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Disc & Music Echo

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"Disc, apart from John Peel's column, would seem to be an almost total waste of time and 6p." (Pete Frame surveying the pop press in Zigzag 24, 1972)


Disc & Music Echo was a weekly music paper, which was aimed largely at a teenage readership and was at the peak of its popularity during the mid-1960s. Writers who worked for the paper included Jonathan King, Penny Valentine and "house hippy" Hugh Nolan, who later became a DJ, doing Peel-influenced programmes in the early 1970s for Radio Geronimo and Radio Seagull.

In the mid-1960s, Disc included a weekly American column by former Beatles publicist Derek Taylor, then living in Los Angeles and doing publicity for artists such as the Byrds. In 1967 Taylor embraced the hippy culture and was one of the organisers of the Monterey Pop Festival. His Disc column exuded the "utopian positivity of the Love Generation....spreading the word of Love to the uninitiated British" (Jon Savage, Mojo, June 2017, p.71). He was the only writer in the British music press to express sentiments similar to those of Peel on the Perfumed Garden show on Radio London. [1]

Disc was home to a Peel column for several years from the late 60s, but the paper lost influence (and circulation) as the pop audience began to diversify - hence the Pete Frame comment quoted above. During the early part of the period Peel also contributed a column to International Times; then, occasional articles to The Listener. From 1973, he started writing for Sounds.

Olivetti Chronicles

Several of Peel's columns for Disc & Music Echo were reprinted in The Olivetti Chronicles:

  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Ipswich, 119-21
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Lovelace, pg. 146-50
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Osmonds, pg. 197-200
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Sick in Trains, pg. 273-7
  • 1970-1971 (exact date unknown): Loudon Wainwright, pg. 327-30
  • 1971-07-31: Peel at the ‘Quiet’ Albert Hall, pg. 214-17
  • 1972-04-01: Captain Beefheart 2, pg. 39-41
  • 1972-12-07: Football, pg. 94-6
  • 1973-04-14: Roadshows, pg. 260-2
  • 1973-04-21: Faces, pg. 88-9
  • 1973-05-12: Liverpool, pg. 141-2

Other Columns

1968

  • Nov 2 (John Peel's ABC of Beauty, extract): ... Van der Graaf Generator: They seem to have disappeared briefly. Two of them (perhaps there are only two) came and sang songs for an hour on the floor of Peel Acres ... (read more)

1969

  • April 5: It would be nice, perhaps, to talk of Principal Edwards Magic Theater - a large group of gentle people who would seem to represent what is coming in the boundless universe of music. It is not easy to say exactly how many of there are because tonight, or tomrrow, you may be part of Principal Edwards ... (read more)
  • June 7 (extract; review of Deep Purple's The Book of Taliesyn); This has been around for a while in the import shops - you may have noticed John Vemon Lord's excellent sleeve. All the Harvest sleeves are good, in fact, all being gatefolds or whatever you call them....... The group have done some fine things for Radio One and they excite when they play live - that's why I don't understand where this record went wrong. It is all too restrained somehow......(read more)
  • Aug 2: It is nice to be, as Derek Taylor pointed out last week, a member of the Plastic Ono Band. If you remember, you are too - our first hit record and it is a good feeling. Play it somewhere friendly, and sing along and it does feel right ... (read more)
  • Oct 4: Buxton, Derbyshire, is 48 miles from Chester, 24 from Chesterfield, 34 from Derby, 35 from Huddersfield, 25 from Manchester, 28 from Sheffield, 24 from Stoke-on-Trent and 159 from London. It seems an unlikely place for a joyful night ... (read more: upper part / lower part)

1970

  • Jan 3: Family, Graham Bond and Sam Apple Pie at London's Albert Hall. Leaving early because of the weather. Driving alone up the M1 on the snow. Through Bradford and on to Shipley around midnight. Sleeping on the floor and warmth and love and cups of tea. A wedding and a reception. Friendly northern voices and laughter. Driving to Bingley and ... (read more)
  • May 2: The Pop Proms having finished, I hope that Roy Guest and I will be able and willing to try again next year. Musically the week proved really nice with several outstanding performances. The first group on the Monday were Bronco who are very highly rated by such authories as ...(read more)
  • June 20 (extract): If you can recall the Wednesday "Night Ride" I used to help with, then you'll remember the curious things from the BBC archives that were played. Some of the best are gathered together on BBC Radio Enterprises REC 68M which will be easily as hard to get hold of as the "Top Gear" LP was. It's called "Archive Things" and is quite a laugh-brings back memories of a programme that I still miss a lot.

