Festive Fifty
1976 1977 1978 1979
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

From this point on, the Festive Fifty charts became wholly yearly only, with just one more All-Time chart in 1999 (but not broadcast until January 2000).
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Few tears were shed for the all-time chart as listeners voted in a memorable listening in a year when there was so much of quality to choose from. As punk and new wave now faded decently into happy and inspirational memories, their influence thankfully didn't wane and the mid-eighties "indie" scene was now being born with apparently innumerable creative pathways opening up. Indicative of this are the first stirrings of the Smiths and Billy Bragg, the emergence of the Cocteau Twins as a genuinely musical force and generally a great year for Ivo Watt-Russell's 4AD label. While Factory had listed eleven tracks in the 1982 all-time charts, these had all been Joy Division/New Order recordings. 4AD placed ten spread spread across four different acts...Xmal Deutschland became the first band from a non-English speaking nation ever to feature in the Festive Fifty. (Whitby, M., The Festive Fifty, Nevin Publishing, 2005, p. 17.)

This was the first chart in which session tracks had been voted for in sufficient numbers to be placed.

During the final programme, John mentions that another Cocteau Twins track from 'Head Over Heels' made number 51 in the chart, but neglects to say what it was.

Ken Garner's The Peel Sessions states that the final programme featuring the chart was on 02 January 1984. However, Peel's final comments on the recordings below state: "...ending this year's programmes. Rather wonderful to be able to say that, actually. Hope you'll join me in 1984. On Monday night, we're going to be having, not sort of like, reasons to be, unreasonable optimism in 1984, I think. It was going to be fave raves of 1983, but I'm not sure that I shall do that. Anyway, thanks very much for listening tonight...have a good New Year, incidentally."


The Festive Fifty Of 1983

  • 50:
    John Peel's Festive Fifty - 198310:04

    John Peel's Festive Fifty - 1983

    Tom Robinson: 'War Baby (7 inch)' (Panic Records)
  • 49: Cure: 'The Walk (7 inch)' (Fiction)
  • 48: Elvis Costello: 'Shipbuilding (LP-Punch The Clock)' (F-Beat)
  • 47: Strawberry Switchblade: 'Trees And Flowers (7 inch)' (Ninety-Two Happy Customers)
  • 46: Birthday Party: 'Sonny's Burning (12 inch EP-The Bad Seed)' (4AD)
  • 45: New Order: 'The Village (LP-Power, Corruption & Lies)' (Factory)
  • 44: Cabaret Voltaire: 'Fascination (7 inch)' (Virgin)
  • 43: Birthday Party: 'Deep In The Woods (12 inch EP-The Bad Seed)' (4AD)
  • 42: Danse Society: 'Somewhere (7 inch)' (Society)
  • 41: U2: 'New Year's Day (7 inch)' (Island)
  • 40: Fall: 'Wings (7 inch-double A side with Kicker Conspiracy)' (Rough Trade)
  • 39: S.P.K.: 'Metal Dance (12 inch)' (Desire)
  • 38: Cocteau Twins: 'Hithertoo (EP-Sunburst And Snowblind)' (4AD)
  • 37: Sophie And Peter Johnston: 'Television/Satellite' (Peel Session)
  • 36: Luddites: 'Doppelganger (EP-Strength Of Your Cry)' (Xcentric Noise Records)
  • 35: Fall: 'Kicker Conspiracy (7 inch-double A side with Wings)' (Rough Trade)
  • 34: Tools You Can Trust: 'Working And Shopping (7 inch)' (Red Energy Dynamo)
  • 33: Smiths: 'Handsome Devil (7 inch-B side of Hand In Glove)' (Rough Trade)
  • 32: Xmal Deutschland: 'Qual (7 inch)' (4AD)
  • 31: Chameleons: 'Second Skin (LP-Script Of The Bridge)' (Statik)
  • 30: Redskins: 'Lean On Me (7 inch)' (CNT Productions)
  • 29: Aztec Camera: 'Oblivious (LP-High Land, Hard Rain)' (Rough Trade)
  • 28: Cocteau Twins: 'Peppermint Pig (7 inch)' (4AD)
  • 27: Sisters Of Mercy: 'Alice (7 inch)' (Merciful Release)
  • 26: 10,000 Maniacs: 'My Mother The War (12 inch)' (Reflex)
  • 25: New Order: 'Leave Me Alone (LP-Power Corruption And Lies)' (Factory)
  • 24: Elvis Costello (under the pseudonym The Imposter): 'Pills And Soap (LP-Punch The Clock)' (F-Beat)
  • 23: Assembly: 'Never Never (7 inch)' (Mute)
  • 22: Echo And The Bunnymen: 'The Cutter (7 inch)' (Korova)
  • 21: Fall: 'The Man Whose Head Expanded (7 inch)' (Rough Trade)
  • 20: Siouxsie And The Banshees: 'Dear Prudence (7 inch)' (Wonderland)
  • 19: Sisters Of Mercy: 'Temple Of Love (7 inch)' (Merciful Release)
  • 18: New Order: 'Your Silent Face (LP-Power Corruption And Lies)' (Factory)
  • 17: Echo And The Bunnymen: 'Never Stop (7 inch)' (Korova/WEA)
  • 16: Cocteau Twins: 'From The Flagstones (EP-Sunburst And Snowblind)' (4AD)
  • 15: Cure: 'The Love Cats (7 inch)' (Fiction)
  • 14: Cocteau Twins: 'Sugar Hiccup (EP-Sunburst And Snowblind)' (4AD)
  • 13: Xmal Deutschland: 'Incubus Succubus II (7 inch)' (4AD)
  • 12: Public Image Limited: 'This Is Not A Love Song (7 inch)' (Virgin)
  • 11: Red Guitars: 'Good Technology (7 inch)' (Self Drive Records)
  • 10: Naturalites And The Mystics: 'Picture On The Wall (12 inch)' (Realistic)
  • 09: Smiths: 'Hand In Glove (7 inch)' (Rough Trade)
  • 08: Fall: 'Eat Y'Self Fitter' (Peel Session)
  • 07: Billy Bragg: 'A New England (12 inch EP-Life's A Riot With Spy Vs Spy)' (Go! Discs)
  • 06: Smiths: 'Reel Around The Fountain' (Peel Session)
  • 05: Cocteau Twins: 'Musette And Drums (LP-Head Over Heels)' (4AD)
  • 04: This Mortal Coil: 'Song To The Siren (7 inch)' (4AD)
  • 03: New Order: 'Age Of Consent (LP-Power, Corruption And Lies)' (Factory)
  • 02: Smiths: 'This Charming Man (12 inch-New York Vocal)' (Rough Trade)
  • 01: New Order: 'Blue Monday (12 inch)' (Factory)


  • Check the date pages for each show.
  • The tracks on torrent 2 of the 17-DVD Torrent Compilation are from sources other than the original broadcast and in some cases are different from those aired.

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