For those who don’t know, the late, legendary and longtime BBC Radio DJ John Peel was one of the most influential and important people in British music of the 1960s until his death in 2004.
It originated in the mid-1960s as the BBC was forced to modernize its programming, and for the next four decades played a vital and arguably unrivaled role in just about every wave of contemporary music, from psychedelia to punk, Britpop and electronic music. . His incredible taste is reflected in the list of artists whose careers he has boosted with his numerous radio shows and “Peel Sessions”, from Pink Floyd to Rod Stewart, T. Rex and David Bowie to countless punk, new wave, shoegaze, grindcore and others. artists. While her reputation has been tarnished by allegations of sexual abuse, her influence on popular music is vast and undeniable.
And some 18 years after his death, dozens of precious items from his archive are up for auction by Bonhams – and the catalog is a museum exhibit in itself (check it out here). Many of these artists were his friends – and as we see here, many future superstars caught his eye.
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 of Lennon and Yoko Ono, including one of the notorious “Two Virgins” albums, with a cover photo of the two of them naked (estimated auction price: 15,000- £20,000 – that’s $25,000) and an original copy of The Beatles’ “White Album” autographed by Lennon.
There’s a copy of the Rolling Stones’ rarest album – the 1969 ‘Promotional Album’ – signed by all five band members (£6,000-8,000), and acetates of the band’s live album from 1970’s “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!” as they originally planned, as a double disc with a companion album featuring opening acts BB King and Ice & Tina Turner on Apple Records.
There’s a copy of U2’s debut EP “Three” with a note from Bono written on the cover.
There are test pressings or record acetates of the Stones, Lennon, Pink Floyd, T. Rex, Captain Beefheart, Elvis Costello, the Specials, the Smiths and many more. A tape of the Smiths’ first demo with a handwritten letter from Morrissey. There’s a poster of a 1967 concert Peel hosted 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 premiere of The Beatles’ 1968 film ‘Yellow Submarine’. Joy Division’s incredibly rare debut EP, ‘An Ideal for Living’, with a letter from drummer Stephen Morris (£4,000-6,000).
Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones 1973 tour t-shirts. A copy of “Queen II” with a letter from Freddie Mercury. An abundance of rare Sex Pistols merchandise, including the test pressing of their debut single and a poster of their famous 1976 ‘Anarchy in the UK’ tour with the Damned, the Clash and Johnny Thunders. Gold and silver records from the Specials and Siouxsie & the Banshees, PJ Harvey, New Order, even the Fugees.
And towards the end of the catalog there is a singles box autographed by Kate Bush. Nirvana’s legendary debut single, ‘Love Buzz’ (#470 of 1,000: £3,000-4,000).
For people who can afford such things, this is a unique opportunity. But for music geeks like us with considerably shallower bank accounts, it’s an equally rare opportunity to dream… and drool. Enjoy…