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

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"Faintly ridiculous" was John's comment, made in hindsight, about this chart. The Smiths had recently split, and the result was that all but three of the songs from their final studio album Strangeways Here We Comemade the 50.

An impression is created that, at this stage, there were listeners who simply saw the vote as an opportunity of registering just how much they loved the Smiths. Understandable as this mat be, simply picking three Smiths tracks and putting them in order, blindly ignoring everything else, flew in the face of the spirit of the Festive Fifty, and certainly the Peel show in general and, with the demise of the band, you really hoped such foolishness would stop. (Whitby, M., The Festive Fifty, Nevin Publishing, 2005, p. 25.)

Other notable entries were at number two, with the Fall's highest placed session track, the high profile of rap, and a rare appearance for JP's beloved African music in the shape of the Bhundu Boys.


The Festive Fifty Of 1987

  • John Peel's Festive Fifty - 198708:58

    John Peel's Festive Fifty - 1987

    50: Talulah Gosh, 'Talulah Gosh (7 inch)' (53rd & 3rd)
  • 49: Beatmasters, 'Rok Da House (12 inch)' (Rhythm King)
  • 48: Gun Club, 'Breaking Hands (LP-Mother Juno)' (Red Rhino)
  • 47: Colorblind James Experience, 'Considering A Move To Memphis (LP-Colorblind James Experience)' (Earring)
  • 46: M/A/R/R/S, 'Pump Up The Volume (12 inch)' (4AD)
  • 45: Smiths, 'Shoplifters Of The World Unite (7 inch)' (Rough Trade)
  • 44: Butthole Surfers, '22 Going On 23 (LP-Locust Aborion Technician)' (Blast First)
  • 43: New Order, '1963 (12 inch-B side of True Faith)' (Factory)
  • 42: Big Black, 'L Dopa (LP-Songs About Fucking)' (Touch & Go)
  • 41: Jesus And Mary Chain, 'Nine Million Rainy Days (LP-Darklands)' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • 40: Smiths, 'I Started Something I Couldn't Finish (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 39: Jesus And Mary Chain, 'Kill Surf City (7 inch-B side of April Skies)' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • 38: Public Enemy, 'You're Gonna Get Yours (12 inch-Dub/Terminator X Getaway Version)' (Def Jam)
  • 37: Sonic Youth, '(I Got A) Catholic Block (LP-Sister)' (Blast First)
  • 36: Eric B. & Rakim, 'I Know You Got Soul (7 inch)' (Cooltempo)
  • 35: McCarthy, 'Frans Hals (7 inch)' (The Pink Label) (derived from a Peel Session)
  • 34: Smiths, 'Sheila Take A Bow (7 inch)' (Rough Trade)
  • 33: James Taylor Quartet, 'Blow Up (7 inch)' (Re Elect The President)
  • 32: Prince, 'Sign O' The Times (7 inch)' (Paisley Park)
  • 31: Wedding Present, 'Getting Nowhere Fast (12 inch-B side of Anyone Can Make A Mistake)' (Reception)
  • 30: Bhundu Boys, 'My Foolish Heart (LP-True Jit)' (WEA)
  • 29: Smiths, 'I Won't Share You (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 28: Railway Children, 'Brighter (LP-Reunion Wilderness)' (Factory)
  • 27: Eric B & Rakim, 'Paid In Full (12 inch-Seven Minutes Of Madness: The Coldcut Remix)' (Fourth & Broadway)
  • 26: Fall, 'Athlete Cured' (Peel Session)
  • 25: Smiths, 'Death Of A Disco Dancer (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 24: Smiths, 'Half A Person (7 inch-B side of Shoplifters Of The World Unite)' (Rough Trade)
  • 23: Smiths, 'Sweet And Tender Hooligan (7 inch-Bside of Sheila Take A Bow, but originally from Peel Session)' (Rough Trade)
  • 22: Motorcycle Boy, 'Big Rock Candy Mountain (7 inch)' (Rough Trade)
  • 21: Smiths, 'Paint A Vulgar Picture (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 20: Cud, 'You Sexy Thing' (Peel Session)
  • 19: Primitives, 'Stop Killing Me (7 inch)' (Lazy)
  • 18: Big Black, 'Colomboan Necktie (LP-Songs About Fucking)' (Touch & Go)
  • 17: Barmy Army, Sharp As A Needle (7 inch)' (On-U Sound)
  • 16: Jesus And Mary Chain, 'April Skies (LP-Darklands)' (Blanco Y Negro)
  • 15: Smiths, 'Girlfriend In A Coma (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 14: Public Enemy, 'Rebel Without A Pause (LP-It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back)' (Def Jam)
  • 13: Sonic Youth, 'Schizophrenia (LP-Sister)' (Blast First)
  • 12: Smiths, 'Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 11: I, Ludicrous, 'Preposterous Tales (7 inch flexi given away free with 'Blah Blah Blah' magazine)' (no label)
  • 10: Wedding Present, 'Anyone Can Make A Mistake (LP-George Best)' (Reception)
  • 09: Fall, 'Hit The North Part 1 (7 inch)' (Beggars Banquet)
  • 08: Wedding Present, 'A Million Miles (LP-George Best)' (Reception)
  • 07: New Order, 'True Faith (12 inch-Shep Pettibone Remix)' (Factory)
  • 06: Wedding Present, 'My Favourite Dress (LP-George Best)' (Reception)
  • 05: Smiths, 'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me (LP-Strangeways, Here We Come)' (Rough Trade)
  • 04: That Petrol Emotion, 'Big Decision (7 inch)' (Polydor)
  • 03: Wedding Present, 'Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft (LP-George Best)' (Reception)
  • 02: Fall, 'Australians In Europe' (Peel Session)
  • 01: Sugarcubes, 'Birthday (7 inch)' (One Little Indian)


  • All of the shows listed above are available in full: links are on the date pages.

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