For those who don’t know, today has been proclaimed John Peel Day, as my mate Ben Harrison in my birthplace Singapore reminds me. So, in this heathen land, where few people know of his existence (Nick, you’re a noble exception), it’s time for another poll to follow on from the (relative) success of last year’s clumsily-titled Best Of The Best Of The Best. That one celebrated the Festive Fifty: this time, what with all the Peel Sessions I have shared with you, celebrates that unique institution.
Simply put, I have created a form, accessible either below or from the sidebar, in Word format, which will allow you, dear reader, to vote for your five favourite sessions of all time. Download it and return to me (firstname.lastname@example.org): all entries received by 30 November (or sent before) will be entered.
It has to be said that last year’s chart was less than satisfactorily organised, and a raging cold coupled with technological problems prevented me from doing the podcast I wanted to do (it ended up as a Top 10 without links). This year, the experience has prepared me better. Not only will you get a nice warm-hearted show presented by me, but the sessions will be available for download…if they’re readily available. What I mean is, if you vote for Tony Capstick as number one, it’ll get a mention, but I won’t be able to offer it, because almost all his tracks were broadcast in a period (1971-4) where very few recordings of Peel exist.
However, that is a worst case scenario, so please get voting and make this a chart to be proud of, and tell your grandchildren about (if you already have some, get them to vote too). As I state on the form, there are only a few rules. These will be excluded:
- Artists who never did a session. I have no doubt that, if this were included, the Sex Pistols would make number one. Or the Clash. Or Depeche Mode. Or Radiohead. Or Snow Patrol. Or even Rick Wakeman (a blessing in disguise). But the fantasy session is an idea for another poll, surely. Just the facts, ma’am.
- Concert recordings intended for a wider audience than Peel and his listeners. This is the criterion Ken Garner used for compiling The Peel Sessions (an essential tome, which I will be using to check the entries), so please don’t vote for the James Taylor/Joni Mitchell gig featured in Adam’s Fades In Slowly…or David Bowie’s 1971 Paris concert, introduced by JP…or even the Led Zeppelin one where they play Stairway To Heaven for the first time…thank you.
- Sessions for other Radio One programmes. Kid Jensen, Janice Long, and Mark Goodier all broadcast excellent sessions, but they, dare I say, do not have the kudos of Peel, and yet again, are meat for further study elsewhere. So no Soft Cell, if you don’t mind.