A music blog from Ireland.
*Edit* I sat down to write about this man on his anniversary again this morning and just checked last year’s post before proceeding. I don’t think I could say it any better this year, so I’m reposting. First published 25/10/10. You can follow the testaments and tributes to John Peel on Twitter via #keepingitpeel.
John Peel passed away six years ago today, yet laments for the undisputed champion of new music continue unabated because he really made a difference.
Someone on Twitter posted the message this morning “listen to some new music today” with the hashtag #keepingitpeel and I just wanted to share that. There’s a feeling lately that everyone has to be first with anything but all this stuff we do with blogs, gigs and enthusiasm was already done long ago by one man who made it his whole life to seek out new music that deserved to be heard on a wider scale. The bloggers’ lists of best albums every year have their roots in the Festive 50s and many DJs, journalists and television presenters making a life out of new music know whose footsteps they follow in. DJ and writer Mary Anne Hobbs had a close relationship with Peel and has said that she wished he was her dad. Like many others, John started off in music with an unpaid job, working as a radio DJ in America but his perseverance and passion led to becoming a stalwart of the BBC and Radio 1 for the rest of his life – 37 years. He was instrumental in lending credit to the creative activities of the English underground scene when music was at a commercial high and he put a huge amount of personal energy into making an inimitable impression on the hearts and minds of young people all over the world. I’m sure you all know his favourite song was Teenage Kicks by Derry band The Undertones – mirroring his ambition to love and learn something new every day.
There are experts out there who can reel off every Irish band ever to appear on his shows but I’m not one of them. Peel was a regular face and voice when I was growing up but like many kids, I took his presence for granted and only after he passed away did I realise how important his contributions to music were. The Peel Sessions were a staple of John’s career and featured recordings from over 2000 artists and Electric Whipcrack shared this link of My Bloody Valentine‘s I Can See It But I Can’t Feel It recorded for the Peel Sessions in 1988. The greatest Irish band of all time, performing for the greatest DJ of all time, it seems apt to repost it again with a twist – dear John, we can’t see you but we feel you.