages on how important he was, but you know all this already. And, besides, he wouldn’t want the fuss.

John left the world in 2004, but he’ll never be forgotten. To celebrate this year’s John Peel Day, we’ve collated clips from seven of our favourite Peel sessions from his radio show – give them a spin today and remember the man who opened millions of pairs of ears to the wonders of music in all its strange, beautiful forms.

UPDATE: A kind Peel fan has collected all the songs in his ‘Festive 50’s together in the form of YouTube tracks. Shuffle through ’em here: http://peelplayer.com/

JOY DIVISION

The 80s post-punk band made some of their finest recordings as part of their two Peel sessions, including this classic version of their most well-known tune.

THE FALL

Peel’s favourite band, The Fall did approximately 8033590 sessions for him (24, actually), all of which were typically Fall: anarchic, articulate, and brilliant.

PULP

The Britpop heroes visited the DJ a number of times back when they were active, and their Peel take on ‘Underwear’ remains a hardcore fan favourite.

THE WHITE STRIPES

Peel enjoyed a close relationship with the band, and was one of the first radio DJs to support the duo back when they were just a couple of geeky blues obsessives from Detroit. Their loose, scuzzy Peel versions remain their very best.

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT

The legendary Wirral band visited Peel towers a number of times – twelve, in fact, committing many of their classic recordings to tape in the process. Some are even better than the studio versions.

PJ HARVEY

Back when she wasn’t a Mercury winner, Harvey was a good friend of Peel’s family. Her superb sessions over the years, which have been collated and released in their own right, are Harvey at her most stunning.

LIGHTNING BOLT

Aside from the more mainstream acts, Peel also championed bands who’d never get Radio 1 play in a million years. Intense, fuzzy noise-rock duo Lightning Bolt were just one example in hundreds.

  • David S

    John got me through those angst – ridden teenage years. He was more of a mate than a voice on the radio… Looking up at my record collection, it’s amazing how many of them were bought from Probe after hearing them on his programme.

  • NT

    John opened my world up to some incredible new sounds and he shaped how I listened to the world. He’d have hated all the attention, but tough luck Mr Peel: you changed people’s lives whether you liked it or not.

  • N/A

    I think the Syd Barrett session was pretty classic and important, too.

  • Davy

    The Orb sessions were pretty special.
    Anyone remember Electro Hippies? They were amazing.