This has hind of snuck up on me despite the sterling efforts of the likes of the Vinyl Villain in recent days.
With nothing planned a few ramblings on the subject of the UK’s most influential DJ.
I first started listening to Peel in the early 80s. My recollection is that in the post punk years there was a lot of monochrome about the Peel show with the shafts of colour only starting to emerge with his interest in African music.
As well as hearing new records, Peel sessions were the main draw – hearing often new material by your favourite acts sometimes in early sketchy form. Sometimes it went horribly wrong, remember the Bunnymen’s 1982 session which included a dreary version of ‘The Back of Love’ and a couple of doodles, but quite often the freedom of the Peel Session produced stunning results, too many to mention.
It’s surprising sometimes not just the bands who did do Peel sessions (Big Country! and it was actually quite good) with those who didn’t, Throwing Muses for example whilst contemporaries the Pixies did several. And of course often the sessions were collected together on albums gaining proper releases.
It was ALWAYS hit or miss with Peel even before the shows became quite as eclectic as they did latterly and I suspect that we all took it for granted even as the show was shunted to later and less frequent timeslots. And it probably took his untimely death to make us realise that.
An absolute one-off.