Favourite John Peel quotes

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After playing a Siouxie 7 the banshees 45 at 33 and a third "Well a killer track either way"

John Davis, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 09:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

After a 1984 Cocteau Twins session which he played in full: "Missed me over the last quarter of an hour? Suppression of the ego; always a good thing in DJs, a pity there's not more of it about."

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 09:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In 1983, just after they'd cut his show back from four to three nights a week: "In this slot tomorrow will be Tommy Vance with his Sounds of the Seventies. The featured artist will be Robert Plant."

*ten second silence*

(with quiet rage): "This is the Mighty Wah!"

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 09:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

".... just been on the phone talking to a pair of idiots who produce a fanzine called Grinding Halt...."

Well, it meant a lot to me and the other idiot.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 10:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Presenting TOTP in the 80's - just after Swing out Sister had played "Breakout!"

"You know, i actually *like* that song!"

jed_ (jed), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 10:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

woah that must've been one of his last appearances on TOTP

Freelance Hiveminder (blueski), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 10:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i was very ill last year and a friend emailed Peel with a get well soon message.
which he read out, saying 'and i hope this will speed your recovery' - cue the nosebleed gabba. Bless!

zappi (joni), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 10:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

And of course he was right, it was a good song.

Fwiw their keyboard player Andy Connell had previously been in A Certain Ratio and they still had (Magazine's original drummer) Martin Jackson in the band then IIRC.


Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 10:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Introducing a track he didn't really like appeared in the Festive 50:

"Well, err.. here's a track I've never played on the radio"

or afterwards...

"Bit more of a Janice track that one".

Lovely to hear Janice Long on R2 just before I went to sleep last night, late and away from all the razzmatazz.

Alba (Alba), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 11:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this thread is magic

stevie (stevie), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 11:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Summer '82, having just played "Whatever Is She Like?" by the Farmer's Boys: "You know, whenever I say something like 'I'M SURE ALL MY DJ PALS ON WONDERFUL RADIO ONE ARE PLAYING THIS' it's because I'm pretty damn certain that they're not. But they SHOULD."

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 11:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

John Peel once joked he wanted to die while broadcasting.

On his 60th birthday he said: “I’d quite like to die on the air but not in a melodramatic way. I would prefer to go during a long track.

“Then a continuity announcer would come on saying, ‘John seems to have been taken ill. We will take you over to Radio Two’.

“Then you’d hear the sound of my heels being dragged down the steps. And that will be that.�

My vote for the new JP: John Kennedy on XFM 104.9 Same fanaticism, same wide range of music, same mad hours (11pm-1am). And a thoroughly decent bloke to boot.

Franco Milazzo, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 11:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

not exactly a quote, but a brilliant moment of dry humour and probably the most sublime bit of public djing i've ever witnessed:

at the sonar festival about three years ago, peelie was playing an outdoor, daytime set. typically the crowd loved it and things were getting a bit nutty; especially one guy down the front who had obviously done what the tabloid business refers to as a mind-bending cocktail of drugs. he looked a bit odd to begin with but as the music went on - with john dropping a stonking happy hardcore version of dreamlover by mariah carey, limb by limb by cutty ranks and something that sounded like an entire symphony orchestra falling down a flight of stairs - he became more unhinged, tried to climb into the dj booth, had to be stopped from pulling the speaker stacks down and the proceeded to get his cock out. having seen all of this, the next track selection had me in pieces. it was the ramones with "i wanna be sedated".

stelfox, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 11:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

There won't be a new JP; as discussed in the pub last night, the likelihood is that Radio 1 will simply "lose" those six hours and add them on to existing shows, i.e. three hours of Zane Lowe here, three hours of The Lock-Up there. That show was only there because JP was there.

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 11:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Again, not a quote, but when Low played a live Peel Session in late 2000 one of their songs had such an extended silence at the end that the Beeb's emergency "dead air" tape kicked in and their Duluthian harmonies were replaced by the raucous parpings of ATB's "9PM (Til I Come)". Cue spluttered apologies from Peelie and hilarity for listeners.

Bill A, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 12:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Not a quote, but on TOTP during the weeks when he & Kid Jensen had to announce that Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "Relax" was at number one YET AGAIN without being able to play it, his facial expression was absolutely priceless.

rener (rener), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 12:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Peel on TOTP, December '83, following showing of video for "Tell Her About It" by Billy Joel:

"Isn't it great that Billy Joel has two records in the top ten?"

Delivered stone-faced and grim-voiced to camera, in a tone which suggested that the Queen Mother had just died.

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 13:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

When I couldn't get into an MBAmerica gig because of my age I sent an email to John Peel and he read it out commenting that

"I'm not 18 either"

Frances, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 13:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ah, now that Billy Joel one is beautiful indeed.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 13:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Also from TOTP, summer '84, he was running down that week's top ten.

