Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough in South Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. In the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. With some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely industrial roots to encompass a wider economic base. The population of the City of Sheffield is 569,700 (mid-2015 est.) and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third largest English district by population. The metropolitan population of Sheffield is 1,569,000. (Read more at Wikipedia.)
Links to Peel
In music, Peel's best-known Sheffield link is probably his early support for Pulp, whose schoolboy singer Jarvis Cocker pressed a demo cassette on the DJ at a John Peel Roadshow event in 1981, leading to the first of four sessions over the next 20 years. At the other end of the spectrum, youthful metal hopefuls Def Leppard were another band given their first national radio exposure after a Peel gig in the city.
The biggest star to emerge from Sheffield in the 1960s was Joe Cocker, who did three sessions for Top Gear before becoming internationally famous. One of the busiest session guitarists of the 1970s, Chris Spedding, went to school in Sheffield and began his performing career with local band The Vulcans. He appeared on Peel sessions by the Battered Ornaments, Nucleus, John Cale and Roy Harper as well as recording two under his own name, in 1972 and 1977.
In the post-punk years, Sheffield gained a reputation as a hotbed of electronic music, as recalled in the documentary Made In Sheffield: The Birth Of Electronic Pop, which featured bands played by Peel such as Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Human League, Heaven 17 and Vice Versa (who evolved into ABC). In the film, the DJ cited Artery as his favourite outfit from the city during this period.
Subsequently, Sheffield was the birthplace of Warp Records, the influential electronic dance label whose roster came to include (non-local) Peel session artists such as Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, and LFO. In June 1998, the opening night of the Meltdown festival curated by Peel was a Warp label live special featuring Autechre, Broadcast, Plaid and Plone. (The label relocated to London in 2000.)
Among students in the city, Dandelion label folkie Bridget St. John gave her first first public performances locally while attending Sheffield University. Many years later, Peel's son (and future BBC Radio 6 Music DJ) Tom Ravenscroft studied at Sheffield Hallam University. In 1999, Peel himself received an honorary doctorate from SHU.
In the world of football, Sheffield is the home of Hillsborough stadium, the site of the disaster that resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans in 1989. Devoted LFC supporter Peel wasn't at the ground for the match that day but was deeply affected by the tragedy.
The following artists from the Sheffield area recorded Peel sessions:
- Ace: (2 sessions, 1974-75)
- Artery: (2 sessions, 1981-82)
- Black Dog: (2 sessions, 1995-97)
- Cabaret Voltaire: (2 sessions, 1981-84)
- Chakk: (1 session, 1984)
- Clock DVA: (1 session, 1980)
- Joe Cocker: (3 sessions, 1968-69)
- Comsat Angels: (4 sessions, 1979-1981)
- Hula (3 sessions, 1985-86)
- Human League: (1 session, 1978)
- I'm So Hollow: (1 session, 1980)
- One Thousand Violins: (2 sessions, 1985-86)
- Pulp: (4 sessions, 1981-2004)
- Chris Spedding (2 sessions, 1972, 1977)
- Suncharms: (1 session, 1992)
- Treebound Story: (1 session, 1986)
- World Of Twist: (1 session, 1991)
The following Sheffield artists had Festive Fifty entries:
- Artery: Into The Garden #09 (1982 Festive Fifty)
- Baby Bird: Goodnight #15 (1996 Festive Fifty)
- Heaven 17: (We Don't Need This) No Fascist Groove Thang #29 (1981 Festive Fifty)
- One Thousand Violins: Like One Thousand Violins #49 (1985 Festive Fifty)
- Pulp: 1993 Festive Fifty: Lipgloss #46 / Razzamatazz #14 // 1994 Festive Fifty: Babies #23 / Common People (session) #21 / Do You Remember The First Time #13 // 1995 Festive Fifty: Underwear #31 / Disco 2000 #27 / Mis-Shapes #12 / I-Spy #08 / Sorted for E's & Wizz #02 / Common People #01 // 1998 Festive Fifty: This Is Hardcore #08 // 2000 Festive Fifty (All Time): Common People #12 // 2001 Festive Fifty: Trees #29 / Sunrise #19
