Peeling in the Years

John Peel died on this day six years ago and Webbie over at Football & Music has decided to commemorate the great man by getting bloggers and users of social media to put up a track from a Peel session by one their favourite acts. You can read more about it and find out what other bloggers are up to over at Keeping It Peel. Peel started recording sessions in 1967 and these continued right up to his death in 2004. Unsurprisingly, The Fall recorded the most (24) with David Gedge matching that figure as part of The Wedding Present and also Cinerama. Some of the biggest acts from the British Isles such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Radiohead and U2 never recorded a Peel session, while Lulu, The Shadows, Gerry & the Pacemakers and Terence Trent D’Arby actually did. Many Irish acts made the short trip across The Irish Sea to the BBC studios and today I present a session track from eight of these

Thin Lizzy were the first Irish rock band to make it big outside their own country and they recorded seven Peel sessions from 1972 to 1977. Dancing in the Moonlight comes from their final one and it was recorded in August of that year. Stiff Little Fingers from Belfast formed in 1977 and they recorded five sessions between 1978 and 1981. Wasted Life appeared on the first of those. Hailing from Derry, The Undertones also recorded the first of their six sessions in 1978. Here Comes the Summer comes from the second one. They recorded their fifth session in 1982 and had to wait nearly 21 years for their final one. Only The Incredible String Band, Faust and Gary Numan had longer intervals between sessions. Of course, Peel’s favourite song was Teenage Kicks by The Undertones. They never recorded it for a session, but Ash from Newry did a version of it in 2001. They had previously done three Peel sessions between 1994 and 1999

Microdisney recorded six sessions between 1983 and 1986. Loftholdingswood is taken from their third one in May 1984. The Pogues would have been more used to drinking sessions, but they recorded two Peel ones and both were broadcast in 1984. Streams of Whiskey is taken from the first session in April and was recorded under the band’s original name of Pogue Mahone before the BBC forced them to change it. The Boys from the County Hell was also recorded for this session but was deemed unsuitable for broadcast, presumably due to its lyrical content. The final two acts both recorded a solitary session each. The Sultans of Ping FC from Cork recorded theirs in March 1992 and it includes their ode to Nigel ‘Son of Brian’ Clough. The Would Bes from Dublin recorded their session in March 1990. My Radio Sounds Different in the Dark was one of the tracks broadcast and it probably sounds different because there are fewer visual distractions to interfere with the music coming through from the radio. I found a book called The Peel Sessions by Ken Garner to be of great assistance in the creation of this post, so thanks a million to its author for his endeavours

Dancing in the Moonlight – Thin Lizzy

Wasted Life – Stiff Little Fingers

Here Comes The Summer – The Undertones

Teenage Kicks (Undertones cover) – Ash

Loftholdingswood – Microdisney

Streams of Whiskey – The Pogues

Give Him A Ball & a Yard of Grass – Sultans of Ping

My Radio Sounds Different in the Dark – The Would Bes


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