Peel was born on 30 August 1939 in Heswall near Liverpool. During the life of his radio shows, he never, it seems, missed an opportunity to remind his listeners of this: its importance to him can be gauged from the fact that Sheila arranged for their wedding to take place on the following day so that he would not forget their anniversary. As a result of this publicity, listeners would continually send him messages, cards and gifts, and he would continue to thank them on air for some time after the event.
Several of the birthday milestones in Peel's life were marked by Radio 1, and these are listed below, with links to the relevant shows.
30 August 1960: Living in Texas at the time, Peel had just applied for an extension to his six-month visa, which was granted, and consequently "I spent my twenty-first birthday watching Peter Sellers in 'Two-Way Stretch' on my own in a cinema attached to the Southern Methodist University (SMU)." (Margrave Of The Marshes, Bantam Press, 2005, p. 184.)
29 August 1979 and 30 August 1979: Peel played the forty records he would like to hear at his 40th birthday party. As a bonus, he played 'the best of the lot', the Kop Choir singing the Liverpool anthem by Rodgers and Hammerstein, 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.
30 August 1989: Peel's 50th was celebrated by a surprise party recorded at Subterranea, London, with live sessions by the House Of Love, Wedding Present and the Fall.
30 August 1990: Peel bemoans the fact that he is working and his birthday party is going on in a wine bar without him.
31 August 1999: His 60th saw probably the biggest commemoration yet organised: a live six-hour extravaganza from Maida Vale featuring a host of pre-recorded sessions. There was also a tribute edition of the Radio Times. Peel actually spent the day watching Ipswich beat Barnsley 6-1.
31 August 2004: John makes frequent reference to his 65th birthday, celebrated by a party at Peel Acres where Camera Obscura and a local band called either Partly Soiled or Slightly Soiled played.
40th (1979): From Kid Jensen, autographed programme from Liverpool, autographed picture of Kenny Dalglish, and a bottle of wine.
45th (1984): Peel relates in Margrave (ibid., p. 111) that "Sheila arranged for the children for the children to be recorded singing along with Roy Buchanan's band and had the results pressed up in a limited edition of six 7 inch singles. Also on the record are each of the children and thier mother separately singing 'Happy Birthday'....This, as you can imagine, is a record I can't listen to without bursting into torrents of tinkling, faerie tears."
52nd (1991): A pre-releae of the new Robert Wyatt CD 'Dondestan' and some beer from "the oldest brewery in the world."
65th (2004): A lot of red wine, a scrapbook containing greeting cards and an acetate of new songs by the Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit, and a pile of records from Mick Ashman.