The main aim of this page is to list books in which Peel appears either as a writer or subject. To be included in the latter category, the book should feature at least one chapter about him.

Peel also enjoyed reading - during his schooldays, English was one of the few subjects in which he did well - and on his 1967 Perfumed Garden shows on Radio London would sometimes read poems or stories between the records.[1] Because of this, the BBC gave him the Night Ride show of 1968-69, which regularly featured guest poets who would discuss their work with him. In his later years, he was known to say that he would study English Literature if he won the pools.[4] [5] On Desert Island Discs, he named the 12-volume A Dance To The Music Of Time by Anthony Powell as his book choice. Peel's eldest son[2] was named after the main character in Richmal Crompton's Just William stories.[6]

Writing in a student magazine in 1989, John Walters compared Peel to Eeyore, saying the DJ resembled the pessimistic donkey from A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh far more than any other of his favourite fictional characters ("I always tell him that he should forget Roy of the Rovers and Biggles"). Walters also hinted at how Peel's tastes in reading had influenced his distinctive style of spoken English: "The phraseology may derive from the handful of pre-war books that he reads constantly. Why bother with new ones when the old are perfectly good?"

A list of Peel's mentions of books, on his radio shows and in his journalism, appears at the bottom of the page.


Main Author

Foreword by Peel

Choosing Death


Cover Quotes

  • Barnes, Mike (2011): Captain Beefheart: The Biography. Omnibus Press. ISBN 1780380763.
    (Back cover: "If there has been such a thing as a genius in the history of pop music, it's Beefheart")
  • Cope, Julian (1996): Krautrocksampler, 2nd ed. Head Heritage. ISBN 0-9526719-1-3.
    (Title page: "What a great book!")
  • Duffy, Kevin (2007): Mothers: The Home Of Good Sounds 1968-1971. Birmingham City Council Department of Leisure & Co. ISBN 0709302177.
    (Back cover: "I sometimes get mail from younger people who live in Erdington who are amazed to hear that for a few years, the best club in Britain - and it was, because I went to most of them - was right here in Birmingham.")
  • Garner, Ken (2007). The Peel Sessions: A Story Of Teenage Dreams And One Man's Love Of New Music. BBC Books. ISBN 1846072824.
    (Inside back sleeve, about 'In Session Tonight': "a work of almost lunatic scholarship")
  • The End (eds) (2011): The End Fanzine | 30th Anniversary Edition. Sabotage Times.[7] [8]
    (Front cover: "My favourite magazine is The End from Liverpool which concerns itself with music, beer and football. The very stuff of life itself.")
  • Logan, Nick, and Woffinden, Bob (1977): The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock. Salamander Books. ISBN 0861010094.
    (Back cover has extract from JP's Sounds review of 1976 hardback edition published by Hamlyn; "...a valuable work and, considering the wide range of colourful snaps and the overall excellence of the presentation, almost cheap....")



Peel sessions


  • Heatley, Michael (2004). John Peel: A Life In Music. Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 1843171511.
  • Wall, Mick (2005). John Peel: A Tribute To The Much-Loved DJ And Broadcaster. Orion. ISBN 0752876740.


Good night
  • Albertine, Viv (2014): Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.: A Memoir. Thomas Dunne. ISBN 1250065992.[3]
  • Armitage, Simon (1999): All Points North. Viking. ISBN 0670873004.[4]
  • Cavanagh, David (2015): Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life. Faber & Faber. ISBN 0571302475.
  • Chapman, Robert (1992): Selling The Sixties: The Pirates And Pop Music Radio. Routledge. ISBN 0415079705.[5]
  • Ellen, Mark (2014). Rock Stars Stole My Life!: A Big Bad Love Affair with Music. Coronet. ISBN 1444775499.[6]
  • Kershaw, Andy (2011). No Off Switch: An Autobiography. Serpent's Tail. ISBN 1846687446.[7]
  • LeRoy, JT (ed) (2005). Da Capo Best Music Writing 2005. Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306814463.[8]
  • Osborne, John (2010). Radio Head: Up And Down The Dial Of British Radio. Pocket Books. ISBN 1847392547.[9]
  • Radcliffe, Mark (2010): Thank You For The Days: A Boy's Own Adventures In Radio And Beyond. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1847393705.[10]
  • Reynolds, Simon (2009). Totally Wired: Postpunk Interviews And Overviews. Faber & Faber. ISBN 0571235492.[11]
  • Thacker, Lee; introduction David Gedge, Cuban Boys (2010). The Festive Fifty: An Illustrated Memoir. Raw Shark. ASIN B005886CUG.

