Posts Tagged ‘BBC Radio 1’

CHANGESNOWBOWIE is a 9-track session recorded for radio and broadcast by the BBC on David’s 50th birthday on 8th January, 1997. The broadcast originally featured an interview with David by Mary Ann Hobbs interspersed with specially recorded birthday messages and questions from the likes of Scott Walker, Damon Albarn, Bono, Robert Smith and many more. The interview and birthday messages do not feature on this album. This mostly acoustic session was a stripped back affair featuring some of David’s favourites of his own compositions and was produced by Bowie himself, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati.

The first greatest-hits set was called Changesonebowie, and the title has proven irresistible to his compilers: That collection was followed by 1981’s Changestwobowie, 1990’s Changesbowie, and 1997’s radio special ChangesNowBowie. Interspersing clips of a long interview with Mary Anne Hobbs with exclusive performances recorded during November 1996 rehearsals for his 50th-birthday concert at Madison Square Garden, ChangesNowBowie originally aired on BBC Radio 1 the week of Bowie’s birthday. Bowie was feeling valedictory at the time, a mood that came through in both the musing interviews and the laid-back performances, backed only by guitarist Reeves Gabrels, bassist/vocalist Gail Ann Dorsey, and keyboardist Mark Plati.

The Hobbs-hosted show circulated intact on bootlegs for years, and the official LP was initially slated as a Record Store Day 2020 exclusive. Thanks to COVID-19, the physical release was pushed back, but the digital version is here, and the sanctioned release differs from the fans-only versions in substantial ways. All the interview segments with Hobbes have been excised, as have the birthday wishes from his peers and acolytes, leaving a tight 32 minutes of music—nine songs that appear in a different order than they did in the broadcast.

In strict terms of listenability, all the edits are logical. Radio requires a different rhythm than an album, and the BBC Radio 1 broadcast sometimes bogged down in discussions, albeit many of them fascinating. The show hit its emotional peak with a greeting from Scott Walker, who thanked Bowie “for your generosity in spirit when it comes to other artists. I’ve been the beneficiary on more than one occasion, let me tell you,” a sentiment that left Bowie speechless and teary. It was the one time he let his guard slip in the interview. Throughout the rest of the broadcast, he was garrulous and charming, sounding utterly comfortable embracing his role as an elder statesman of rock.

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On the surface, this isn’t as essential a release as other BBC John Peel sessions LPs. Because the Cocteau Twins used drum machines, the backing tracks and the rhythms replicate the known versions much more than other bands forced to record live in the studio. Yet these BBC John Peel Sessions is still a whopper of a treat for fans and the uninitiated, A sound that builds and builds until one is overcome with unspeakable, barely understood emotions  as Elizabeth Fraser starts to blossom into one of the most riveting voices to ever blow air into a mic.

The original members were Elizabeth Fraser (vocals), Robin Guthrie (guitar, drum machine) and Will Heggie (bass guitar), who was replaced by Simon Raymonde (also bass guitar) early in the band’s career.
These BBC Sessions were released as an an album of BBC studio recordings by the band The Cocteau Twins released in 1999 by Bella Union in the UK and Rykodisc in the US. The album spanned the band’s career from the early 1980s through the 1990s. Taken from a series of early 1980s Peel sessions. Throughout most of the Eighties, Peel made favourable comments on the band in interviews.

The band were discovered by Peel when they sent demo tapes to him and the 4AD label. After hearing the demo, Peel invited the group to do a session for his show in 1982. The 4AD label heard the track and signed them. Peel would play their songs throughout most of the Eighties, although by the time the band released their 1988 ‘Blue Bell Knoll’ album, his interest appeared to have waned. At the end of 1988, Peel’s listeners voted their track ‘Carolyn Fingers’ in the 1988 Festive Fifty, despite the DJ not playing any tracks from the album throughout the year.

John Peel Session, 15th July 1982

“Alas Dies Laughing” – 3:29
“Feathers-Oar-Blades” – 2:19
“Garlands” – 4:19
“Wax and Wane” – 3:50

John Peel Session, 31st January 1983

“Hearsay Please” – 4:23
“Dear Heart” – 3:37
“Blind Dumb Deaf” – 3:41
“Hazel” – 3:22

John Peel Session, 4th October 1983

“Strange Fruit” (Billie Holiday cover written by Abel Meeropol) – 1:52
“From the Flagstones” – 3:
“The Tinderbox (Of A Heart)” – 4:46
“Hitherto” – 3:57

In 1984 Peel included ‘From The Flagstones’ by the Cocteaus in his selections for “My Top Ten” and discussed the band with Andy Peebles. Cocteau Twins – From the Flagstones .Well, this is my favourite record of last year. And they were one of those bands again, like when I first heard them I thought, “Great, I’m glad I lived long enough to hear this.” My favourite record of last year, The Cocteau Twins and From The Flagstones. It’s a very, very pleasant voice actually. I like listening to that. Well, I like the extreme voices. I was just thinking that. Over the years it has always been people who have got the really idiosyncratic voices that I like Beefheart, Marc Bolan, Rod Stewart, Elizabeth Frazer of the Cocteaus, Mark Smith of The Fall people like them.

