Wednesday, October 27th, 2004
The Peel Sessions
I have no John Peel story. I have no anecdote about a defining moment in my life when I heard the band that would alter reality for me on his radio show. In fact, I’ve never listened to his show. It wasn’t an option through the 80s or most of the 90s, and even if it was, I likely wouldn’t have known who he was. His name only started cropping up when I was university and actively broadening my musical horizons, particularly as I began discovering music coming from the UK.
The phrase “John Peel Sessions” became more commonplace as I sought out the more esoteric releases for the bands I was discovering. At first it didn’t even occur to me that it was in reference to a person – I thought it was a studio, or a place, like Maida Vale, a brand name or some sort of industry. It just seemed to be far too ubiquitous and pervasive to be an individual – but I was wrong. It turned out it was all of the above, but more than that, it was one man. A veritable institution who has left a legacy that’s awe-inspiring.
It’s impossible to try and concieve of what the independent and alternative music worlds, even the mainstream, would have looked like without his influence. So no, I have no stories. I only know that it’s impossible to overstate his importance in the history of all music that I hold dear, and now that he’s gone I just want to salute him and thank him and wish him safe journey.
Not surprisingly, tributes have been rolling in from everywhere:
- BBC1 has his official obituary
- NME, The Guardian, XFM and ITV gathered memorials from the artists who likely wouldn’t have had careers without him, whether directly or indirectly
- Chart has assembled on of their usual “Ten Reasons…” obit, but this is one of the rare occasions that only ten seems so inadequate
- The London News also goes the ‘top ten’ route
- Pitchfork puts the snark away to remember the man
- The message board for his radio show has naturally been overflowing with testaments from his listeners
- And there’s just too many more to list – check out the Google News citations for more
The blogosphere has been paying tribute to the man – amongst the following links you’ll find essays, links to songs from his radio show, more articles trying to articulate his importance and his legacy and just some general tributes. Try to take the time to read through some of them if you can.
- Angels Twenty
- Bradley’s Almanac
- Donewaiting (and another)
- Excellent Online
- Information Leafblower
- Largehearted Boy (and again)
- Music (For Robots)
- My Mean Magpie
- Productshop NYC
- The Modern Age
- The Rub
- Tiny Mix Tapes
Thanks to Eugene for sending me this bit of news from the merry land of Gedge, whose Wedding Present and Cinerama projects were both great favourites of Peel. In addition to a tribute to Peel from Dave Gedge, they mention the first Wedding Present single in seven years, Interstate 5, will be coming out in the UK on November 8 to be followed by a new album, Take Fountain, in early 2005. The Cinerama DVD Get Up And Go will also be getting a North American release on November 16.
Ask and thou shalt receive – iTunes is coming to Canada in November. I wonder how much tracks will cost?
Sterogum caps off the Ashlee Simpson madness with a brilliant Photoshop contest. You have to see it to appreciate it. Now please God let this be the end of Ashlee Simpson mentions on my site – I’m getting far far far too many references from Google for search strings like “Ashlee Simpson” and “Saturday Night Live”. Not that that last sentence is going to help matters any. Urrrrgggh.
Oh, and I was right yesterday – no one in town had Luna’s Rendezvous.
np – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists / Shake The Sheets