1971

  • Nov. 6 (extract): If it's good music you're after--well all I can do is suggest that you try Radio Luxembourg early on Friday evenings when I'll be playing a wholesome disc or two on a programme called "Stenhousemuir 2 : Cowdenbeath 2". There is no reason at all why the programme should be thus named but I didn't want it to be called something "meaningful" and pompous so "Stenhousemuir 2 : Cowdenbeath 2" it is. Ultimately it is to be hoped that the affair will contain contributions from friends old and new, inside leg measurements of the stars and other diversions but, for the time being, we'll have to stick with good music.
  • unknown date: "Last Tuesday I had one of the most encouraging radio experiences I've had since the original Radio London was closed down. The new Radio London has given over several hours of each Tuesday evening to Steve Bradshaw and have called the result "Breakthrough" ... (read more)

1972

  • Feb (exact date unknown, republished on sleevenotes of 'The Faust Tapes' LP): "The first time I heard tell of Faust was when I saw their extraordinary first LP in its equally extraordinary sleeve and felt that, regardless of the music within, I had to acquire one. When the music turned out to be highly original and very exciting that was a welcome bonus..." (read more)

Other Mentions

1967

  • Oct 28 (Who's Who On Radio 1 series): By now it was four weeks since the station began broadcasting. Obviously Disc had graded the DJs by estimated importance and popularity, and so Tony Blackburn had received a whole page but Peel (and Pete Brady, Dave Cash and David Ryder) was alocated a couple of paragraphs at the bottom of page 11, underneath a far more important article about Cliff Richard's Christian beliefs. The last line of the piece on Peel says that in addition to contributing to the Sunday afternoon Top Gear programme, John also has a monthly news programme on "all the nice things happening in London" for Dutch TV.
  • Dec 30 ("Radio 1 men are queueing up to meet fans at the BBC stand") "Boys And Girls Exhibition" at Olympia has been running since 1967-12-30. Peel is not due to make his first appearance until 1968-01-03, alongside Tommy Vance and also Tony Brandon.

1968

  • March 23 (Scene gossip column): John Peel's late night Wednesday Radio 1 show is getting back towards his Perfumed Garden days...last week he played 17th Century French Baroque music, the Stones, San Francisco's Blue Cheer and far-out modern jazzman Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra, plus poetry and stories. Nice! (As the issue would have hit newstands on Thursday the 21st, the show referred to appears to be the Night Ride of 13 March 1968, only the second one broadcast).
  • March 30 (Grapevine column, "John Peel Show On Radio Luxembourg"): And here's some news from your friendly station of the stars. Radio Luxembourg is planning to pull John Peel into their new-look programmes which start this weekend. With such top Radio 1 names as Tony Blackburn, Alan Freeman, David Symonds and Pete Brady already signed up, 208 have invited Peel, the personality everybody seems to want, to host his own show six nights a week, between 12:40--1:10 am, with the tentative title "The Other Side Of The Track". In fact this is to be only a pseudonym for "The Perfumed Garden" show which won him fame with Radio London.

1973

  • Feb 17 (Andrew Tyler: John Peel: Peel And The Pig — An Everyday Story Of Country Folk): John Peel is a sensitive figure with a sturdy patch on the crotch of his jeans and a tendency towards schoolgirls and sensible underwear ... (read more)
  • March (exact unknown unknown): "I'd love to hear a 10cc album." (The quote was subsequently used on the back sleeve of 10cc's self-titled first album.[1])

References

  1. In April 1968 Taylor returned to England to work for the Beatles again, as the press officer for their newly created Apple Corps. After that, he joined the newly launched UK record company WEA, where Peel's manager Clive Selwood was also employed as manager of Elektra's London branch.

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