John Peel is a British DJ, radio producer, journalist, and broadcast personality. Known for his diverse taste in music, Peel presented on radio from 1967 to 2004 when he died of a heart attack. Peel possessed a certain notoriety for playing whatever pleased him on the air with disregard for standard musical customs. This attitude towards music made him one of the most beloved personalities, and certainly one of the most missed. He also had a massive record collection. Containing over 26,000 LPs, 40,000 singles, and many more CDs, Peel organized his collection with a meticulous index system.
All of the albums on his seemingly endless shelves were assigned an index number which could be cross referenced to a filing cabinet filled with alphabetically ordered cards Peel typed on his Olivetti typewriter. As part of The John Peel Project, funded by the British Arts Council, 2,600 of the albums from his collection will be digitized including photos of the albums, links to the music, and a scan of the index card made by Peel. The collection will be released 100 albums per week starting today and running until October.
In the first 100 released today, there is an exciting variety in music. Mike Absalom, the Mick Abrahams Band, Action Pact, AC Temple, à;Grumh…, Abwarts, and many others all sit on the same virtual shelf. Going through the archive is a precise analogy to thumbing through someone’s crates, and it’s equally time consuming and entrancing. Dig in.