“And it could be me, and it could be thee.”

“When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease” by Roy Harper | Tomorrow marks ten years since the death of John Peel, the BBC Radio 1 DJ known for his eclectic musical tastes. Throughout most of his radio career – from Dallas around the time of John Kennedy’s death, to the pirate radio stations half-heartedly immortalized in The Boat That Rocked, to his 37 years with the BBC – he has championed numerous genres and artists, giving bands such as Billy Bragg, the Fall and the White Stripes critical support in their early days. His late night show was also an early champion of the burgeoning British punk scene, as well as reggae and dance music. It’d be easy to write about the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks”, his most favorite song – you can argue that his support led, many years later, to that One Direction cover – but I’ll write instead about this song. British folk artist Roy Harper released this song on his 1975 album HQ; Peel wanted his longtime producer John Walters to play this song when he dies. Didn’t quite happen, as Walters died before Peel did; it was up to the latter to play the song. Now, I haven’t heard Peel’s show once – his death coincided with the beginning of my interest in British radio – but his legacy on music is one even I feel, and not just because I listen to BBC 6 Music. It could be the sting in the ale. [NB]

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