John Peel Session, 5th September 1984

“Pepper Tree”
“Whisht [Beatrix]”
“Peep-Bo [Ivo]”

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PunkRock/goth four piece Siouxsie and the Banshees were formed in 1976: Siouxsie Sioux (nee Susan Ballion) (vocals) and Steve Severin (bass) were the constant members of an aggregation that in its best-remembered line-up included John McKay (guitar) and Kenny Morris (drums). Siouxsie had been one of the hangers-on present during the Sex Pistols interview with Bill Grundy. Into this abnormally chaotic adolescence came the Sex Pistols. She latched on to the nascent punk movement and was one of the most visible members of the Bromley Contingent (along with future collaborator Steve Severin) and one of the first people visibly affected by the wave of energy emanating from punk.

Just a few months before this notorious TV appearance, Malcolm Maclaren prompted her to get The Banshees together with Severin on bass, Marco Pirroni (soon to be an Ant) on guitars and a young, John Ritchie (soon to be Sid Vicious) on drums. Apart from Pirroni, who was already a competent song writer and a good guitarist, it was a case of ‘God help us if there’s a war’ as they played a 20-minute improvised version of the Lord’s Prayer at the 100 Club. But 12 months after the Today appearance, everything had changed. With Pirroni departed to join Merrick, Terry, Lee, Gary Tibbs and his truly and Vicious already enjoying short tenure with the Pistols, the line-up settled around Sioux/Severin and John McKay on guitar and Kenny Morris on drums.

In a matter of months they’d gone from being the kind of band who “didn’t know which way up to hold a guitar or how to plug it in” to being a serrated yet sensuous attack unit. Their first Peel Session (‘Love In A Void’, ‘Mirage’, ‘Metal Postcard’, ‘Suburban Relapse’) shows a band who still had trace elements of glam rock, were strangely psychedelic, tribal and stentorian. This was assured, self-contained, original, startling and lots of other things that you would never normally associate with scenesterism.

Siouxsie said of the process like of recording a Peel Session back then, I think for us especially, we worked very quickly, mainly because we’d only played live before and partially it was dependant on who you had doing the session and some of it was about trying out different instruments and different sounds but they were all sessions that were done during the day and I really like them for that. And we always approached our B-sides like that and for me they are a side of the band that a lot of people don’t really get. But this is my favourite side of the band. I like seeing us working in a more spontaneous environment.

The Banshees changed musical direction in the early 80s after recruiting Budgie (drums) and one guitarist was the Cure’s Robert Smith. Siouxsie’s spiky hairdo and black make-up fixed the image of what a gothic band should be years ahead of its time, and album and single releases proved equally successful. John Peel was instrumental in kick-starting their career after producer John Walters had seen them at the Greyhound in Croydon. He gave them a session prior to their even having a recording contract, Peel played their debut release, “Hong Kong Garden”, at the top of his show every night for a week, and shamelessly plugged their first two LPs. Eventually, he tired of their material, the first signs of this being a luke warm response to the mid 1980 release of Kaleidoscope. He later stated a clear dislike for their cover of the Beatles “Dear Prudence”, and said on Peeling Back The Years in 1987 that “the stuff the Banshees do now doesn’t please me as much as the first things they did…I think the Banshees have become, not exactly predictable, but at the same time, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what it’s going to sound like.”

In a 1982 Smash Hits Radio 1 feature Peel cited Siouxsie & The Banshees as being an example of a group he championed, but who then, turn their backs on him. They did two sessions for the programme before they had a recording contract and now Siouxsie says her favourite DJ’s is Kid Jensen, he added. Siouxsie sat in as guest presenter on the Peel show on 20th October 2004, when Peel was on holiday in Peru.

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 29th November 1977 for the John Peel show and broadcast on 5th December 1977. Recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale, London, England . None of the songs had been released prior to the broadcast.


1. Love In A Void
2. Mirage
3. Metal Postcard
4. Suburban Relapse

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 6th February 1978 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 23rd of that month. recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale.

None of the songs had been released prior to the broadcast. The version of “Hong Kong Garden” is the only early studio recording on which the oriental hook is played on glockenspiel. The session also includes a version of “Overground” featuring a Hammond organ motif.


1. Hong Kong Garden
2. Overground
3. Carcass
4. Helter Skelter

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 9th April 1979 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 16th of that month.


1. Placebo Effect
2. Playground Twist
3. Regal Zone
4. Poppy Day

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 10th February 1981 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 18th of that month.


1. Halloween
2. Voodoo Dolly
3. But Not Them
4. Into The Light

The complete session recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees on 28th January 1986 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 3rd February 1986.


