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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 08:04 GMT 09:04 UK
Tributes pour in for DJ John Peel
John Peel
John Peel suffered a heart attack on holiday in Peru
Tributes have poured in from the music world after the death of veteran broadcaster John Peel, who died on holiday in Peru on Monday aged 65.

Members of The Smiths, The Undertones, The Manic Street Preachers, Radiohead, Blur and Joy Division have spoken about Peel's influence and legacy.

Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr said the band's early success was "largely due to the John Peel show".

Prime Minister Tony Blair also paid tribute to the BBC Radio 1 DJ.

Peel, whose radio career spanned 40 years, was on a working holiday in the city of Cuzco with his wife Sheila when he suffered a heart attack.

Irreplaceable - this man changed the nature of broadcasting
John, Brighton, UK

He was BBC Radio 1's longest-serving DJ and in recent years had also presented Home Truths on Radio 4.

Radiohead singer Thom Yorke said Peel was his "inspiration" since the age of 14. "Who am I going to listen to now? I'm thinking about you. Thanks John Peel."

Blur singer Damon Albarn said the world would be a poorer place without Peel.

"I will miss him deeply," he said. "I want to send my heartfelt sympathy to his lovely family. John's memory will never be forgotten because he had the spirit of music in him."

Feargal Sharkey, former frontman of The Undertones, described Peel as the "single most important broadcaster we have ever known".

'He changed my life forever'

I am pleased and proud to have known him
Nicky Campbell
BBC Five Live

The band's single Teenage Kicks was Peel's favourite song and he championed the track and the band on his show in the late 1970s.

Sharkey said: "In the autumn of 1978, something happened that was to change my life forever - John Peel played Teenage Kicks on the radio for the very first time. Today, it just changed again, forever."

Johnny Marr, who played with The Smiths on live sessions on Peel's show, said he was always the best DJ on the radio.

"We would try out new songs on the sessions and these often were the definitive version," he said.

Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said: "In a world that is becoming ever more homogenised and pre-programmed, John Peel stuck up for the 'sore thumbs' of the music scene and I really can't think of anyone who could have done it better or who's going to do it now he's gone."

Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher called Peel "a rare breed amongst radio DJs". The Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield told the BBC News website: "It was because of him I got to hear some of the most obscure but influential music I ever heard.

"He was a lifeline to hearing music I would never have heard otherwise."

'Dreadful shock'

Bernard Sumner of Joy Division and New Order said the news of Peel's death was a "dreadful shock".

"If it wasn't for John Peel, there would be no Joy Division and no New Order," he said.

"He was one of the few people to give bands that played alternative music a chance to get heard, and he continued to be a champion of cutting-edge music throughout his life."

He was a unique voice in British broadcasting and used that voice to unearth new talent
Tony Blair
Kurt Wagner, of US band Lambchop, said Peel was "amazing" and his influence was felt far outside his home country.

Tony Blair's spokesman said the Prime Minister was "genuinely saddened by the news".

He added: "His view is that he was a unique voice in British broadcasting and used that voice to unearth new talent and different subjects and make them accessible to a much wider audience."

Peel was born in Heswall, near Liverpool, and joined Radio 1 at the launch in 1967.

He became one of the first DJs to give exposure to punk, reggae and hip-hop, before they crossed over into the mainstream.


Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said Peel's death "absolutely devastated everyone".

"We're stunned and bereft. He's irreplaceable because what he had was 37 years of commitment to young music."

He was a maverick and he got away with it
Steve Lamacq
BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music
Mr Parfitt told Radio 1's Newsbeat Peel had been on a holiday of a lifetime when he died. "He had gone on holiday with his wife Sheila to a place where he had always wanted to go."

Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq said: "He was groundbreaking for me. He just broke the rules the whole time. He did things that just weren't done. He was a maverick and he got away with it.

"You have to have trust with a DJ, and everyone built that trust with John."

BBC 6 Music's Liz Kershaw said he was " the least musically snooty person we know".

She said: "He was utterly sincere in what he was doing, not because he wanted to be famous but he though he was on a mission to bring stuff to people's ears.

'Great joy'

"He really did trawl through mailbags of demo cassettes. That's why we had Pulp and T-Rex, because he'd been discovering bands like that since 1967."

Singer Laura Cantrell, who was championed by Peel in recent months, said he had an "unabashed love for music".

"I really treasure that I got to know the man and his family, to hear his stories, and to be welcomed by he and Sheila to Peel Acres.

"To experience his sense of humour, the great joy that he took in his life was inspiring."



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