My Musical Education – part 3 – Noel Edmunds and John Peel

Wednesday 27th January

Noel joined Radio one in the early seventies.  He used to have a two hour show on Sunday mornings.  And he had both an Artist of the Week and an Album of the week.  Looking back, maybe he didn’t actually choose either, but he talked with such enthusiasm and apparent knowledge that he must have at least liked them himself.  And most of these Artists were from America, specifically California.  I had never heard of them, at that time they weren’t mainstream at all.  Noel introduced me to Joni, Neil Young, John Stewart and Jackson Browne and many more– and I rushed out and sought out their records, sometimes very hard to find from a few independent record shops.  He even featured such obscure artists as Judee Sill and Dory Previn, and he loved to tell us who was playing on them; the whole Laurel Canyon session fraternity.  Gradually many of these artists would come over and the Beeb would feature them ‘In Concert’ or later on ‘Sight and Sound’ on BBC 2 too.  So, thanks Noel – who of course soon moved off onto the Breakfast Slot and became bland and famous.  Deal or No Deal?

John Peel was on very late at night and though I wasn’t a regular listener I often tuned in before turning in at night.  He played whatever took his fancy, and his fancy became pretty obscure at times.  But I was always intrigued and it opened my ears to lots of different music including German Electronica such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream.  He even played cassette demo’s sent in by new bands who didn’t even have a record out, which in its way may have paved the way for punk. Now, I stopped listening to Peelie when he embraced Punk, which I never really liked that much (I liked the idea but the execution was more often appalling than good).  But I returned to John Peel many times over the years, often just to see what on earth he would play next.  And it made me realise that there is no such thing as bad music, there is just some music I am less familiar with.