Monday 25 October 2021

JOHN PEEL SHOW - Monday 14 September 1981

On this day in 2004, BBC Radio One DJ John Peel sadly passed away while on holiday in Peru. His show had ran from the birth of the radio station in 1967. He quickly became the most influential radio DJ in British radio history, much to the astonishment of the radio station's management.

There is only one way to recognize his brilliance and that is to listen to a show.

This superb programme from 40-years ago gives an aural account of the alternate music scene in the UK at that time. You can read about it in books but this recording puts you back there.

BBC Radio 1 - The John Peel show
Monday 14 September 1981
Running Time: 90:34
In Session: Theatre Of Hate, Freeze


01. Frantic Elevators: Searching For The Only One
3rd single by the band, amongst their members was a young Mick Hucknall, of future ‘Simply Red’ fame.

02. Positive Noise: Love Like Property
Sounding a bit like Bauhaus on this compilation track, taken from the ‘Cabaret Futura - Fools Rush In Where Angels Dare To Tread’ album released on the Martyrwell Music label. The recordings on the album were recorded live at Soho’s Cabaret Futura club in London during spring 1981. Richard Strange, who had been influenced by his experiences living in Manhattan, New York, set up the club as a performance art space. 

03. Theatre Of Hate: Propaganda (session)
2nd Peel session, this opening track was an early preview of the song that would later be found on the b-side of the single ‘Do You Believe In The West World?’ released in 1982. Peel refers to football for the last time tonight, he tells his listeners!

04. Gregory Isaacs: Substitute
After playing this track from one of the Cool Ruler’s most accomplished and consistent albums. ‘More Gregory’ on the Mango label, an offshoot of Island. Peel again refers to Liverpool FC and his disappointment at the start they have made to the new football season in England. Despite his views Liverpool went on to win the 1st Division title by 4pts (not the 8pts+ he had wagered on) with Ipswich Town finishing 2nd.

05. Flock Of Seagulls: Telecommunication

The band was formed in Liverpool during 1979, this 2nd single produced by Bill Nelson (see track below) and released on the Jive label, would also appear on their debut album, released in April 1982. The band would secure a number of international hits including three singles in the Billboard US Hot 100 Chart; I Ran, Space Age Love Song and Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You).

06. Bill Nelson: Living In My Limousine

Bill was a particular favourite of Peel and would appear regularly on his show. He was the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of the British group Be Bop Deluxe for whom big things were predicted by the mid seventies rock press. Bill was ahead of his time but the group floundered during the punk rock explosion of 1976-77. They released their final album in 1978 and Nelson reconfigured the band becoming ‘Bill Nelson’s Red Noise’. He then decided to go solo and was very active in the early 80’s releasing numerous singles and collaborating with artists such as David Sylvian & Gary Numan.
After playing this 7” single on the Mercury label, also spun previously by John’s BBC Radio One colleague, Richard Skinner. Peel describes how the remainder of his weekend went, listening to new music and venting his disappointment about it. “Truly awful new records, most of them were pretentious, unimaginative and or just plain flatulent. It’s really difficult finding new records to play on the radio.”

He was impressed by the ‘Freeze’ session.

07. Freeze: From The Bizarre (session)

Freeze were formed by a group of school friends in Linlithgow, Scotland during the late seventies. This was their second and final session. There is a noticeable ‘Cure’ influence on this track.

08. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five: The Birthday Party 

This 12" single released on the Sugar Hill label was played after Peel had been inspired by reading ‘Collusion’ magazine. 

It was founded in 1981 and folded in 1983, after only five, but influential issues. It focused on what is now known as ‘World Music.’ Peel recalls, that he thought he and his listeners were missing out on not hearing these sounds. 

Indeed as the 80’s progressed his programmes became ever and ever more eclectic. An article in the magazine felt that there was an inherent bias in music journalism regarding genre and race. 

This perhaps prompted Peel as well as his disappointment at wasting his weekend listening to rubbish, to look outside the UK press for further information on the latest trends. 

A few months later he would invite US correspondent, Bob George on the show to discuss and play tracks from the current New York music scene.

09. Birthday Party:
Release The Bats

Previously called ‘The Boys Next Door’. Nick Cave would go on to worldwide fame with his next band, the Bad Seeds. This single was released on the influential label 4AD and became a particular favourite of Peel and his listeners. The all-time Festive 50 for 1981 saw it placed at #19 sandwiched between the Clash & the Undertones.

