Former pirate radio star, John Peel was the last male remaining disc jockey from the original line-up of Radio 1 in 1967.
He was born August 1939 as John Robert Parker Ravenscroft in Heswall, Wirral. After a public school education in Shrewsbury and two-year National Service he moved to the States and settled in Dallas, where he worked as a computer programmer for an insurance company.
When Beatlemania crossed the Atlantic he 'adjusted' his birthplace to Liverpool, brushed up his scouse accent, and became Radio Station KLIF's resident Beatles expert. He then moved to KLMA in Oklahoma City, a station that claimed the largest night time listenership in the country, and later to KMEN in San Bernardino, California.
He eventually returned to England and joined Radio London in the spring of 1967 where he adopted the surname Peel. His late night show, the Perfumed Garden, with its eccentric mixture of musical styles and emphasis on the emergent American West Coast rock, soon became required listening for the new flower children. In that summer of love and peace he found himself the unofficial spiritual leader.
With the advent of Radio 1 in 1967 he became a compere of Top Gear, taking over the show in February 1968.
Since then he has become a broadcasting legend, promoting acts as diverse as The Smiths, Pulp and Jimi Hendrix. He helped introduce the nation to drum 'n' bass and hip hop, but is perhaps most notorious for giving his listeners in 1970s their first taste of punk.
However, Peel's love of music's cutting edge has put him on a collision course with the Radio 1 management and fellow DJs alike. He famously called the mainstream output of the BBC's pop music station as "incredibly predictable porridge". His hatred of "mediocrity" did not stop with just the playlist. Peel held Radio 1's stars such as Tony Blackburn and "Diddy" David Hamilton in equally low regard.
1975 and John began his own daily late - night show, a slot he would famously front for almost 30 years.
In the studio, Peel was just as willing to break the rules. One of Radio 1's only fans of punk, he became the first DJ to play a record twice in a row. Peel, a holder of an OBE, hosted a late-night show three times a week. His straightforward style, and occasional blunders, have seen him voted Melody Maker's top DJ 11 times in a row.
In more recent years John also presented the highly popular Radio 4 Saturday morning programme 'Home Truths' reflecting on the ups and downs of household life. The show was awarded three Sony Awards in its first year.
Sadly, John Peel passed away on 26th October 2004 following a heart attack whilst on a working holiday with his wife Sheila in Peru. A real broadcaster and genuine person who is sorely missed by his friends, family and the listening public. Personal Tributes Page