JC writes…..

Today is the sixteenth anniversary of the death of John Peel, someone who I don’t think needs any introduction.

Webbie, more than any other blogger, has used the anniversary to commemorate the great man, and he dropped me a note a few weeks back asking if I’d consider posting a guest ICA from him. It’s something I’m proud and honoured to do. Here he is to take you through things….

01. Positive Noise – Love Live Property (16th March 1981)

There are a few great lost bands out there, this Glasgow group being one of those. Formed in 1979, released a few singles and albums, a couple of Peel Sessions but they never quite broke through. This song is from their 2nd session, never released anywhere and should be heard everywhere.

02. Cinerama – Health And Efficiency (13th May 2001)

It is inevitible that I would include some of the obvious suspects in this compilation… When you think Peel Session the name of David Gedge would be one of those first that comes to mind. But as you can see not The Wedding Present but one of his side projects. Don’t know why this particular track, maybe just because when those guitars join in it is such a beautiful noise.

03. Nico – Frozen Warnings (11th February 1971)

Technically this was a Top Gear (the radio programme that was) appearance before it became the John Peel show. It is still a session recording though. There’s something about the pairing of the Harmonium and her voice which makes it more haunting.

04. Culture – Two Sevens Clash (22nd November 1988)

One of the many bands that were Peel favourites. Didn’t know this about the song until recently. From Wikipedia; “[the song]…was based on a prediction by Marcus Garvey, who said there would be chaos on July 7, 1977, when the “sevens” met. With its apocalyptic message, the song created a stir in his Caribbean homeland and many Jamaican businesses and schools shuttered their doors for the day.”

05. Pavement – The Classical (21st August 1997)

Forgot what Mark E. Smith said about the band now… This is a cover version that might be better than the original. Not just because it erases the unfortunate lyrics (there’s an article on The Quietus which addresses that: – I still like to use the greeting “Hey there fuckface” though) But also because Pavement take that raw, slightly chaotic Fall track and make it into a West Coast-California indie sound, which in this case is no bad thing.

06. Cocteau Twins – Peep-Bo (29th August 1984)

Yes another Peel fave. This track has probably been mentioned quite a few times on T(n)VV. Song recorded for the session at the time as Peep-Bo but renamed later as Ivo.

07. The French – The Protons And The Neutrons (20th August 2003)

Included here because is it another that more people should hear. Couldn’t decide between this song or The English Head, another track on that session, Peelie made the decision with his comment after playing the tune.

The French was formed by Darren Hayman, an offshoot from the band Hefner. Like with Mr Gedge above, Haymen is one of the most prolific songwriters out there.

08. Box Of Toys – When Daylight Is Over (Sunset) (24th April 1983)

In the early 1980’s I lived in Liverpool. It was only a few years but what a time to be there. Nearly every pub, club and especially youth centre you walked past you could hear music from a band performing. A couple of years ago on the Keeping It Peel Website I’ve compiled some podcasts which in truth are actually mixtapes.

One of these pods/mixes was a labour of love. It looked at and tracked down some of those Liverpool bands played by Peel. It was via this project that I rediscovered a band I saw all those years ago. Another lost band which should have had more attention.

09. PJ Harvey – Rid Of Me (1st May 1992)

Another obvious favourite with possibly an obvious song selection, but this one, not a Peel Session in the strictest sense but included because it was performed live. In front of Peel, in his Radio 1 studio in London.

10. Half Man Half Biscuit – Mars Ultras, You’ll Never Make The Station (2nd June 1992)

Couldn’t decide between this and 24 Hour Garage People. Flipped a coin and the song with power drill accompaniment won.

11. Sophisticated Boom Boom – Surrender To Me (28th October 1981)

Yet another lost band. Named after a song by The Shangri-las. This all-girl band from Glasgow were more prolific with Peel Sessions (three) than vinyl releases (none). After they split up formed a new band called His Latest Flame, named after a song by Del Shannon.

12. Melys – Chinese Whispers (20th December 2001)

John Peel, along with TheRobster and his blog Is This The Life? has educated me about Welsh music. There are the familiar names such as SFA, Gorkys, Manics, but there are many others which should get more air time.

Melys are another group that should be as well know as the above. The band recently peformed live at home via Facebook and I asked them which of their many Peel Sessions was their favourite. All of them said their live performance at Peel Acres, which yes, yet again not *technically* a Peel Session but…

13. The Fall – Blindness (7th October 2004)

Taken from the repeat airing of the session. Not the last time he played The Fall but the last time he played this track. As Peelie says at the end; “There’s never been anything like this and there never will be again.”

14. The Rudies – (Top Gear) Session – 23rd November 1970

(Moon Bug / You Make Me So Very Happy / Patches / Oh Me Oh My)

This is a session that it is impossible to select just one of the songs. The entire thing is just perfection, every track is perfection.

15. Shellac – The End Of Radio (Maida Vale 2nd December 2004)

In what was scheduled to be a session to be recorded for John Peel, instead performed live as a tribute.



  1. Of all the wonderful contributors to this blog, I have to admit to being especially happy to see Webbie pop up on this day of all days. Great work mate. I have fond memories to contributing Peel podcasts on my old site to commemorate your John Peel Day project. I subsequently reposted them on Is This The Life? and I’ve decided to revive them for today with new links to the files. If anyone is interested:

    Keeping It Peel #1:

    Keeping It Peel #2:

    Plus, as a special bonus: John Peel’s Welsh Sessions:

  2. I’ve left comments but they aren’t appearing for some reason. So basically, I was going to link to things I wrote for Peel over at my place. I wrote them for Webbie’s own brilliant #keepingitpeel project. Drop by if you’re interested as I’ve re-upped the podcast files I made for them.

    Top stuff Webbie, always a delight to read your musings!

  3. Positive Noise – great stuff. Not on any of the endless compilations about the era? Now reading about them find that it’s Ross Middleton. Always rated Love Cascade – good to see where it was before. Looking forward to listening to the rest of the ICA.

  4. A brilliant ICA, Webbie, and an eclectic mix as befits the legendary DJ & show that inspired it. I’m especially pleased to see Culture and Melys featured, as well as some obvious favourites and several bands that I missed first time around and look forward to discovering. A great way to finish the weekend!

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