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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 11:58 GMT 12:58 UK
John Walters: Your tributes
Award-winning former BBC broadcaster and radio producer John Walters has died suddenly at the age of 63.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
Send us your tributes.
It's just really sad. I have such happy teenage memories of him on Janice Long's Radio 1 show back in the mid 80s.
What a thoroughly clever and funny man - his voice will be missed from Radio 4.
He recorded a series, about eight years ago, looking at different UK holidays. It was sublime and hilarious. He was always on my fantasy dinner party list. Even though I haven't heard him for a long time, I will miss him. Peace, John.
I am a former technical operator for Network Radio. Very sorry to hear the news - fondly remember John Walters as a fine producer with Peely. Great sense of humour and risk taker. Great programmes. My thoughts to the family.
Bruce Meredeen, UK
Thank you John for seeing things from a unique perspective.
John Walters and John Peel achieved more than anyone else in the media to identify, propogate and encourage new talent.They both had that special enthusiasm for gently tipping everything over.
Growing up in the 70s and 80s, with a taste in "anything but pop", Peel and Walters and their commentaries on the music they played were truly welcome. John Walters subsequent "Week" and his contributions to TV and other radio programmes were truly unique. I will miss his distinctive voice and bright spin on things - please get a programme or two together to reflect his contributions - he will be sorely missed.
We'll miss you , you barmy old thing...."get your filthy hands off my reproducer".
Love and best wishes to all John's friends and family.
Part of my childhood died when I saw the news on teletext.
Chris Power, England
What a great loss to the world's music industry. The BBC was lucky to have such an original talent working for them for all these years. He will be sadly missed.
Very sorry indeed to hear of John's sudden death. He was part of a great radio team and his creativity and wit will be badly missed.
I am saddened to hear of John's sudden passing away.
His distinctive voice and broadcasting style will be greatly missed.
Rest in peace.
I'm on hols in the US but I'm very saddened to hear about the death of John Walters -
a wonderful broadcaster. Commiserations to his family and friends.
Along with the great DJ Mike Raven, John will never be forgotten.
Great music, great stories, great humour.
I grew up listening to the John Peel show, "new" music owes a lot to John Walters.
I just loved the sound and humour of his voice. He will be missed.
Iain Hepburn, London
He made me laugh.
It's no exaggeration to say that between about 1976 -1980 the John Peel shows which Walters produced saved me from adolescent despair. I also remember listening to his contributions to Janice Long's programme sitting in the bath. My mum would bang on the door wondering what on earth was going on as I howled with laughter as the water grew cold and my skin wrinkled like a prune. A broadcasting genius and a real character. I shall miss him.
He got me through some long evenings driving with Walters' Weekly - I had to stop driving I laughed so much sometimes. A very funny man and a loss to humanity.
Peel and Walters changed the face of the BBC. He'll be a great loss to intelligent broadcasting.
As a lad I used to love hearing Walters' Week items on the Radio 1 evening shows (in the days of Richard Skinner and Janice Long). His enthusiasm and obvious affection for anything good was infectious, without him I might never have discovered Astrud Gilberto or Vivian Stanshaw or Captain Beefheart, to name but three idols he immortalised in anecdote. If I've ever heard a broadcaster more instantly likeable and charming I can't think of one, I only pray he was not the last of his kind and I only envy those who got to hear his stories in person! I hope his family and friends find some comfort in knowing that even those that never met him loved him.
Hare Krishna to you John
Along with John Peel, John Walters' instinctive feel for original, new and eclectic music has indelibly influenced my life, helping me - and therefore the nation - feel the richness that comes from experiencing music and art that transcends. I feel proud that the BBC gave him the freedom to remain instinctive and unrestricted. I also hope the BBC never forgets what it has achieved in allowing such freedom, and never loses sight of these principles in the face of ever-increasing pressure to limit playlists to the bland, safe and commercial. John Walters will be deeply missed.
I enjoyed listening to him - no better accolade to a broadcaster. He'll be missed.
A man with such a sense of humour will be much missed.
One of the greats - a fantastically talented producer and broadcaster. His legacy was the numerous bands that Peel and he championed and the happy memories of his warm and superb broadcasts.
I am a Brit, now living in the US. I loved Peely's show, and John Walters helped make it fantastic. The two of them were great together. They had the best music around in the mid 70s with the punk invasion, and helped so many indie bands make it to mainstream. Sometimes it is the man behind the scenes who doesn't always get the credit - now it is due to him!
Thanks to the man who helped me see a whole new musical world when I was a mere kid!