"At number 10, it's the multi-talented Tina Turner."
"At number 9, it's the multi-talented Prince."
"At number 8, it's the multi-talented Frankie Goes To Hollywood"
and so on and so forth until he got to:
"and at number 2, it's the...er...it's Nik Kershaw."

Marcello Carlin, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 13:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Janice Long's favourite Peel quote, mentioned on 6Music yesterday, from when they introduced David Cassidy on TOTP -

Janice: 'Ooh, I used to have him on my bedroom wall'
Peel: 'That was very athletic of you Janice'

David G. Jones, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 13:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

My own favourite Peel quote (which has sadly taken on a new light), from 2003 following a particularly dismal performance by Liverpool F.C. -

'Of course if I keep getting this worked up about it I'm going to give myself a heart attack. And then people are going to say "well he would have wanted to go that way". Let me assure you that I wouldn't'

David G. Jones, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 13:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Some favourite quotes from his weekly column in 'Sounds' in the late seventies:

'You may have noticed that this week I have a somewhat careworn look to me. The normally bright, lively eyes are sunk in dark, echoing caverns, the crowsfeet that normally give me that mature, we're-all-men-here, Michael Parkinson look now reaches round to my ears and threatens to advance beyond'

'...a young woman of the genus 'punk' afforded me hours of subseqent mirth...'

'I hope all you degenerate young hooligans have a bracing Christmas and that in the new year we can devise some method of helping keep you off the streets'

God I'll miss that man.

David G. Jones, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Another TOTP classic, after a particularly dismal Duran video:

JP (jaunty): Well that was the best song I've heard since...well, tea time. Mind you, I had a late tea.

Davey the Amazing Performing Squirrel, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In 1983/84 immediately after playing "Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing" by discharge:

"Well, that's heavy metal guitar playing, or I'm a Dutchman... This is the Jan Van Der Peel show..."

Already he's sorely missed. And always will be. R.I.Peeie

Fat Reg, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This quote, somewhere around 1975, after playing a track from Springsteen's first album, at the time when "The Boss" was attempting to make his first foray into Blighty:

"Well, that was powerfully average...". Hilarious, cos he was so right. And it gave me a handy phrase to use from then on...

Big Phil, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That's weird that he played it at all.

Alba (Alba), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Last night someone said he met Peel and being all aquiver blurted out 'This is a dream come true, meeting you'. Without a pause Peel replied ' You should get yourself some bigger and better dreams son'.

Billy Dods (Billy Dods), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Sad thing is it would have been a dream for me too.

Billy Dods (Billy Dods), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

After playing The Meteors "Radioactive Kid" sometime around 1984:

"One night I should do a show where EVERY record ends with the sound of an explosion..."

Fat Reg, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 14:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've still got the first few Cocteau Twins sessions on cassette - even though they're all on CD these days - cos after playing Tinderbox Of The Heart (i think) he sighed and said, "Ah, they certainly know how to bring a wistful smile to your Uncle John's weatherbeaten old face". And then after Hitherto: "I've actually got tears in my eyes after that. Does that make me a twerp or what?"

I have a wistful smile and tears in my eyes too now John, RIP

steveuk19, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 15:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Autumn 78: after playing the debut Undertones EP in full for the second (?) time that week (I know it wasn't the first time, 'cos I heard that as well), he went into an extended speech along the lines of "People sometimes ask me what I do this show for. I don't do it for the credibility or the cool, I don't do it for the major record labels, I don't do it for the music industry, I don't do it for (etc etc)... I do it for people like (pause) The Undertones." It was all very impromptu and impassioned and emotional, and had quite an impact on me.

mike t-diva (mike t-diva), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 15:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The thing is, I spent my teenage years editing tapes I'd made of records and sessions John Peel had played, excising his voice from the start and end of tracks. I'm now cursing this policy.

Alba (Alba), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 15:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That true to a point. But remember, this was mid 70's, (pre-punk of course)and at the time Springsteen was being touted VERY HEAVILY in the UK as "The Future Of Rock & Roll". Fair minded bloke that he was, I suppose Peely thought he'd at least hear what this "future" sounded like before condemning...

Thank god punk came along and dumped on that tedious American blah rock. And Peely was in no small way responsible for that, so thank you John and RIP.

Big Phil, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 16:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

when i worked for Richie Hawtin i was combing through some old tapes in the office and one was of a live Plastikman session that Peelie coordinated (i think in Scotland). at the very end of it, John starts singing "One Richie Hawtin, there's only one Richie Hawtin" to the tune of the traditional Cuban song "Guantanamera". wish i could find it, it's quite charming.

