Pete on John Peel

L. Bird pkeets at
Fri Dec 3 15:45:11 CST 2004

Repost from TheShout:

("Mojo" Dec.2004)

Pete Townshend:
"John Peel is irreplaceable. I hope to heaven someone tries to do what he 
did. Without someone listening to all those CDs and vinyls slipping out of 
the in Tray at the BBC so much great music and fresh talent is going to be 
lost. He tried to listen to everything, that was what made him so great. He 
often played music I'm not sure he cared that much FOR, but he always cared 
ABOUT what was played and who was behind it. For example, he sometimes 
played The Who in the early days, but I'm not sure he was a fan.
His reason for playing music wasn't always that he exalted it - he was a 
beneficent and avuncular man, a supporter of those who could do what he 
could not. His serenity and laconic detachment covered up his incredible 
enthusiasm for new music. He didn't get caught up in fashion trends, and yet 
- as someone who rarely played established music unless he really did love 
it - by concentrating on the new and sometimes the dangerously new-fangled, 
he often led fashion and created New Waves.
Radio is changing so fast. How is it that John Peel still seemed comfortable 
whenever he was on air? Like Alistair Cooke, The Archers and Desert Island 
Discs, he seemed to be designed as a true radio icon, to survive all of the 
engulfing waves of modern changing world. I was good friend with his old 
producer John Walters who worked with Moony on a comedy show. We often spoke 
about what was the special magic of the BBC radio system. We agreed, I 
think, that it was quite simply that when it found something good it 
generally continued to uphold and nurture it. That is, whether the ratings 
were high or low.
We are left to mourn as only we know how. You know the playlist: if there is 
a record in his Top 100 you don't own then go out and buy it, and send an 
email to his family telling them how much you too will miss the old bugger. 
He called himself boring. He bored into our hearts."

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