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Introduction

  • This page catalogues the collection of Peel tapes, mostly devoted to the Festive Fifty, shared by Peel Mailing List member ray_b2.

Having lurked for a long time here, I thought it was time to give something back to this wonderful community. I recently took delivery of a bunch of my old cassettes that had been in storage for many years, and have started digitizing them. They are nearly all partial Festive Fifty shows, so no huge surprises here, but to my aged ears these generally sound better than the copies currently available, and in some cases have many of the session tracks that preceded the countdown itself....All mp3s are 256k stereo (probably overkill for a 30-year iron oxide cassette source).

Festive Fifty Tapes

1979 Festive Fifty

The perilous state of the extant 1979 Festive Fifty recordings has long bothered me, so I decided to merge the best of the available material into vaguely show-length pieces, plus some tasty leftovers. Not much new here: I did dig up some recordings of the pre-FF session tracks, albeit largely without John's patter, although you can hear the great man breathing in places. If you turn up the volume to '11' you might even be able to make out some of his dialog in the space between tracks.
20 December 1979 / 24 December 1979 / 26 December 1979 / 27 December 1979 / 01 January 1980

FFs from 1980 to 1982. Where these are in two parts, the second is the FF itself. In some cases the first is assembled from two or more separately recorded segments - I was short on tape in those days, I guess, and not averse to liberal use of the pause button.

1980 Festive Fifty

22 December 1980 / 23 December 1980 / 24 December 1980 / 29 December 1980 / 30 December 1980

1981 Festive Fifty

23 December 1981 / 24 December 1981 / 28 December 1981 / 29 December 1981 / 30 December 1981

1982 Festive Fifty

15 December 1982 / 16 December 1982 / 20 December 1982 / 21 December 1982 / 22 December 1982 / 23 December 1982 / 27 December 1982 / 28 December 1982 / 29 December 1982 / 30 December 1982

1983 Festive Fifty

21 December 1983 / 22 December 1983 / 27 December 1983 / 28 December 1983 / 29 December 1983

1984 Festive Fifty

18 December 1984 / 19 December 1984 / 25 December 1984 (partial show - missed numbers 30 to 26) / 26 December 1984 / 01 January 1985

1986 Festive Fifty

1986 Festive Fifty is just the countdown plus one or two preceding session tracks. Thus these are less complete than the recordings already out there, but do have decent sound quality (all mp3s are 256k stereo, as usual).
22 December 1986 / 23 December 1986 / 24 December 1986 / 29 December 1986 / 30 December 1986

1987 Festive Fifty

1987 Festive Fifty is complete, 5 x 2-hour shows. I patched in 30 seconds or so per show from the recordings currently out there (which incidentally all run 2-3% too fast) to cover tape flips.

22 December 1987 / 23 December 1987 / 28 December 1987 / 29 December 1987 / 30 December 1987

1988 Festive Fifty

Fair bit of FM hiss on some of these recordings. 256k stereo MP3 sourced from chrome TDKs, normalized & patched together with Audacity.

20 December 1988 / 21 December 1988 / 26 December 1988 / 27 December 1988 / 28 December 1988

1989 Festive Fifty

20 December 1989 / 21 December 1989 / 26 December 1989 / 27 December 1989 / 28 December 1989

1990 Festive Fifty

Three complete shows from 1990. All were originally recorded onto C90s so I've tried to patch the joins with other sources. For some reason I didn't catch the first show (22/12/90) - was probably out having fun somewhere - but the others are intact.
The 23/12 show was the one where Peel announced that some listeners would experience a break in transmission. I was one of the lucky ones to be affected, albeit briefly - I left the silence in as I thought it added an air of excitement and authenticity to the proceedings.
23 December 1990 / 29 December 1990 / 30 December 1990


Peel's Pleasures

I also present a couple of different copies of Peel's Pleasures shows from 1981 and 1982. The 1981 one features the legendary "The fleet's lit up" recording in its entirety.

22 August 1981 / 14 August 1982

Other Shows

  • Late December 1979: Assorted session & other tracks recorded at the same time as the Festive Fifty.
  • 14 April 1982 (fragments only)
  • 25 November 1986
  • 01 December 1986
  • Mid-Dec 1986: I also came across this partial show from early/mid December 1986 - have been unable to date it precisely, but it seems to be some sort of "Peel's Favourite Sessions of the Year" show. Sound quality is a bit hissy. Contains some excellent Miaow tracks that I never tire of listening to.
  • 04 January 1988: A fragment of the first post-Festive Fifty show in 1988. I obviously recorded this to capture the Sugarcubes session, which I have not seen online before. Does that get me a Blue Peter badge?
  • 19 December 1988 / 02 January 1989: This time round I had the idea of recording the two shows on either side of the FF, to see if John had any reflections on the chart itself.
  • 17 November 1991: Found 90 mins of this which, when merged with the existing source, make up a good chunk of entire show.

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