10. Freeze: Building On Holes (session)
Announced as Theatre of Hate, this was in fact the 2nd session track by Freeze. It’s a very strong track endorsed by Peel. The band would change their name to ‘Cindytalk’ and move to London in 1982, releasing a debut album ‘Camouflage Heart’ two years later.


11. Ann Sydney: The Boy In The Woolly Sweater
Peel would often drop in a seemingly completely out of place song from a different time and age, entirely incongruous to the rest of the show. I’m sure he was just doing it to have fun at his listener’s expense, sometimes it would provoke angrily worded letters arriving for him via the BBC. This 1965 single was released on the His Masters Voice label. 


12. Misty In Roots: City Blues
Sweet roots reggae music from one of Britain’s finest reggae acts. This track was selected from their second album ‘Wise And Foolish’ on the band’s own People Unite label.

13. Theatre Of Hate: Love Is A Ghost (session)
An early version of a track that appeared on the 1982 debut album ‘West World’ produced by Mick Jones of the Clash.

14. Damned: Neat Neat Neat
Peel unusually plays a listener’s request. This classic punk single, was released in early 1977 on the Stiff label.

15. John Martyn: Please Fall In Love With Me
The album ‘Glorious Fool’ released on WEA was less acclaimed than the 1980 ‘Grace & Danger’ album also with Phil Collins on drums.. This track emphasizes Collins skill on the drum kit and the woozy lazy sounding vocal style that shot Martyn to fame on his enduring classic 1973 album ‘Solid Air’. 

16. The Creatures: Mad Eyed Screamer
A double pack single titled ‘Wild Things’ released on the Polydor label. It features Siouxsie on vocals and Budgie from the Banshees on drums and percussion. Extending a rhythmic and prominent drums sequence that began with the previous track by John Martyn and ran through to the Pop Group.

17. Theatre Of Hate: Conquistador (session)
This early song would also appear on the debut album. It received mixed reviews, many complaining about the thin sound and the producer’s inexperience. The reviewers were apparently expecting a facsimile of the band’s live performance.

18. Scientist: The Winner
This track by maestro dub producer & engineer Scientist, appeared on a split album ‘Three The Hard Way’ with Maxie & Barnabas. It was released on the Silver Camel label

19. Rip Rig + Panic: Totally Naked (Without Lock Or Key)
Taken from the debut album ‘God’ released by Virgin, on two 12-inch singles playing at 45rpm. Singer Neneh Cherry went on to a successful solo career in the late 80’s.

20. Roland Kirk Quartet featuring Elvin Jones: Rip, Rig & Panic
A rare occurrence Peel plays jazz. There were often underlying themes on his show. The band above was named after this 1965 jazz album title, released on the Mercury label.

21. Pop Group:
She Is Beyond Good And Evil
A classic 1979 single released on the Radar label. A reviewer commented that it was “One of the greatest debuts in the history of rock music, it grabs you by the throat from the first few seconds. Mark Stewart sounds like a man possessed while guitars chime and Bruce Smith's drums lope menacingly. Bringing in legendary reggae producer Dennis Bovell was an inspired idea.”

22. Associates: A
The band’s seventh single was released on the Fiction label. Following three top ten UK indie chart singles this missed the chart, like the earlier‘Kites’ single. In 1982 the band would go on to have commercial success with the UK top ten ‘Sulk’ album and charting singles.

23. Freeze: Location (session)
Their final session track, sessions would usually consist of four songs.

24. Cramps: Save It
Much of the music played on tonight’s programme has a raw rhythmic intensity and passion to it. Not the kind you can play in the background, this Cramps track from the 12-inch single ‘The Crusher’ released on IRS is a prime example with its sparse sound and verve.

25. Barrington Levy: Deep In The Dark
The fourth reggae track played on tonight’s show. This single released on the B.L. Sounds label unfortunately cuts out as the cassette tape runs out. Many of these recordings were made using C-90 cassette tapes. The 90-minute cassette was an ideal compromise with 45+ minutes on each side. After a quick change over at the 45-minute mark, it meant a good three-quarter of the programme could be recorded. The longer C-120 tapes enabled a two-hour recording but the thinner tape used was prone to breakages, stretching or jamming in the tape mechanism. 



BBC Radio 1 FM broadcast > Sugden T28 Tuner > C-90 Cassette > Nakamichi Cassette Deck > Unknown digitising process > WAV > 320k mp3

Recording not split into individual tracks.