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Final Perfumed Garden Revisited

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BackgroundEdit

"We are going to play all the records that have made us happy in the Perfumed Garden and all the records we have enjoyed, which is a lot of records. And I hope you can stay until 5.30 because it’s a long night, but we got an awful lot to do, an awful lot of very beautiful things to hear, and an awful lot of beautiful people to get to know a little bit better." (14 August 1967)
John's last Perfumed Garden show on Radio London was a marathon five and a half hours long, in the course of which he played a total of 94 tracks. The following day, the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act came into force, and all the offshore pirate radio stations (with the exception of Radio Caroline, which moved to a new base off Holland) were closed down. Peel joined Radio One and made his first broadcast on Top Gear on Sunday 01 October 1967: his association with the station would continue until his final show on 14 October 2004.

Over 34 years later, he would revisit the playlist for this show.

"I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I'd had a list from a Mike Price of all of the records, in fact he just cut it out of a magazine, of all of the records that I'd played on the very final night of the Perfumed Garden programme that I used to do on the pirate ship Radio London back in 1967, and I said that over a period of time, I'd work me way through the tracks and play them to you, because obviously most of them will be records that you've never heard, but which were quite important in my life at one stage. The first couple of tracks that I played were a couple of tracks from Sergeant Pepper, and you obviously know that off by heart, so there's not a lot of point in my playing that.Well, perhaps you wouldn't know it, but at the same time I thought it would be better to play some of the less well-known tracks." (22 January 2002 show.)
"One or two of them actually I don't seem to have any longer, but when we get to them, I'll kind of leave them out. That's a bit of a contradiction in terms, but you know what I mean." (12 February 2002 show.)
As Peel suggests, the plan did not run smoothly: the Tim Buckley track [1] had to be played from a CD reissue, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex song, being from an acetate gifted to him by Marc Bolan, could not be found at all. After the St. Valentine's Day selection, he abandoned the idea completely: for a list of the remaining tracks, see 14 August 1967. On the 05 June 2002 show, he mentioned receiving a postcard from a listener asking what had happened to the strand, and replied: "I'd been doing it for three or four weeks and nobody had said anything about it at all, so in rather a sulky manner I just stopped doing it. And then nobody said anything about it then either, so I thought I was wasting my time. Since then I've had a couple of letters about it, but it just seemed to have been a bad idea really."

Therefore, what follows is a list of the tracks in this strand of his 2002 shows where Peel carried this out, with his comments on the music, and a note of the three tracks that he did not play from the original show.

Final Perfumed Garden Revisited: Track ListingEdit

(JP: 'The guitar playing at the beginning of this, which was by a man called Davy O'List, I used to use for kind of trails and promos for the programmes that I did...It's one of those great mysteries in my life, actually, because I do occasionally play that: some of you will have heard me play that before. But I don't know whether it was intended as a prize for a listener to Radio London, but written on the white paper sleeve that the record has been in ever since it first was released is the name Georgina Whitney, and I have no idea who Georgina Whitney is, or why her name is written on this. It's not even in my handwriting, so I think I probably stole this record out of the Radio London office. But I did the right thing, and Georgina, if you're listening or any of your descendants are listening, I apologise, but I think it's more important that I have it. That's the kind of selfish attitude that I have.") [2]
(JP: '(The LP) had a rather coy little message on the sleeve saying, "dedicated to the bearer of the Eastern gift": I wonder what that could be. One of those things I used to rather enjoy when I was a more troublesome kind of person, more of a troublemaker, I used to try and argue that I regarded Donovan as a more significant artist than Dylan. This used to enrage people to an extraordinary degree and give me a great deal of rather less than innocent pleasure. But this is a song which I still like to hear.')
(JP: 'The crucial tune of 1967...you couldn't do a gig without playing that, and when you did, everybody went into idiot dancing heaven.')
(JP: 'Very nice to hear that again.')
(JP: 'That's my original copy of the LP...My copy's actually autographed by all of the members of the band: Peter Green, and John McVie, Mick Fleetwood and so forth. There's also a note from John Mayall saying, "Good luck with future work scenes." That's a bit of a collector's item, I like to think, these days,if anybody would like to make me an offer for that.')
(JP: 'This is from a band I once did a gig with in the Orange Showgrounds in San Bernadino, California in 1966, and they were as unpleasant a group of people as I've ever met in all of my life. So unpleasant, in fact, that as I left their dressing room after failing to speak to any of them because they wouldn't speak to me because they were so busy doing their LA cool thing that I said I'd never play another one of their records as long as I lived. I was lying of course....And the Radio 1 Fun Computer took time out to tell us that that got to number 24 in 1966...that's quie catchy.')
(JP: 'I try to use the original records where I can, but I couldn't find my original copy of that...Why I bother with the original records I don't know. Because it's just the kind of twerp I am, I think. A spurious kind of authenticity is guaranteed.')
(JP: 'One of the great records of all time: the only record for which I actually know the catalogue number off by heart, because I used to be asked for it so many times...a record which still has the capacity to astonish me.')
(JP: 'Bit of a gem.')
(JP: 'How very pleasant to hear that again.')
(JP: 'It's time for our Perfumed Garden selection for the night, except, for the second time in a month, it's a record which I simply can't find by Tyrannosaurus Rex, and there will be people listening to the programme who can email and tell me exactly where it comes from. It may have been, I certainly must have played it because it's on the list of records I played on the last night of Radio London back in 1967, but I just simply don't seem to have a record of this title anywhere.') (13 February 2002) [3]
(JP: 'Time now for a mildly embarrassing selection from the Perfumed Garden.')
Footnotes
  1. Originally from the LP Tim Buckley.
  2. "I traveled back on the train to Ipswich last night and I promised the people on the train that I would play a record for them. So, this is for Tony and for Georgina Whitney. And I read somewhere in one of the music papers that this is one of my theme songs. So, the least I can do is play it." 14 August 1967 (Transcript), prior to original play of the track. When John played the song again on 11 April 2002, he once more puzzled over her identity.
  3. In fact, the track turned up that very year on The Beginning Of Doves (Castle Music).

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