This is a story of teenage dreams, which, as any Peel fan knows, are hard to beat. Between 1967 and 2004 John Peel picked over 2000 bands to come and record over 4000 sessions to be played on his radio show. Many were young and had never been in a recording studio before, for some it was the start of an illustrious career, for others it was the only recognition their musical talent ever got.
For over 35 years the cream of British musical talent made the journey to the BBC’s studio in Maida Vale, from Pink Floyd to Pulp, the Small Faces to the Smiths. And because John Peel was so respected his sessions took on a legendary status they were a rite of passage that every new band wanted to go through. Unfettered by commerical pressure the Peel Sessions were a unique British institution – an archive of music that reflects one man’s passion for finding and encouraging new music.
Includes a full sessionography listing songs, band members and broadcast dates. Jarvis Cocker writing about his first Peel Session aged 18 (Wayne the drummer was 15): ‘We travelled down to Maida Vale in a van driven by a very strange man we’d contacted via a card pinned to the Virgin record shop noticeboard. We’d had to borrow lots of equipment from a band called The Naughtiest Girl Was a Monitor ’cause we didn’t have enough stuff of our own. The session was to be produced by Dale Griffin, who used to be the drummer in Mott the Hoople; I seem to remember that he was wearing cowboy boots. I think the crisis point came when Wayne was attempting to get a home-made synth-drum to work that a friend of his at school had made out of a rubber burglar-alarm mat and an old electronic calculator – Dale Griffin looked at this 15-year-old kid crouching on the floor bashing what looked like a doormat with some wires coming out of it and just put his head in his hands. But to his credit, the session did get finished and after it, everything else started for me…’
John Peels Record Box – the famous box that he would have taken in the event of a house fire (along with his wife, of course)