John Peel Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


John Peel

Birthday :

August 30, 1939

Died On :

October 25, 2004

Birth Place :

Heswall, Merseyside, United Kingdom

Zodiac Sign :


Chinese Zodiac :


Birth Element :


John Peel, whose real name is John Robert Parker Ravenscraft, lived between 30 August 1939 to 25 October 2004. John Peel was his stage name or pseudonym. He was of English Descent, for he was a disc jockey, an on air presenter, a producer and also a journalist. The original BBC Radio1 had John Peel as one of its longest serving Djs. Air career spanned from 1967 till his death in 2004.

John Peel was among the pioneers of psychedelic rock and progressive rock records being played on British Radio. His fame spread far and wide in that he didn’t discriminate against any genre of music and gave all genres an equal chance. He was according to DJ Paul Gambaccini referred to as “the most important man in music for dozen years.” An iconic moment for him in 2012 was when he was selected among British Icons to feature on Sir Peter Blake’s new version of his most famous artwork the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album Cover.

His on-air moments were notable for regular “Peel Session,” which involves an artist recording four songs live in the studio of BBC, which often gives such an artist his first push to stardom in that, he is guaranteed a national reach which might, in turn, propel him to fame. His BBC Radio4 programme Home Truths made him more popular among the audience of the station in the 1990s. The Home Truth involves the audience calling in to give exposure to their everyday lives.

His Life And Career

John Robert aka John Peel was born on the 30th August 1939 in Heswall Cottage Hospital, in Heswall on the Wirral Peninsula, near Liverpool, and his childhood was spent at the proximate village of Burton. He went to school as a boarder at Shrewsbury school, where Monty Python member Michael Palin happens to be a concomitant.

AT an early age, Peel started showing passion for listening to the radio and collecting records too. His housemaster wrote one day that he hopes Peel makes something out of the love he has been showing. In a posthumous autobiography, it was revealed of how peel was raped by an older student.

Having finished his service to the nation in 1959 in the Royal Artillery as a B2 radar operator, John Peel went head to work at Townhead Mill in Rochdale as a mill operative.


Life In The United States

At just age 21, John Peel went to work with a business associate of his father at the United States who happened to be a cotton producer, when his job was done, he took a couple of others such as, working as a travelling insurance salesman. While he worked at the insurance company in Dallas, he had the opportunity to meet the presidential candidate John F. Kennedy and his running mate Lyndon B. Johnson, who at that moment were rallying for supports from electorates, and he took pictures of them.

After the assassination of John Kennedy, Peel made himself available as a reporter for Liverpool Echo in the arraignment of Lee Harvey Oswald. During his work at the insurance company, he wrote various programs for punch card entry for a computer, of which he was recognized as a programmer. He got his first on a radio station in Dallas. He worked as a presenter for the second hour of the Monday night programme Kat’s Karawan. He worked at various stations in Dallas including, Klif, worked at Koma in Oklahoma, until 1965 when he moved to Kmen located in San Bernardino, using the name John Ravenscroft on air.


Return to Britain

Returning to England in 1967, John Peel found work with the privately owned station, Radio London. The name “Peel” came after it was being suggested by a Radio London secretary and it went on to pave the way for him. After the closure of Radio London on August 14, he joined BBC’s new Radio 1 which happens to be a pop music station.  His success from Radio London continued in that, the night ride programme which features genres of music like folk, blues, rock, classical and electronic music.

John Peel's night ride programme featured individuals from all spheres of life. One standout of the programme was its devotion to songs of non Western origin. Peel divorced his wife in 1973 after which his personal life came back on track as the speculations with his ex-wife were telling on him. On August 31, 1974, Peel married his girlfriend, Sheila, wearing  Liverpool Jersey to his wedding and having the Liverpool “You will never walk alone” played.

His enthusiasm for music often got him into trouble as an occasion where he had an issue with a station controller for playing a particular genre of music. He brought much young and new act to the mainstream with his programme and hence had a lot of CDs being sent to him. Peel at a point later started broadcasting from the house. His love for Liverpool he expressed by giving his children a Liverpool related name.


His Death                                                            

John Peel died of a heart attack at the age of 65 on the 25 October 2004 on a working holiday in Peru. He once said he always thought he would die by driving beneath a truck. Peel was a music lover,a producer and a dj whose impact to music cannot be over emphasized.

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