The Importance of John Peel in the Music Industry. | Boraaa: The Importance of John Peel in the Music Industry.

The Importance of John Peel in the Music Industry.


Whilst I am aware that the title of this blog post sounds similar to something that I would have written at University, music fans will understand why this must be written. 

John Peel was a major figure in the music business as his ability to spot acts, and support them, was second to none. That's why he is still looked up to by music lovers and acts alike. With the 10th anniversary of his death this month, and with the recent lecture given by Iggy Pop (listen here), it was only fitting that I write about the impact that John Peel had on the music that we listen to today. 

John Peel was BBC Radio 1's longest serving DJ, who had given 'big breaks' to more bands than anyone in the music industry, including the likes of Pulp, The Smiths, The White Stripes, Nirvana, The Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd and T-Rex, just to name a few. He was known for his broad taste in music, and I mean BROAD, championing alternative music, reggae, hip-hop, drum n' bass, and was one of the first to give punk a chance back in the day. 

Peel had recorded with nearly every notable band on what was known as the 'Peel Sessions,' on his radio show. Some had even recorded these live performances in his home, Peel Acres. 

His achievements however, were not just giving new bands a 'leg-up' in the music business, but he provided the soundtrack for the lives of multiple generations. Peel began broadcasting in the mid 60's, when the hippy era was in full force, and his show, 'The Perfumed Garden' was considered to be 'essential listening.' The playlist included the likes of The Doors, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix, and he even got the first airplay of St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. 

When he joined Radio 1, he was the host of Top Gear, where the producers reportedly wanted him to play pure pop, but instead, Peel showcased his eclectic taste. 

At the end of the 1970's, Peel became a hero for music again, but this time in the punk culture, when he introduced The Sex Pistols. 

He is best known for loving The Undertones and their song, 'Teenage Kicks,' and the band were signed after the Sire label heard the song on Peel's show. He is claimed to saying that he would like the song's line 'our teenage dreams so hard to beat' on his tombstone. 

He also aided the next generation of rock artist's including Joy Division and Pulp. The latter of whom had recorded a session with Peel in 1981 (their first airplay). This was 13 years before they received mainstream acclamation. 

On his roadshows, he took his favourite records and favourite bands with him to night clubs and colleges around the country, typically showcasing unsigned local bands. If he liked them, it is said that he would give them his DJ fee, which undoubtedly annoyed his wife! 

Soon after the Pulp Session, Peel fell in love with The Smiths, because he could not work out who their influences were, something he looked for in a band. He broadcasted their first single 'Hand in Glove' in 1983, but the song had failed to reach the chart. However, over 20 years later, the band are regarded as a seminal British band. 

Peel also gave early sessions to Nirvana (1989) and The White Stripes after he had seen their first CD on import in a record shop and bought it on a hunch! 

This is briefly why John Peel was one of the greatest influences in the music industry and a true hero of mine. 

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