(now age 35)
How sad to hear of the sudden death of John Walters. He was always one of my favourite broadcasters; his wit and intelligence shone through his work, and his partnership with John Peel was undoubtedly one of the best things that ever happened to British music. It's difficult to avoid clichés at times like this, but John Walters will certainly be missed. My sympathy and my deepest regrets go out to his family, his personal friends and all his numerous colleagues who must be feeling a great and sudden void in their lives.
I always wished he had been my uncle.
He never wasted a minute of his time on air. I'm really saddened by the news. RIP.
He was a good producer and broadcaster.
He provided an invaluable service in the 60s and 70s in giving new and strange groups air time on the John Peel show. A whole generation owes him a debt for this - and music today (especially the 'indie' scene) would be different without this legacy.
Pippa Salmon, UK
He and John Peel opened my ears and many minds.
As the proprietor of a mid 80s independent record label I was fortunate enough to deal with John on several occasions as the producer of the Peel show. Notably though, at a time when Radio 1's humour was dominated by the brash vulgarity of Steve Wright, John was, and continued to be, a beacon of clever, genuine and warm wit. Although not a household name, he was a treasure to those in the know, who will undoubtedly miss him.
A lovely, brash, no-nonsense irreverent style that captured the humour and imagination of a generation, he will be sadly missed by all of us.
John, in my mind radio is a medium to conquer all. Always available to the masses wherever you are in the world. To lose anybody from the world of radio is a sad loss, but to have to retune the airwaves for you John, is a broadcasting disaster.
Let Walters' Weekly live on!
Only last week I was reading how John Walters was determined to outlive John Peel so he could be at his funeral.
Well, I'm sad for John Walters that he didn't achieve his wish, but obviously glad for John Peel that he didn't!
John Walters was a big part of my life though I never met him, in my memories are songs that define important events in my life and most of them are ones that were introduced to me by John Walters and John Peel.
He will be missed.
Howard Spencer, UK
As a big big fan of Peel and Walters I would like to offer my respects to the talents of John Walters. My memory of him will be as the leader of the Radio 1 combo featuring himself, Peel, Andy Kershaw and Liz someone, playing Freight Train on a washboard on the 1985 NYE show. Great stuff suitably followed by Jesus and Mary Chain's In a Hole. I'm sure he would appreciate this.
Uncruel wit, visionary ears, humerous genius.
Thank you for sharing it with us, John.
Having been a regular listener to John Walters's twice-weekly slots on Janice Long's programme in 1985 - 86, I was quite sad to hear today's news. To this day, I haven't forgotten the anecdote about how he sustained injury not through defending a tube passenger from a racist gang (as he first said) but from his fat cat jumping on him in the night; nor the one about having a bag of broken biscuits in his BBC briefcase ready to give to the `Broken Biscuit Company' wisecracker. Ding-a-ling-a-ling, art! Indeed.
John's humour was unsurpassed!
John Walters was a funny and generous colleague during my brief tenure at Egton House (home to Radio 1). He will be best remembered for his dry, cynical sense of humour. Just two comments about your on-line tribute - John's association with John Peel lasted a good deal longer than 12 years. As far as I remember, he only ceased producing Peel's programme in about 1992. Also, you mention his trumpet-playing, but John was a great jazz vocalist too, and his musicianship was a highlight at the BBC Club every Friday lunchtime.
Darren Stephens, UK
A sad loss. He was always interesting and provocative. We need more broadcasters like him today.
I wish I could think of something amusing, when all I can really say is that I enjoyed a lot of his work, and am eternally grateful for the imagination he and John Peel demonstrated in their support and promotion of so many bands. Something trivial maybe: am I the only one that used to listen to the Fluff Freeman rock show only so I could listen to the trails the two Johns produced?
Walters and Peel changed the way several generations looked at and listened to new music. They broke down all the old barriers and gave us a fresh and exciting look at new music, much of which would never have seen its way onto the airwaves without their guiding hand. During my musically addicted teenage years (I'm still a musically addicted teenager, 30 years later), my Dad's everlasting chorus on a Sunday afternoon was "For God's sake turn off that bloody racket"....and of course he was referring to Top Gear and of course I did not!
I suppose this means that Mr Peel will really have to do some work now!
I was very sad to hear of John. I met him when I appeared on Here and Now, and he visited my home. It was a great day and I will always remember it. He was really friendly and made my ten minutes of fame very enjoyable. Thanks John.
I would describe myself as a fan of Walters; for his humour, his talent, and - most of all - his voice!
