Ok, so it’s 10 years today since John Peel died. I don’t think I can let that pass without comment.
It’s rare when I hear about someone famous passing on that I feel anything other than indifference. But when Peelie shuffled off this mortal coil, I felt cold. A veritable shiver. The light that would never go out, had.
I’d love to be able to relate some story now about how I met the Great Man and how it changed my life, but I don’t have one, because I never did. But here’s two things:
Once, not long before he died, he asked on his show who it was that did a song that mentioned Brian Rix’s trousers. In his usual slightly befuddled manner, he’d forgotten, and when you have as many tunes rattling around in your head as he did, one’s bound to fall out every now and then. I emailed him (as did many others) and he thanked me (and many others) on air for doing so. This is the song:
Ok so that’s not a great claim to fame. I don’t have anything better than that. But in 1989 I went to the Reading Festival, and on the Saturday John was acting as compere. I remember him reading the football scores out, but insisting on starting with the Scottish results, because they usually get left till the end and nobody really pays attention to them. And this strikes me as being a metaphor for his life’s work: bringing the previously unheard to the attention of the masses.
Yes he played a lot of tosh I wasn’t interested in (I’m looking at you, Bhundu Boys) but for every 10 songs he played, you got at least 2 or 3 that you’d never heard before and wanted to hear some more of.
I could make a really long list of the bands I first heard via Mr Peel. I won’t, but here’s some of them. My life is richer for having them, and the stuff I consequently checked out, in there. Cheers, John!
Colorblind James Experience – Considering a Move to Memphis Go buy it here: Memphis
And any Peel tribute wouldn’t be complete without this:
Links all repaired. Or done properly, if you prefer.