and another very moving thoughtIt would be absolutely impossible to write a history of the last 40 years of the British music scene without mentioning John Peel's name. He was one of those few people about whom you could truly say that the world would have been a much different place without him.
For many years he almost single-handedly championed new & challenging music in the U.K. Through his radio sessions he allowed unknown & unsigned bands to be heard for the first time. Through his work with the BBC World Service he brought some of those same bands to a Worldwide audience. On the few occasions I was fortunate enough to meet him I found him to be a witty but quite shy man who was completely unimpressed by the "razzmatazz" of the music industry but who could instantly lay his hands on any obscure single you could mention hearing on his show whilst in your teens.
My teens were when Peel was most important to me I guess: the local radio stations wouldn't play any "Punk Rock" cos they thought it "wasn't music". One night in frustration I started tuning the dial & suddenly - Bang! - there it was; I caught the end of an Elvis Costello track, heard the dry, slightly droney voice that followed & I was hooked. A whole new world opened up - stuff that you would never get to hear anywhere else. & it was fun! It wasn't dry & academic - the monologues that invariably followed each song were often as entertaining as the tracks themselves (sometimes more so).
In a world that is becoming ever more homogenised & pre-programmed John Peel stuck up for the "sore thumbs" of the music scene & I really can't think of anyone who could have done it better or who's going to do it now he's gone. I will miss him greatly & my utmost sympathy goes out to his friends & family.
Very, very sad. A true light has gone out. Thousands of bands got heard because of John, thousands now never will.