John Peel’s BBC 1 radio show was iconic at the time it aired. In hindsight, it’s only grown all the more legendary. The legendary broadcaster recorded over 4,000 sessions with over 2,000 artists, which is, objectively speaking, a lot. To help make sorting through the Peel Sessions archive easier, angel-in-disguise and blogger Dave Strickson has uploaded and alphabetized hundreds of available recordings from the show to stream online (via BrooklynVegan).
Most of the original studio sessions from Peel’s radio show were released as Peel Session EPs by his label, Strange Fruit Records, but many of those are unavailable to stream online. Thankfully, listeners occasionally upload those almost-lost-to-time recordings to YouTube. That’s where Strickson comes in. To help make the process of digging through the Peel Sessions archive fun again, he’s re-uploaded all of the YouTube recordings into a clean, long, A-to-Z list on his website.
Strickson’s catalog of Peel Sessions verges on a thousand entries. As such, there’s too many remarkable recordings to count: David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars, The Cure, Nick Drake, Joy Division, Nirvana, Can, The Kinks, Cocteau Twins, Pavement, New Order, Buzzcocks, The Smiths, Hole, My Bloody Valentine, Bikini Kill, PJ Harvey, The Slits, Pulp, The Raincoats, T-Rex, Billy Bragg, Butthole Surfers, and even Jack White.
It’s a pretty mind-blowing to think all of these artists sat in the same studio over the years, nevermind that they were being recorded. The list can be overwhelming; That’s why we’ve chosen a few highlights to share below, including Bowie in 1972, The Cure in 1979, Nirvana in 1991, Joy Division in 1979, Bikini Kill in 1993, and Can in 1975.