Mentioned by Peel


  • 12 July 1967: Lucie-Smith, Edward (ed.) (1967). The Liverpool Scene. Carroll.
  • 18 July 1967: Carroll, Lewis (1865). Alice In Wonderland. Macmillan.
  • 18 July 1967: Carroll, Lewis (1871). Through The Looking Glass. Macmillan
  • 10 August 1967: Milne, A.A. (1926): Winnie-the-Pooh (Peel also reads from the book)
  • 14 August 1967: Milne, A.A. (1926): Winnie-the-Pooh (Peel reads the story "In Which Piglet is Entirely Surrounded by Water")
  • 14 August 1967: Tolkien, J.R.R. (1937). The Hobbit. Allen & Unwin
  • 15 December 1967: Roche, Peter, (ed.) (1967) The New Love Poetry. Corgi
  • 15 December 1967: Hesse, Hermann (1922): Siddhartha
  • 15 December 1967: Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de (1943): The Little Prince
  • 15 December 1967:Pauwels, Louis and Bergier, Jacques (1963): The Dawn of Magic (also known as The Morning of the Magicians)
  • 06 March 1968: Mitchell, Adrian (1968). Out Loud Cape Goliard
  • 01 May 1968: Jackson, Alan (1967). The Worstest Beast Self-published
  • 01 May 1968: Jackson, Alan; Nuttall, Jeff; Wantling, William (1968).Penguin Modern Poets 12 Penguin
  • 08 May 1968; Patten, Brian (1969). "Forthcoming children's book" (title mentioned in discussion between JP and BP doesn't appear in Patten's bibliography) Allen and Unwin
  • 24 July 1968: Oliver, Paul (1968). Screening The Blues: Aspects Of The Blues Tradition. Cassell
  • 22 August 1983: Ziegler, Philip (1969). The Black Death. Harper Collins
  • 12 October 1989: Captain Beefheart (1987). Skeleton Breath, Scorpion Blush: Songs and Poems. Verlag Gachnang & Springer
  • Desert Island Discs: Powell, Anthony (1975). A Dance to the Music of Time. Unknown publisher
  • 16 January 1990: Lawrence, D.H. (1928). Lady Chatterley's Lover. Tipografia Giuntina
  • 30 December 1990: Bennett, Tony (unknown year). Autobiography. Unknown publisher
  • 06 January 2000: Shelley, Mary (1818). Frankenstein. Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor & Jones
  • 11 April 2001: Mathews, Arthur (2001). Well Remembered Days: Eoin O'Ceallaigh's Memoirs of a Twentieth-century Irish Catholic. Macmillan
  • 20 June 2001: Mathews, Arthur (2001). Well Remembered Days: Eoin O'Ceallaigh's Memoirs of a Twentieth-century Irish Catholic. Macmillan
  • 04 October 2001: Bradley, Lloyd (2001). This Is Reggae Music: The Story of Jamaica's Music. Grove Press
  • A Good Read: Chevalier, Tracy (1999). Girl With A Pearl Earring. Harper Collins / Slocum, Joshua (1900). Sailing Alone Around The World. Adlard Coles Nautical / Mathews, Arthur (2001). Well Remembered Days. Macmillan
  • 23 April 2002: Mathews, Arthur (2001). Well Remembered Days: Eoin O'Ceallaigh's Memoirs of a Twentieth-century Irish Catholic. Macmillan
  • 20 February 2003: Unknown author (Unknown year). John Lennon Sometime In 1969. Unknown publisher
  • 15 April 2003: Thompson, Andrew & Hale, Steve. This Is Anfield. Genesis Publications [9]
  • Disc & Music Echo [10] Gillett, Charlie (1970) The Sound Of The City
  • Observer [11]: Hornby, Nick (2002). 31 Songs. McSweeney's
  • Observer [12]: Thompson, Andrew & Hale, Steve (2002). This Is Anfield. Genesis
  • Offbeat Magazine [13]: Betrock, Alan (1986). The I Was a Teenage Juvenile Delinquent Rock'N'Roll Horror Beach Party Movie Book: A Complete Guide to the Teen Exploitation Film, 1954-1969. St Martins
  • Offbeat Magazine [14]: Pepys, Samuel (1960). The Diaries of Samuel Pepys. Harper
  • Smash Hits [15]: Gibbon, Edward (1776-1789). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Strahan & Cadell
  • Smash Hits [16]: Massie, Robert (1980). Peter The Great. W&N
  • Third Way [17]: Crompton, Richmal (1922). Just William. George Newnes

See Also

  • Fallandpeel
    Fall: In August 1989, around the time of his 50th birthday, Peel was pictured with members of his favourite band while holding a copy of Colours Of My Life (Everest Books) by Malcolm Allison (1975).[18] The autobiography of the former Manchester City manager was the favourite football book of Mark E Smith.[19]
  • Night Ride Poets
  • Barbara Cartland: The prolific romantic novelist (and step-grandmother of Princess Diana) released an an LP, ‘Album of Love Songs’, which unexpectedly picked up plays on the John Peel wingding.
  • John Peel(2): The subject of this site shared his professional name with, among others, a British writer best known for his TV series tie-in novels and novelisations, as noted by the DJ in an article for Radio Times.


  1. Peel ran a competition on the show to select a Perfumed Garden "poet laureate". This was "won" by Donovan, with Roger McGough second and John Lennon third.[1] [2] [3]
  2. William Robert Anfield Ravenscroft (born 12th January 1976).
  3. Ch.48, Peel Session, p188-190 (paperback edition).
  4. Over The Top Into Lancashire, p76-9.
  5. Ch.3, From Method Actors To Multinationals includes an account of Peel's career on Radio London, with pp. 122-31 on the Perfumed Garden. Ch. 6, British Broadcasting Incorporation describes the early years of Radio 1, including Night Ride, pp. 268-9, Top Gear, pp. 245-7, 268-71, and Sounds of the Seventies, pp. 272-5, and has interview quotes from John Walters, Teddy Warrick, Johnnie Walker, Kenny Everett and others.
  6. Ch 18: Play ‘Misty In Roots’ For Me.
  7. Ch 29: No Thistles For Eeyore: Life With John Peel.
  8. Roche, Tom. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (originally published Stomp and Stammer), p183-192.
  9. Ch 3: John Peel.
  10. Ch 14: The Day I Heard John Peel Died.
  11. Interviews: John Peel, p168-73.