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John Peel’s Vault

Thursday, May 10, 2012

John Peel, in his archive (Courtesy of the John Peel Centre)

For almost 40 years, the late BBC radio host John Peel spun cutting-edge tracks and launched entire careers with his legendary “Peel Sessions.” Along the way, he amassed an enormous, meticulously organized music collection. Now, artifacts from that collection are finding a home online. Joining us to tell us more about the project are Tom Barker of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, and Peel’s widow, Sheila Ravenscroft.

And, Lee Ranaldo and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth tell us about recording with John Peel for his famous Peel Sessions.

1968's "Save the Last Gherkin for Me" by Mike Absalom bears the number 00001 in Peel's filing system.


Tom Barker and Sheila Ravenscroft

Comments [4] from New Jersey

John Peel influenced many of us who do not live in the UK through his weekly BBC World Service show on the AM and SW bands. Listening to him in Israel in the early 1980s gave me my first tastes of Cabaret Voltaire, the Cure, Manicured Noise, Shoes for Industry, Killing Joke and the Undertones, plus innumerable others. Thanks, John.

May. 13 2012 10:18 PM
nick from white plains

You are underestimating John Peel's influence. Although the sessions were great, aside from this he also broadcast 2h of music multiple nights a week for >35 years, and many young people would hardly listen to anything else. At least as influential as American Bandstand or Soul Train, and probably more so. How else would anyone hear Margot Random and the Space Virgins, or any of the thousands of other bands he played on the air, let alone all the artists who became famous.

May. 10 2012 02:53 PM
John from Williamsburg

My family travelled to Ireland and/or England every year when I was a kid. I was introduced to The Fall thanks to John Peel. They became my favorite band ever. I've never been the same since. It was only when John Peel died that I even knew how much he loved them as well. Sincere thanks Mr. Peel

May. 10 2012 02:28 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

For anyone not from the UK, who has dived through mountains of vinyl through the years or simply through bootlegs. Coming across any artist that did a "John Peel Session" - from a conventional rock band like Smiths to the minimalist techno of Richie Hawtin's Plastikman , meant a legitimate stamp of approval from one of the greatest ears in the history of radio.

May. 10 2012 02:16 PM

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