The following tracks by artists from the Sheffield area were chosen by Peel in his selections for each year of the 20th century:
- Peelenium 1981: Heaven 17: (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang
- Peelenium 1982: Artery: Into The Garden
- Peelenium 1995: Pulp: Sorted For E's & Whizz
(EP - 1980: The First Fifteen Minutes) Neutron
- 12 February 1980: Clock DVA: Brigade
- 12 February 1980: Stunt Kites: Beautiful People
- 12 February 1980: Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
- 12 February 1980: I'm So Hollow: I Don't Know
- 19 February 1980 (Virgin In-Store): Clock DVA: Brigade
- 19 February 1980 (Virgin In-Store): Stunt Kites: Beautiful People
- 19 February 1980 (Virgin In-Store): Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
- 19 February 1980 (Virgin In-Store): I'm So Hollow: I Don't Know
- 20 February 1980: Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
- 23 February 1980 (BFBS): Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
- 12 March 1980: Clock DVA: Brigade
- 27 March 1980: Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
- 21 June 1980 (BFBS): Vice Versa: Genetic Warfare
(LP - Bouquet Of Steel), Aardvark
- 02 June 1980: Comsat Angels: Ju Ju Money
- 03 June 1980: Scarborough Antelopes: Here We Go
- 05 June 1980: Flying Alphonso Brothers: Video Date
- 05 June 1980: Repulsive Alien: Say And Do
- 05 June 1980: I'm So Hollow: Touch
- 05 June 1980: Artery: The Slide
- 30 November 1981: Y?: End Of Act One
- 22 March 2001 (Radio Eins): "Last week I was up in Sheffield, because that's where my son Tom is at university. And he recommended a record shop to me that I'd never been into before, although it was quite close to an Indian, no not and Indian, and African restaurant, that I've been in once, which was utterly wonderful, but I went along to this record shop on Tom's recommendation, and I'd been in there about quarter an hour, and a fella came over and said, "do you recognise me?" and of course I said, " well I don't think I do" and it turned out to be a fella called Barry Everard, and Barry came to my wife and I's wedding, twenty and how many years ago it was, and I hadn't seen him since then. He'd been running this record shop all of this time, and it was an excellent record shop, it has to be said. And one of the members of his staff, hang on wait until I make sure I play the right track - has made a CD under the name of I Monster, called These Are Our Children. And from it, a track called French Mods Can't Drink. And as to the veracity of that statement, I can't possibly comment."
- Michael Palin: Peel's former fellow student at Shrewsbury School and latter-day Monty Python member is a native of Sheffield.
- Record Collection: I: John Peel Archive video I is for... In The Nursery features Berkshire twin brothers who formed the band as students in Sheffield.
- Football Compilations: From 'Flair 1989', Peel played 'I'm Following Sheffield United' by Alan Martin (interrupted by Bobby Knutt) on 20 November 1989.
- A Life Of Grime: In 2000, the second run of the TV documentary series narrated by Peel featured environmental health officers from Sheffield city council.
- Guardian: Why Sheffield? (article on 'Made In Sheffield' documentary)
- The Star: Pop Stars' Tribute To Legendary DJ Peel: Sheffield musicians remember Peel
- Guardian Music Weekly: Warp Records special (podcast to mark 20 years of the label in 2009)
- YouTube: Sheffield - City on The Move (1971 city promo film, later used in the movie 'The Full Monty')
- Smash Hits archive: "Sheffield Rising" in Smash Hits, August 23 - September 5, 1979 - pp.18 -19
- ↑ The label's first release was by the Forgemasters, who took their name from a Sheffield engineering firm. Early Warp releases played by Peel included tracks from Sweet Exorcist, featuring Richard H. Kirk of Sheffield legends Cabaret Voltaire.
- ↑ The Warp night was on 1998-06-20 (Independent newspaper review). Selections were broadcast on Peel's show of 30 June 1998.