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 16:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Guantanamera"? I think you are refering to the traditional Scottish song "One Team In Ayrshire".

everything, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 17:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

is it basically the same tune? can't say i know the scottish song...

ken taylrr (ken taylrr), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 20:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thank god punk came along and dumped on that tedious American blah rock

well, you guys have more than paid us back when it comes to "blah rock" in the last 10 years....springsteen's not blah to me though....not like snow patrol or keane is blah....the first springsteen albums are anything but blah imo....

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 20:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm just being a dick, Ken. That song is sung at football stadiums all over the UK in about a million different variations. There's usually "only one" of someone or something.

everything, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 20:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I always enjoyed his typical comment after playing a particularly brutal tune such as "Cadaveric Incubation of Endo-Parisites" by Carcass, where the band members growled incmprehensibly about (probably) sacrificing babies and somesuch:

"I have it on very good authority that they all love their mothers".

RichardF, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 20:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

FSOL were playing out live. At the end they were fading this echo in and out.

"Are you done? ... er ... come on .... oh you're taking the piss now"

Keith Beee, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 23:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Now that is, I'm afraid, what we doctors call 'bollocks'"

Rebecca (reb), Wednesday, 27 October 2004 23:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

On why he continues to listen to seek out weirdo underground music even into this 60s: "I don't read the same books I did when I was 20, I don't watch the same films I did when I was I was 20, why would I listen to the same music?"

Words to live by.

st. uber, Wednesday, 27 October 2004 23:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

After a set from Coldcut:

"If you've just missed that, I'm sure someone was taping it, it'll be in Camden market any day now".

Keith Beee, Thursday, 28 October 2004 00:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Yes, let's have that again shall we?"

The first time Peel played 'Sliver' by Nirvana he was so taken with how Cobain's feedbacking guitar kicked in he played the first ten seconds of the song again. He had that knack of pinpointing exactly what was brilliant about a band and at that moment he managed to perfectly sum up Nirvana.

markr, Thursday, 28 October 2004 08:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In recent months I've loved his utterly contemptous legal warnings

'It is my duty to warn you that in the next few hours you may be exposed to language and concepts you find unsettling. If this is the case I suggest you turn over [beat] And here's fuckatron, on cunty records, with "I sodomised my dad"'

jimet, Thursday, 28 October 2004 08:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've already posted this one elsewhere. Another great TOTP moment. After Pete Wylie's just done 'Sinful'...

"And if that doesn't get to number one, I'll come round and break wind in your kitchen."

robster (robster), Thursday, 28 October 2004 09:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I couldn't help thinking about his appearance on room 101 where he talked about his fear of death. I remember he said he would probably meet his end in a car crash, having veered off the road trying to read the inlay of a demo tape by the lights of the car behind.

Jonathan G, Thursday, 28 October 2004 10:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I can't quote this one word for word. It's really reaching a long way back into my memory. He noted that in sex education documentaries the moment of conception was always accompanied by acoustic guitar music. He said, 'Now I don't want to worry you...' and proceeded to play some acoustic guitar music.

Amarga (Amarga), Thursday, 28 October 2004 11:01 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"And we've got a Peel's festive fifty card here from a Mark Winkelmann of Still Organ in Co. Dublin... I think someone is pulling my leg".

DV (dirtyvicar), Thursday, 28 October 2004 11:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Arno, thanks for the many many classics.

Rickey Wright (Rrrickey), Tuesday, 29 August 2006 08:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

that made my lunch break--many thanks Arno!

patita (patita), Tuesday, 29 August 2006 17:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Well, I'm happy to share my memories - here's another one. Not John's exact words, but you get the idea:

I don't like encores. It's like, if you see a great painting, you don't want an extra bit painted on the side.

Some of you might want to look at or contribute to Wikiquote at

Arno Matthias (Arnie Matthews), Sunday, 3 September 2006 15:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

A member of "The Dawn Parade" is now immortalised.

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 4 September 2006 10:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Hi mark grout,

I'm terribly sorry but I couldn't make any sense out of your last two postings. Could you please spell it out for me?

Thanks a lot
Senior Aircraftsman 2nd Lieutenant Arnie Matthews (this is the name John gave me to 'impersonate' a member of the Brith Forces in Germany)

Arno Matthias (Arnie Matthews), Monday, 4 September 2006 11:02 (eleven years ago) Permalink

pip : I bump up the thread for people to peruse.

Dawn Patrol: From the Wiki link.
Quotes About John Peel
Can't believe they gave that greatest Briton shit to Churchill when there's a man among us who still plays Half Man Half Biscuit on the taxpayer's buck.
A member of The Dawn Parade

And how is the weather in Station 1-2 right now?

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 4 September 2006 11:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

.. which is a reference to the old "family Favourites" that used to run on Radio 2 on Sunday afternoons, etc keep up etc.