Being only in my late teens I still think of John Walters as someone who could cut through the rubbish of today's music with his wit and character.
I remember the voice of John Walters when my family and I first came to the UK. You will be missed tremendously. Rest in peace.
I had the pleasure of working with John many times during my years at Egton House, and fondly recall the last time I saw him in November, compering a leaving party for Radio 1's Chris Lycett at the 100 Club. As he'd done for his whole BBC career, he had the cynical and potentially hostile audience of radio's great and the good in hysterics. It was so nice to see he'd lost none of those wry comedic skills when describing life at the Beeb in the 21st century.
As an after-dinner speaker John also had few peers, eliciting that same belly-aching response from hardened businessmen who, until his 30 minutes of crafted observations on children's TV, had simply been waiting for the strip-o-gram to turn up!
I see an earlier tribute says "He made me laugh".
What finer accolade could there be for anyone?
A sad loss. With John Peel, he was responsible for perhaps the finest music shows ever on radio. Witty and, at times, brutally honest. He will be sadly missed.
A hilarious man who made me smile everytime I heard his voice. My thoughts go out to his family. RIP.
Mary Gearey, Uganda
I knew John for a while in the sixties just before he joined the BBC, he was a great character then, and every time I heard his voice it was like listening to an old friend. A very sad loss.
The man's vocal delivery and musical tastes have brought me a lot of pleasure. A sad loss.
John Walters was an infectiously enthusiastic and very funny man. He will be missed.
He made me laugh out loud. Had a way of putting a unique slant on things.
So long Mr Walters.
A real shame. I remember him from my first session for John Peel, a really nice bloke. RIP.
John Walters, Keith Moon and Viv Stanshall. What a party they will be having right now.
Steve Goodair, England
John was always nice in a time when most of the BBC were arrogant. Thanks for some great years.
In many ways John Walters helped to shape the musical tastes of a generation. In the 70s and 80s his ability to recognise and support new talent set the musical agenda for those decades. A great loss.
Many mornings on our way into the BBC, the train journey from Surrey was made more sane by his company. The wit was still there if we happened to meet on the way home. You'll be missed, but not forgotten.
Thank you for what you did.
A great chap who did a lot for getting some of the more esoteric music onto the wireless to be heard by people like myself. Rest in peace.
I fondly remember the adverts that both Johns did for Peel's show where Walters's contribution consisted of tuts and groans alongside Peel's weekly trouncing of "Timmy Banockburn", "Dickie Lee Turbo DLT" and Rick Wakeman.
He was of course responsible for getting Viv Stanshall's Rawlinson End on air, through determination, skill and a steadfast belief in the artist. As a producer he allowed people to shine. As a presenter he shone too. A sad day for radio.
Heather Skull, UK
He was one of those people whose significance you don't realise till they've gone. Radio was richer with him around, whether he was working with Peel introducing music you didn't know you wanted until you heard it, or discussing some bizarre local oddity on Radio 4.
I suspect we will never know the true impact of John Walters' contribution to John Peel's "Top Gear". I also suspect that without Walters' influence we would perhaps have never known some truly great bands and musicians. He was also a gifted broadcaster with a unique natural charm and wit. He will be sorely missed by many.
John's family, John Peel and his many friends (known and anonymous) will all be comforted by the knowledge that so many of us really valued and respected his work. I worked for the Beeb in the 60s and 70s at Television Centre, but always secretly longed to work with the two Johns, who were clearly having such fun. His legacy will live in on in broadcasting.
My wife and I are saddened by the death of this very witty and entertaining broadcaster.
I was saddened to hear of the death of John Walters. To those of us who have grown up listening to the radio his voice was an influence and one that we loved. I'll miss you John.
Nick Berry, UK
People look at me strangely when I say:
I remember John from Radio 1 with Janice Long nearly wetting herself as she laughed at his stories about doughnuts being freshly made and the sound the sugar makes when you shake it on them... I note that it was Mark and Lard that mentioned it on Radio 1. The lads might laugh about the 'pre-pop' years (before 3 years ago) but it's true. Walters and his contemporaries laid the foundation stones of broadcasting and were, frankly, a shed load better than what's on offer now.
Walters, along with Peel (the two are inseparable in my mind) is probably the main reason why I pursued a career in radio. As a teenager I used to tune into any programme that involved him. He was hugely entertaining, witty and compassionate. His enthusiasm for music was only matched by that of John Peel's. He is a legend and will be greatly missed.
I'll miss his knowledge and "so laid back he's horizontal" style.