1. Candy Man
2. Cannons
3. Land’s End

All Five sessions. All are available on “Voices On The Air” – The Peel Sessions and “At The BBC” CD set.

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Roxy Music were recognisably human, but were just… better, somehow. Art spivs in an enchanted mirror. You could still, in a pinch, imagine them hanging around at the same fairgrounds as us, but they’d have been painting the Waltzers onto a triptych instead of physically spinning them.”

The newly remastered 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of Roxy Music’s debut album is out tomorrow. But for now here is a Peel Session from the same year the album was released .

The complete session recorded by Roxy Music on 4th January 1972 for John Peel on the Friday Night Is Boogie Night show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 21st of that month.


1. Remake Remodel (0:07)
2. B.O.B. Medley (5:05)
3. Would You Believe? (10:54)
4. If There Is Something (14:43)

The Only Ones formed in 1976 at the dawn of the punk era although while incorporating elements of that style they also brought studied musicianship with guitarist John Perry citing Jeff Beck and Hendrix as major influences. Singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist Peter Perrett, on the other hand, was steeped in the melancholic acid musings of Syd Barrett and his vocal phrasings often echoed the drawl of punk godfather Lou Reed. The band line-up was completed by Alan Mair on bass and ex-Spooky Tooth member Mike Kellie on drums.

Initially active in the late 1970s, they were associated with punk rock yet straddled the musical territory in between punk, power pop and rock, with noticeable influences from psychedelia (qualities they shared with contemporaries the Soft Boys).

The band’s debut album for CBS included the critically-acclaimed single ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’. Whilst it might be claimed that The Only Ones never realised their full potential, they were somewhat dogged by record label pressures, internecine wrangling and, inevitably, Peter Perrett’s drug dependency. The band split after working out their CBS contract in 1981.

Peel played the group’s self-released debut single when issued in summer 1977 and continued to support the group over the next few years, booking them for a total of four sessions. He described perennial Festive 50 favourite ‘Another Girl, Another Planet’ as an “artful little caprice” but wasn’t sure what to make of the group’s 1980 single “Fools”, a duet recorded with Pauline Murray, formerly of Penetration:

“still haven’t come to terms with the new Only Ones single featuring Pauline Murray. I see it as a sort of a bit of a jape. It’s quite an amiable record in a way but not what one expects at all. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. One looks forward to the forthcoming LP though.”

This didn’t dissuade him from playing it on at least two occasions though upon release.

In 1989 Peel was impressed with the release of a live album recorded in 1977 (“genuinely a first class LP” and a few years later mentioned that the group’s Peel sessions LP was amongst his favourite Strange Fruit releases .

Peel also played at least one track from England’s Glory, the band Perrett fronted immediately before forming the Only Ones and whose demo recordings were first issued in the late Eighties.

The complete session recorded by The Only Ones on 13th September 1977 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 20th of that month.

Tracklist: 1. Lovers Of Today (0:07) 2. Oh No (3:15) 3. Telescopic Love (Special View) (5:23) 4. In Betweens (8:11)

The complete session recorded by The Only Ones on 19th December 1978 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 3rd January 1979.

Tracklist: 1. Miles From Nowhere (0:07) 2. Flaming Torch (3:47) 3. From Here To Eternity (6:06) 4. Prisoners (9:30)

The complete session recorded on the 5th April 1978 by The Only Ones for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on the 14th of that month.

Tracklist: 1. Another Girl, Another Planet (0:07) 2. The Beast (3:07) 3. No Peace For The Wicked (8:47) 4. Language Problem (11:24)

The complete session recorded by The Only Ones on 21 May 1980 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 2nd June 1980.

Tracklist: 1. The Happy Pilgrim (0:07) 2. The Big Sleep (2:49) 3. Oh Lucinda (Love Becomes A Habit) (8:03) 4. Why Don’t You Kill Yourself (11:16)

1. Family Entertainment (0:10)
2. Listening In (3:08)
3. Billy’s Third (5:59)
4. Here Comes The Summer (8:21)

The complete session recorded by The Undertones on 22nd January 1979 for the John Peel show on BBC Radio 1 and broadcast on 5 February 1979.

Royal Blood cover The Police’s “Roxanne” in the Live Lounge for Fearne Cotton Radio Show and BBC Radio 1,

Royal Blood are purveyors of a frills-free, unequivocally boisterous hybrid of garage and modern rock. It’s a mighty sound that in many ways is an antithesis of The Police, who presented a more nuanced amalgamation of reggae, new wave, and jazz. Yet for whatever reason, the Brighton-based duo chose to pay tribute to their fellow countrymen by covering Sting and co.’s 1978 smash single “Roxanne”. Recorded during a recent Live Lounge session for BBC Radio 1, the resulting rendition eschews the lusty island vibes for pulverizing drums, snarling riffs, and all-out metal intensity.