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John Peel: A Life in Music

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John Peel had a pioneering radio career that spanned almost forty years, in which he championed left-field sounds from Captain Beefheart to Siouxsie and the Banshees. When he died suddenly at the age of sixty-five in October 2004, millions mourned the loss of this quirky, influential figure. This highly successful biography by Michael Heatley, now in paperback, traces Peel John Peel had a pioneering radio career that spanned almost forty years, in which he championed left-field sounds from Captain Beefheart to Siouxsie and the Banshees. When he died suddenly at the age of sixty-five in October 2004, millions mourned the loss of this quirky, influential figure. This highly successful biography by Michael Heatley, now in paperback, traces Peel's fascinating life from boyhood and adolescence to his early counter-culture days on pirate radio, and charts his lengthy maverick career at Radio One up to his later years where he found a new audience on Radio Four's popular Saturday morning show, Home Truths.


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John Peel had a pioneering radio career that spanned almost forty years, in which he championed left-field sounds from Captain Beefheart to Siouxsie and the Banshees. When he died suddenly at the age of sixty-five in October 2004, millions mourned the loss of this quirky, influential figure. This highly successful biography by Michael Heatley, now in paperback, traces Peel John Peel had a pioneering radio career that spanned almost forty years, in which he championed left-field sounds from Captain Beefheart to Siouxsie and the Banshees. When he died suddenly at the age of sixty-five in October 2004, millions mourned the loss of this quirky, influential figure. This highly successful biography by Michael Heatley, now in paperback, traces Peel's fascinating life from boyhood and adolescence to his early counter-culture days on pirate radio, and charts his lengthy maverick career at Radio One up to his later years where he found a new audience on Radio Four's popular Saturday morning show, Home Truths.

30 review for John Peel: A Life in Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    John Peel was essential listening for me every Sunday afternoon in the late sixties. His BBC radio programme provided the underground and eclectic sounds that I could record onto a small reel to reel tape machine. 'John Peel-A Life In Music' was published in 2004, and as the man himself passed away in October of that year, this short little book could be seen as another of those 'cashing in' biographies. However, Michael Heatley's treatment of his subject is certainly affectionate and something John Peel was essential listening for me every Sunday afternoon in the late sixties. His BBC radio programme provided the underground and eclectic sounds that I could record onto a small reel to reel tape machine. 'John Peel-A Life In Music' was published in 2004, and as the man himself passed away in October of that year, this short little book could be seen as another of those 'cashing in' biographies. However, Michael Heatley's treatment of his subject is certainly affectionate and something of a tribute to the man and his forty years of broadcasts. A review for the Sunday Times describes this book as "quite simply stunning. It is a monumental achievement, and essential reading for all those whose tastes Peel influenced over so many years." Stunning and monumental achievement seem a tad over the top. My surprise was learning that the man was working in Dallas at the time of Kennedy's assassination. Not only that, but he attended the D.P.D. press conference with the alleged assassin along with the assassins assassin Jack Ruby. The biography is light on the personal side and mainly documents the BBC career, where I found the book to be less than stunning. Never a Smashie or Nicey is why the man is missed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phil Tall

    I have this memory of John that sticks in my mind from the early eighties and I can hear his voice say " here is a song from the Neon Babies" and I'm lying there in bed listening and thinking weird name! Weird band! Book is a great read! RIP John I have this memory of John that sticks in my mind from the early eighties and I can hear his voice say " here is a song from the Neon Babies" and I'm lying there in bed listening and thinking weird name! Weird band! Book is a great read! RIP John

  3. 4 out of 5

    Viv

    I read this book while I was waiting for "Margrave of the Marshes", John's autobiography, to be published. It is a reasonable enough biography of John by Michael Heatley, and worth having as it has John's "Festive Fifty" at the back, his favourite music spanning over 30 years from 1976. I read this book while I was waiting for "Margrave of the Marshes", John's autobiography, to be published. It is a reasonable enough biography of John by Michael Heatley, and worth having as it has John's "Festive Fifty" at the back, his favourite music spanning over 30 years from 1976.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alan Parker

    I was one of those white grammar school boys who grew up with John Peel. I first hated then learnt to love so many different kinds of music thanks to John: Captain Beefheart, Roy Harper, irish folk, english folk (Billy Pigg, king of Northumbrian pipers anyone?) , krautrock, reggae, punk, african music, etc. No-one was anything like him. This book is a good biography tracking his career.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    RIP John Peel.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one, a good insight into the world of one of my heroes and inspirations. No one can ever be like him or replace him. R.I.P. John you legend

  7. 5 out of 5

    Erica Hudson

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12862641 I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12862641

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josh Thomas

  9. 4 out of 5

    Damian

  10. 4 out of 5

    Perfectmask

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Thorley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barry Leighton

  14. 5 out of 5

    CiarĂ¡n

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    A good read about a great man, much missed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Claire Morrison

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zwilly

  18. 4 out of 5

    Moz Copestake

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paul Williams

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paul Wells

  21. 4 out of 5

    Judsen

  22. 4 out of 5

    JJames

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard Hughes

  24. 5 out of 5

    Steve Woodward

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jason R

  26. 4 out of 5

    Charliecat

  27. 5 out of 5

    Harley

  28. 4 out of 5

    Padleigh

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ashutosh Kanungo

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heikster

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