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 4 September 2006 11:25 (eleven years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
There was one particular evening around 1982 when Peelie featured poems by the Scottish poet Ivor Cutler and a session by German industrial band Einsteurzende Neubauten. I've been a lifelong fan of both artists from this single broadcast which I taped and played over many times.

He did a brilliant transition from Ivor Cutler's surreal 'My Darling' straight into 'Kango Licht' by E.N. with the comment "Well if that was an example of Ivor Cutler's reality, just imagine what his dreams must be like".

Later in the program, after playing the second (and last) session track by E.N called 'Sehnsucht' he said "That was the second track of our Neubauten session. I only wish they'd recorded a few more for us, although I imagine they spent a great deal of their time in our studio brooding".

Loved it John.

Simon Reboul (reboul), Sunday, 21 January 2007 09:01 (ten years ago) Permalink

That's tops, man. Thanks for sharing.

White Dopes on Punk (Bimble...), Sunday, 21 January 2007 09:11 (ten years ago) Permalink

Love all this folks! I do think JPs columns for Sounds, the Observer and Radio Times ought to be anthologised. He wrote for RT for years, always very funny indeed. Is somebody already doing this?

Joan Firwell (Jaboblas), Wednesday, 24 January 2007 17:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

I only met the great man once, but that was enough. The tale started many years before when i had emailed John regarding a track he had played many years before but had never left my conciousness. The track was 'The Sound of Worms' by a certain Tony Burello. My e-mail asked a) did he remember the track and b) where i might be able to get a copy of said record. A few days later i received a mail from john@hometruths, it never registered with me automatically that it was indeed his Peelness but when i read it i put the 2 together. He replied by saying that he did remember the track but could not remember who had recorded it, but that if he found it in his collection he would send me his copy..I was bowled over, stunned and amazed. Would I, me, be the proud owner of a disc form John Peels private collection, and not just any disc but The Sound of Worms.

I never heard anything back. But receiving that e-mail was like winning a trophy, i was honoured.

Fast forward 3 years and John is playing at the Triptych Festival in Glasgow as part of a showcase with Pan Sonic, Wire, Irmin Schmidt and a few others. I arrived and went to the bar, there was music playing in the bar area and i look over to see John Peel standing, record in hand, no more than 10ft away, he played a cracking dub reggae number, and a smile played accross my face. All the while i can hear Pan Sonic destroying the place in the main hall, half of me wants to stay and pray at the altar of Peel, the other half wants to go and twitch to the brutal frequencies of Pan Sonic. I hurry to catch them. Pan Sonic end a brilliant set and at the back of the hall the soundboard and some decks are set up , it is then that i notice John lurking about the decks, oh yes. As soon as Pan Sonic fin(n)ish, John plays 'Love will tear us apart', and it sounded immense, the sound system in the hall was superb and it was a pretty big space. I took this opportunity to go and speak to the man himself. As the records are playinh John lounges to one side, no scratching, no dicking about with the eq's, no looking intense and no gay flourishes. I walk to the barrier and he comes over for a chat, i shake his hand and i simply say 'The Sound of Worms'. 'Tony Burello', he says immediately, he remembered!! For a brief moment i thought he was gonna produce the record and present it to me. To be fair i think that would have been too much to take and I may well have fainted. We chatted for a minute or so, about what i cannot remember, but it hardly matters. He was accomodating and polite and i imagine would have been happy to talk about wine and music all evening.

He went on to play a brilliant set, very much like one of his shows, some hardcore techno, an amazing samba track that got faster and faster and a whole load of brillant tracks. In the end he finished up to great applause and Schmidt came on and dj'd a whole load of Can tracks that sounded incredible in the big hall..

All in all a brilliant night, but there is no time to be sad, John Peel will live forever.

neonmeatedream, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 11:45 (nine years ago) Permalink

he made a lot of people very very happy, which is an amazing skill in of itself.

stevie, Tuesday, 15 January 2008 12:03 (nine years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

This is one of my favorite threads on ILM.

Mark, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 00:32 (seven years ago) Permalink

I just read this from start to finish, every single Peel quote in his voice in my head. Wonderful wonderful stuff.

ailsa, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 20:34 (seven years ago) Permalink

Kat's Karavan is on Spotify, there are a bunch of Peel quotes inserted inbetween some of the tracks...

Mark G, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 21:32 (seven years ago) Permalink

if that doesn't get to number one then i'm gonna come and break windin your kitchen

jumpskins, Tuesday, 26 October 2010 21:43 (seven years ago) Permalink

five years pass...

Hello=Re John Peel quotes, im looking for This one fades in, or this one starts quietly< does anyone know where i might find links? thanks Neil.

Neil Mac, Sunday, 15 May 2016 12:44 (one year ago) Permalink

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