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John Peel

CREDITS
Thanks to Terry Yason, Leo Lyons, Mike Weaver, Mike Grant, John Lundsten, Peter Green, Jonathan, Mark Dezzani, Frank Hesketh, Tony Baker, Chris Martin, Paul Welton,
Stefan Woroniecki & Badger for additional items - catalogue scans (Mike Lewis), early letter, 'wonderland' t-shirt ad, Oz advert, various press cuttings, audio, illustrations, Seagull tape (Charlie Fogg), old boots, clogs, spoons (you had to be there to understand those last few items...)
Special thanks to Pete Tibble for generous donation of so much mint condition memorabilia


John Peel (Ravenscroft) 1939-2004


At the helm of the Geronimo Starship, 1970, Hollywood Festival (pic: Barry Plummer)

Recent evidence* indicates that, around 1969/70, John Peel supplied Geronimo with copies of recordings that, because of embargoes and copyright restrictions, he was not allowed to play on BBC Radio 1. This would have been typical of John's desire to champion new music and make it available to listeners.  Festive 50's, disinterred thirty three and a thirds, Dandelion, Biscuit, The Pig, Home Truths...

There are so many ways to remember John Peel's championing of new music. Here's just one of them. From 1967, the sleeve notes for the Elektra album 'Select Elektra':-

"In these days, often rancid, it is written in some plastic bound handbook that recorded creations and love are to lie smothered beneath the grasping need for 'Chart' records. New labels spin, laden with good intentions, into the fringes of our understanding with signs crying 'brave' and 'new'. Shortly shattered and spent, they drift, senseless, into on of several oblivions. Either they wither and die or, being bloated now, find the equally frightful safe death of compromise and 'star' artistes of cynical adaptability.

There are those brave and beautiful companies feeding on miracles and devotion which have struggled for years without fouling their consciences. They have provided us with jewellery to scatter in our minds - they deserve our salutes and whenever support.

Only one label has discovered purity lying in the same elusive bed of success. They sign few artists but those they sign find themselves overnight on Olympus. They release few records but those they release are honest and essential. They publicise little, for the very excellence of their crafts is, in itself, a cry from every discerning roof-top.

You know who I'm talking about."



Teenage dreams, so hard to beat
JOHN PEEL

*from recent interview with John Lundsten, Geronimo sound engineer,
talking about John Peel's involvement in 1970:
"Harley Street, of course, is almost a stones throw away from Broadcasting House where the wonderful Mister John Peel was. I think it, it was either Barry or Hugh, it certainly wasn't me, but they made contact with him. We, and he, were great enthusiasts of the terribly obscure, who was then considered a terribly obscure artist - Captain Beefheart. And Peel had a whole load of acetates of sessions - a lot of them have been subsequently released, as the 'Safe As Milk' album, for example, and a lot of other stuff which he was absolutely delighted with the idea that seeing that we didn't have the copyright clearance hassles that he would have had, he couldn't possibly play them. He gave us a copy of these. There was quite a few things actually we got as well, like the unmixed tapes of the Let It Be album, the early mixes without the massive string overdubs..."

*Interview extract from forthcoming Geronimo television documentary and book
Copyright 2004-2011 Mark Dezzani (Europa Productions) and Chris Bent (Radio Geronimo website owner),
not to be reproduced elsewhere without permission

 

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