For those who don't know, the late, legendary, longtime BBC Radio DJ John Peel was one of the most influential and important people in British music from the 1960s through his death in 2004.

He arose in the mid-1960s as the BBC was forced to modernise its programming, and for the next four decades, he played a vital and arguably peerless role in just about every wave of contemporary music, from psychedelia through punk and Britpop and electronic music.

His incredible taste is reflected in the list of artists whose careers he supercharged with his many radio shows and "Peel Sessions," from Pink Floyd through Rod Stewart, T. Rex and David Bowie to countless punk, new wave, shoegaze, grindcore and other artists. While his reputation has been tarnished by alleg

The late deejay John Peel’s astonishing music archives go up for auction

For those who don’t know, the late, legendary, longtime BBC Radio DJ John Peel was one of the most influential and important people in British music from the 1960s through his death in 2004.

He arose in the mid-1960s as the BBC was forced to modernise its programming, and for the next four decades, he played a vital and arguably peerless role in just about every wave of contemporary music, from psychedelia through punk and Britpop and electronic music.

His incredible taste is reflected in the list of artists whose careers he supercharged with his many radio shows and “Peel Sessions,” from Pink Floyd through Rod Stewart, T. Rex and David Bowie to countless punk, new wave, shoegaze, grindcore and other artists. While his reputation has been tarnished by allegations of sexual abuse, his influence on popular music is vast and undeniable.

And some 18 years after his death, dozens of precious items from his archives are being auctioned off by Bonhams – and the catalogue is a museum exhibit in itself. Many of those artists were his friends – and as we see here, many future superstars sought his attention.

There are letters from John Lennon, Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Bolan, and handwritten lyric sheets from the latter. There are autographed albums and test pressings from Lennon and Yoko Ono, including one of the notorious Two Virgins album, with a cover photo of the two of them nude and an original copy of the Beatles’ White Album autographed by Lennon.

There’s a copy of the rarest Rolling Stones album – the 1969 Promotional Album – signed by all five members of the band, and acetates of the group’s 1970 live album Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! as they originally intended it, as a double disc with a companion album featuring opening acts B.B. King and Ice & Tina Turner on Apple Records.

There’s copy of U2’s early Three EP with a note from Bono written on the sleeve.

There are test pressings or acetates of records by the Stones, Lennon, Pink Floyd, T. Rex, Captain Beefheart, Elvis Costello, the Specials, the Smiths and many others. A cassette of the first demo from the Smiths with a handwritten letter from Morrissey. There’s a poster of a 1967 concert that Peel organised featuring Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Pink Floyd, the Move, the Animals and more.

An original acetate from Bob Dylan and the Band’s legendary Basement Tapes sessions. A ticket to the 1968 premiere of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film. Joy Division’s insanely rare first EP, An Ideal for Living, with a letter from drummer Stephen Morris.

Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones 1973 tour T-shirts. A copy of Queen II with a letter from Freddie Mercury. A bounty of rare Sex Pistols items, including test pressing of their first single and a poster from their notorious 1976 Anarchy In The UK tour with the Damned, the Clash and Johnny Thunders. Gold and silver discs from the Specials and Siouxsie & the Banshees, P.J. Harvey, New Order, even the Fugees.

And toward the end of the catalogue, there’s an autographed Kate Bush singles boxed set. Nirvana’s legendary first single, Love Buzz.

For people who can afford such things, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But for music geeks like us with considerably shallower bank accounts, it’s an equally rare opportunity to dream… and drool. Enjoy. – Reuters



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