has been part of my soundtrack since I first listened to him back in the mid-sixties presenting Perfumed Garden which was broadcast from the pirate radio station, Radio London, moored off the Essex coast.
He was like a brother, turning us on to the latest sounds not to be found down at the local record shop. There was a sense that his choice of music was good for you. He played what he liked and not what the record companies were trying to sell. We didn't always like his choice but we could always expect to have our ears opened. He was a friend
alike to musicians, see below, and fans.
All we have now are the memories
; the soundtrack he gave us need not be one of nostalgia. We can continue to explore the musical avenues and by ways he signposted for us.
There is nothing I can say which will ease the sense of loss. This is the hardest post I've ever tried to write. We'll miss you, John. I hope you enjoy the celestial choirs.
improvised lyrics to Moon In June
Soft Machine live session, June 10 1969
I can still remember
The last time we played on Top Gear
And though each little song
Was less than 3 minutes long
Mike squeezed a solo in somehow
And although we like our longer tunes
It seems polite to cut them down
To little bits
They might be hits
Who gives an afterall
Tell me how would you feel
In the place of John Peel
You just can't please all of the musicians
All the time
Playing now is lovely
Here in the BBC
We're free to play almost as long
And as loud
As a jazz group
Or an orchestra on Radio Tree
There are dance halls and theatres
With acoustics worse than here
Not forgetting the extra facilities
Such as the tea machine
Just along the corridor
So to all our mates like Kevin,
Caravan and the old Pink Floyd
Allow me to recommend Top Gear
Despite it's extraordinary name
Yes playing now is lovely
Here in the BBC
We're free to play almost as long and as loud
As the foreign language classes
And that John Cage interview
And the jazz groups
And the orchestras on Radio Three.
Hatfield and The North
There's lots and lots of radio shows
Most of them are boring.
We'd like to recommend to you
A show you've been ignoring.
When you next have company
Folks are dropping round for tea
Relax awhile, tune the dial
John Peel's Top Gear
It's great, never fear.
Turn it on immediately
It's rather wonderful, you'll agree.
spoken intro to Peel session, 1979.
Hello. My name's John Peel and tonight I'll be playing tracks by The Slute, The Slot, The Groan, The Exploding Truss, the Blues Bastards and one from the Geckos ... er ... Hubert and The Pile Zone, The Ear, The Nose, The Throat, The Catterwallies From Hell are here ... er ... and the inevitable Groin.
Er, a couple of tracks by up-and-coming beatnik groups tonight, Frank and the Sandalmen, er, and the Goatees. Er, the Goatees incidentally will have you trading in your parkas and Aran T-shirts for berets and sloppy joes within twelve month I assure you.
So, onto tonight's first guests and they're XTC who, by the way are here to answer all allegations that they're 1979's answer to, the Barron Knights. Well, see what you think ...
I thought John was going to live for as long as we needed him, as long as we needed his sanity, integrity, wit, love of music and love.