How will JP go on without his influence?
Please repeat Walters' Week(ly).
The Keith Moon shows John was involved with in the 70s have to be replayed as a tribute to a great man who will be missed.
I never met you, I was never likely to meet you. But I felt that I knew you - and that's what good broadcasters are all about.
Rest in peace.
Alan Pratt, UK
Shocked and saddened to hear the news, I did enjoy his contributions to various programmes, as well as his own shows, on TV and radio. He shall be missed.
I have very fond memories of "Walters Weekly" on Radio 1, as I sat in the bath recovering from my weekly 6-mile run with the club in Wells. The bath wound me down just enough to laugh at the mad places that John found himself.
You'll be sorely missed, John! You were certainly unique, and could never be replaced.
I am very much saddened to hear of his death. John Walters, like Peel, had an eclectic sense of what was original and interesting that crossed all the categories that record companies try to sell to us, from rock to world music. His productions and his own shows were fascinating, entertaining, warm and witty. We have lost a man and a talent of great breadth.
Growing up in the 70s, the Peel show was the portal to radically different music. Not only do countless bands owe a debt to the team, but they were also partly responsible for shaping a nation's approach to pop music (this is no exaggeration).
Were it not for the vision of John Walters, it could be argued that the whole punk/indie thing (and all that it developed into) would have been dead on arrival. Not only that, he had the rare knack of making you feel like you knew and trusted him. Not only charming and knowledgeable, but devastatingly funny too. We've lost a broadcasting genius.
Ben Hayes, Wales
The true mark of a man is how he affects the lives of others. John Walters has brought so much pleasure to literally millions of people over the years, changing the face of British music. The happy memories of my teenage years spent listening to the two Johns will be with me forever. His family must be very proud of all his achievements. Thank you John.
What a man, will be sadly missed.
Just a comment really, that in the light of the present day and what passes for ground-breaking entertainment, John and his type will be sorely missed . I'm 42 now, but feel that bit by bit my youth is being eroded. Bye and God bless you.
A great talent who will be sadly missed.
He made me laugh, giggle, smile. It was a pleasure to have heard him witter on! Irreplaceable.
Cheers and farewell from one of many who have been sad to hear of John's death.
Tim Osmond, UK
Magic is rarely valued as such when it happens. It is terribly sad that Mr Walters's absence is required to celebrate his presence. He and Mr Peel turned popular music into a form of private expression. Ex-teenage bedrooms will fall respectfully quiet across the United Kingdom.
He was the pickle in the John Peel sandwich of Radio 4; slightly uncouth but essential. I could never get enough of him. Long live his memory.
John Walters was one of those people who could be described as
a broadcasting genius, able to get his enthusiasm for almost any
subject across on the air. I fondly remember his Saturday afternoon
shows on Radio 1 in the 80s when he introduced us to things that
even Peely wouldn't play on his show, like the entirely splendid Short
Commercial Break, who played two minute sets of covers of commercials.
His voice and enthusiasm will be missed.
One of the people that shaped my adolescence is gone and if I could I'd thank him for everything. He will be much missed and the world is a poorer place for his absence.
As a studio manager still working in the Beeb, I can only echo everybody's comments. There's not many producers who would book a Peel session for three pianos and three chimps.
Good to know that his "Chipmunk" programme is being re-broadcast on Saturday. How about "Look Out, It's Alive!", the history of the Session. If Archive doesn't have it, I've got a copy...maybe a play on Radio 2 in due course? My best wishes to all who loved him.
One of his gimmicks always makes me laugh when I think of it - he would be doing a slot on someone else's show where he would make a few comments on the week or arts /music. Instead of coming up with a corny link between his items he would ring a small bell to indicate that a new subject was about to start...
I'm laughing now. Thanks John.
I knew him quite well when he was producing John Peel's show for the BBC. I was a promotion representative for a UK record company.
He was very funny, and always had time for you no matter how busy he was, unlike some of his contemporaries.
I'm sure he will be missed by many, and I would like to extend my sympathy to his family.
John Walters could always brighten up a gloomy day with Walters' Week and he will be missed by many listeners.
This is a terrible loss. There can't be many who have that exceptional blend of dry wit and absolute clarity of vision. What a guy.
I am very shocked to hear this news, today (Thursday), was there no BBC TV announcement?
What a very nice man, I met him once whilst doing a Radio 1 session for Peel. Sympathy to all that loved him.
Pat McKane, UK
Wob bop a dobba da doo wooooooo - what's on? Thank you for making us laugh. Goodbye.
