John Peel, the legendary UK DJ for the BBC‘s Radio One and Radio Four died suddenly last night while on vacation with his wife in Cuzco, Peru.
Peel had been a Radio One host since the station’s inception in 1967, when he was only 28. Peel was a rebel in radio, refusing to talk over records or stick to the hits of the day, helping to launch the careers of hundreds of major pop and rock artists, including David Bowie, T-Rex, Jimi Hendrix, The Clash, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Pogues, Nirvana,Public Enemy, Pulp and New Order. In recent years he helped showcase new bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand. Over the years his show featured the Peel Sessions, live in-studio recordings of bands, many of which later made it to release on vinyl and CD. In 1979 he made history by being the first English DJ to play a song twice in a row, “Teenage Kicks” by the Northern Ireland band, The Undertones. The song became Peel’s favorite and it was how BBC Radio One chose to announce the death of one of its founding DJ’s. In recent years Peel was working on his autobiography which, according to Philippe Naughton in London’s Times Online, was only half-finished and had only reached Peel’s time in the US at age 20.
John Peel was 65 years old and his survived by his second wife of 30 years Sheila and four children. He will be missed.
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Photo © Times Online