"I prefer to remember those who have died, whether relatives, friends, rock stars or a combination of the three, in their proper context, filling some greater or lesser niche in everyday life, rather than distorting my memory of them in a welter of terminal sentiment.. This is why we never did anything extreme when Jim Morrison or Paul Kossoff died, not even when Hendrix died. We (John Walters and I, that is) still play their records on air from time to time - always will, I hope, thinking of them in the same way that I sometimes think of my Dad." (Peel quoted, presumably from his diaries, by Sheila in Margrave Of The Marshes, Bantam Press, 2005, p. 371.)
- Nevertheless, despite his assertion above, and, for example, his neglecting to broadcast anything by Elvis Presley on the occasion of his death on 16 August 1977, John did on occasion play music on his show or give memorial in print when a significant figure in his life passed away. This page is intended to be an overview of the ways in which John Peel commemorated the deaths of people connected to his programmes in some way, whether they were performers he played or admired, or who had worked with him or known him in some capacity. Date of decease is given after the artist name, followed by the music played in tribute. Please fill in any unknown or missing details.
List Of People Commemorated By PeelEdit
- Rick Aitken: guitarist with A Witness (October 1989). 17 October 1989, 'Zip Up' (from One Foot In The Groove 12").
- Jeff Astle: famed West Bromwich Albion centre forward (19 January 2002). 22 January 2002, 'Sweet Water.'
- Cab Calloway: American bandleader and singer (18 November 1994). 03 December 1994 (BFBS), 'Aw, You Dog!'
- Ray Charles: soul music pioneer (10 June 2004). 10 June 2004, 'Take These Chains From My Heart' (from Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music Volume Two).
- Kurt Cobain: lead singer and guitarist with Nirvana (c. 5 April 1994). 22 April 1994, all three Nirvana Peel Sessions back to back.
- Ian Curtis: lead singer of Joy Division (18 May 1980). 19 May 1980, 'New Dawn Fades' (from Unknown Pleasures).
- Sandy Denny: singer and songwriter with Fairport Convention, amongst others (21 April 1978). 21 April 1978, unknown tracks by Fairport and Fotheringay.
- Lonnie Donegan: skiffle musician (3 November 2002). 05 November 2002, 'Ham And Eggs' (from More Than Pie In The Sky Vol. 2), and others in subsequent shows.
- John Doonan: Irish piccolo musician (March 2002). 11 April 2002, 'The Ace And Deuce Of Piping' (from Flute For The Feis).
- John Fahey: American guitarist (22 February 2001). 22 February 2001, 'Sail Away Ladies' (from The Great San Bernadino Birthday Party). Peel had already paid tribute to Fahey on 31 March 1986, after hearing a false rumour that the guitarist had died in the previous year.
- Slim Gaillard: American jazz singer and musician (26 February 1991). 02 March 1991: 'Avacado Seed Soup Symphony Part 1' and (with Dream Warriors) 'Easy To Assemble But Hard To Take Apart'
- Phil Harris: US singer, actor, comedian (11 August 1995). 18 August 1995. 'The Thing' (originally given to Peel by grandfather as a 78, later a Peelenium selection for 1950).
- Al Hibbler: American baritone vocalist (24 April 2001). 01 May 2001, 'Don't Get Around Much Anymore' (with Duke Ellington).
- Adrian Henri: poet, member of The Liverpool Scene (21 December 2000). 21 December 2000, Adrian Henri's Last Will And Testament (from The Incredible New Liverpool Scene LP).
- Hillsborough Stadium: 96 Liverpool fans died in a human crush on 15 April 1989. 17 April 1989 (first programme following tragedy) and 15 April 1999 (tenth anniversary), Aretha Franklin's version of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.
- John Lee Hooker: influential American blues singer and guitar player (21 June 2001). 26 June 2001, 'Numbers Blues' (which Peel claimed he had programmed in any case).
- Billy Mackenzie: lead singer with the Associates (22 January 1997). 02 February 1997, Associates, 'Even Dogs In The Wild' (from The Affectionate Punch).
- Bob Marley: singer, songwriter and guitarist with the Wailers (11 May 1981). 11 May 1981, 'Exodus' (from Exodus).
- Henry Mancini: American composer known for film and TV scores (14 June 1994). (17 June 1994, 25 June 1994 (BFBS), Duane Eddy's Peter Gunn.
- John McGeoch: guitarist with Magazine and Siouxsie & The Banshees (04 March 2004). 16 March 2004, Magazine's 'A Song From Under The Floorboards.'
- Roy Orbison: American singer (6 December 1988). 07 December 1988, You Got It (7").
- Malcolm Owen: lead singer of the Ruts (14 July 1980). 22 July 1980, all three Ruts sessions.
- Augustus Pablo: reggae producer, melodica/keyboards player (18 May 1999). 15 June 1999, 'Cinderella In Black'.
- Charlie Rich: rockabilly/C&W singer, originally signed to the same label as Elvis Presley (25 July 1995). 28 July 1995: 'Lonely Weekends'.
- Will Sinnott: bass player with the Shamen (23 May 1991). 01 June 1991, Peel Session #4.
- Viv Stanshall: leader of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and creator of Sir Henry At Rawlinson End (5 March 1995). 10 March 1995, Peel Session #7.
- Stanley Unwin: British comedian (12 January 2002). 16 January 2002, Small Faces' 'Happydaystoytown' (from Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake).
- John Walters: long time Peel show and session producer (30 July 2001). 31 July 2001, Roy Harper's 'When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease' (from HQ). 
- Teddy Warrick: member of BBC management who championed the Peel shows for many years (15 December 1999). 16 December 1999, King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, 'Don't You Think I Love You.'
- Delroy Wilson: Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae singer (6 March 1995). 24 March 1995, 'Put Yourself In My Place'.
- Bob Wooler: DJ at Liverpool's Cavern Club (8 February 2002). 12 February 2002, Marauders' 'Dr Feelgood' (from At The Cavern).
Memorials In PrintEdit
- Adrian Henri (of The Liverpool Scene): Not for the first time, my new year's resolution is to make more of a fuss of our friends. ... Our paths had first crossed shortly after I started reading Adrian's poetry, along with that of his fellow Liverpool-based poets, Roger McGough and Brian Patten, on the pirate station, Radio London. I read it all extremely poorly but they were all too kind to laugh out loud. ... As I said, we should make a fuss of our friends. (Radio Times, 10-16 January 2001, reprinted in Olivetti Chronicles, Bantam Press, 2008, p. 114-6, also available online)
- Viv Stanshall: I admired Viv's wit, imagination and lunatic sang-froid so much there were times when I would have wished to be him. ... He was, on his day, the funniest man in Britain. ... He was a great man and it has been our good fortune to catch some of the echoes of this greatness. (The Guardian, 1995-03-11, reprinted in Olivetti Chronicles, Bantam Press, 2008, p. 284-5, also available online)
- John Walters: "I owe Walters more than I owe any other person in my life. He taught me that there was nothing shameful in getting things wrong from time to time, provided you remained true to some sort of ill-defined but genuinely held principles - and popped around the corner for a beer if time permitted. Whenever I have received an honorary degree or similar tribute, I have known that no more than a third of it was really mine, with a third going to Walters and a third to Sheila, my wife. Today I feel as infantrymen in the trenches must have felt when the man beside them was hit." (Radio Times, 11-17 August 2001, reprinted in Olivetti Chronicles, Bantam Press, 2008, p. 445-6.)
- ↑ Although this play of the song at the end of the show is well-documented, it is little mentioned that Peel also played Ken Barber's 'Little Brown Jug' at the start, remembering that he and Walters had once both bought the same record.