What a terrible thing to lose such a dear and funny man. My sympathy to his family and colleagues, especially John Peel who will be lost without him.
Not much to say except he was always there. Whether in the background or making his incredibly witty comments or monologues in person. Although many people will not know it, he will be very sadly missed by all of us (especially those who were not aware).
Best wishes and condolences to his family.
My favourite JW memory - his telling the story of Bob Dylan going to meet Dave Stewart in North London and going to the wrong address. Please will someone find the clip and re-broadcast it.
I knew John when I too worked at the Beeb in 1970-71 as a music-obsessed secretary. He always allowed me to come down to recording sessions and even called me up to come and read a listener's letter on one of his shows. I was deeply upset to hear about his passing and send my good wishes to his family.
I've just read every single one of the comments on this page and I wonder if a present Radio 1 presenter or producer would garner such a response? I don't think so. I will miss your humour and voice.
Stuart Tod, Caithness
John Walters helped me grow up. I'll miss his voice.
He will be greatly missed.
Another one I'll never meet!
At very short notice, and for the piffling reward of a bottle of whisky, John Walters very kindly played the washboard live in the studio to a Lonnie Donegan record in order to help me through a Radio Production course.
I'll always be grateful to him for that, and will, of course miss him presenting and producing some of the most inventive, enteraining and fun programmes on the radio.
My sincere condolences go to his family.
A real talent and very funny in his own right. One of his monologues on Radio 1 in the early 1980s featured the story of the tuna sandwich which had me laughing aloud. The Radio 4 tribute was good, but he surely warrants a wider tribute programme to bring in material from R1 and Walters' Weekly. He'll be missed.
Very, very sorry to hear John Walters is no longer with us. One of my favourite broadcasters whose voice brought a shaft of sunlight into the day - a tonic to me in a low mood and sheer delight at any other time. I would happily be late for just about anything if it meant continuing to listen to John and his gut-tickling sense of (highly intelligent) humour. His death is another loss of a national treasure, like hearing the Labour leader John Smith had died. Simply too bad and we shall miss him an awful lot. My sincerest sympathy to his family and friends, especially John Peel who is my other all-time favourite broadcaster.
Paul John Borde, Wales
John Peel's show in the late 70s and early 80s was a part of my life and John Walters was part of that. His own Walters' Weekly was just inspired. He will be missed. It just seems sad that he has gone.
A great wit who will be sadly missed by those like myself who grew up listening to the Peel/Walters combination.
Today I switched on to Radio 4 as I drove home from a radio-less holiday spent in the wilds of Scotland...I was delighted to hear the voice of John Walters, with his
tongue-in-cheek presentation and humorous outlook on life. Then, as the programme ended I was given the sad news. I stopped the car and wept; John's humour has cheered me through difficult times over the years, and I know I'm not alone in declaring that we've lost a unique talent and a lovely man. Rest in peace John.
A man of infinite wit and wisdom has gone, he will be sorely missed.
A great man - we shall all miss him. A supremo at following his own intuition when the world of radio around him was in disarray. Thank you for the experience John.
So sad to hear the news.
Maybe it wasn't so widely known but John supported the Cat Protection League and often attended jumble sales in the hall next to where I live. I bumped into him a few times and being a 'fan' I used to chat with him about his work past and present.
He was always very patient and courteous despite the fact the first time I met him (he had just been in the media about selling his record collection) I tried to impress him by saying how much I liked his work with Georgie Fame and how I had a lot of his records. Would he come next door and autograph one please?
In that wonderful accented and warm voice he said, "I'd love to but I played with Alan Price." Seeing my obvious embarrassment he said, "Well, Fame and Price did play together I suppose."
I met him a few more times and he was always very amiable.
A great producer, a great broadcaster and no doubt a great bloke. He made his mark.
Sad news. I used to enjoy his quirky sense of humour on radios 1 and 4. I feel sorry for John Peel, now left alone to fly the flag.
John Walters was a great broadcaster who helped champion the more obtuse and influental musical acts of the last 25 years. His like will be sorely missed.
In bringing the wonderful Peel show into being, Walters did more than anyone to keep music special, and to keep radio human.
We found out about John's death by randomly buying a newspaper, rather than hearing it on the radio, despite my listening to Radio 2 most days. We sat in bed and remembered where we used to listen to 'Walter's Weekly', almost hearing his voice. He was a larger influence on us and our developing sense of humour as teenagers than we had realised. Our thoughts are with his family and with John Peel.
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