Naturally, online campaigns protesting against the proposals have sprung up, and one name that has been mentioned repeatedly is that of much-loved and greatly-missed DJ, John Peel, who died suddenly following a heart attack in 2004.
As Phill Jupitus so simply yet perfectly put it, killing off 6 Music would be “an affront to the memory of John Peel.” David Bowie added that “6 Music keeps the spirit of broadcasters like John Peel alive, and for new artists to lose this station would be a great shame.”
Best known for his legendary Peel Sessions, which began in September 1967 and ran for 37 years, John Peel undoubtedly helped launch many a career, often by championing music that others would not play. In a 2002 BBC poll to discover the 100 Greatest Britons, he was even voted 43rd, some recognition for his services at BBC Radio 1 and with pirate radio station, Radio London, before that.
For anyone passionate about music, his Top Gear show on Radio 1 every Tuesday and Thursday night made for essential listening. Due to Musicians’ Union rules, he had to include a sizeable portion of non-recorded music in each programme, and, mercifully, live recordings were preferred to the usual chatter.
There exists a vast archive of Peel Sessions, containing 4,000 in all by more than 2,000 artists; including six by Pink Floyd and many from associated acts such as Roxy Music, Roy Harper and Robert Wyatt. Browse by artist or by year.
And so we return to 6 Music…
If you’d like to hear any Peel Session again, Marc Riley invites listeners to share which session they’d most like him to play – and why.
Everyone can listen to 6 Music online, so what better way to help a station in distress?
If you could, I’d like lots of Peel appreciation, as well as Sessions, today.
My favourite has to be Syd Barrett’s. Accompanied by David with Jerry Shirley on drums, recorded in February 1970 and aired the following month, this was later released on Peel’s Strange Fruit label and is an absolute must for any Syd fan.
Thoughts on 6 Music and the BBC in general are also quite welcome; I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking up other imaginative ways in which the corporation could cut back, rather than by scrapping their only radio station with a genuinely ‘alternative’ playlist and where, in true Peel tradition, new acts can be heard on a daily basis.
By the way, if you missed the John Peel tribute single – a version of the Buzzcocks number, ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)?’, featuring David on rhythm guitar and benefiting Amnesty International – do look/listen out for it.