The John Peel Sessions

A tip of the hat goes to Open Culture for turning up this sprawling, 16-hour collection of John Peel Sessions. From 1967 until his death in 2004, the iconic BBC radio DJ invited an enormous array of bands to record special sessions in the studio, from original punks like Killing Joke and Siouxsie and the Banshees to prog rockers like Jethro Tull, and on up to electronic musicians like Mira Calix and The Orb. Scanning the list of artists boggles the mind: Buzzcocks, The Smiths, Nick Drake, Nirvana, David Bowie—many different scenes, generations, and levels of fame, with the only common denominator being that they’re all acts that mattered, even if only for a few devout listeners as passionate as Peel himself. Currently 255 songs long, this playlist doesn’t contain all the Peel Sessions, by any stretch of the imagination, but presumably it’ll be updated as more titles come online. And while the range of artists represented doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a stylistically coherent listen, that hardly matters: Peel’s entire M.O., after all, was introducing listeners to brilliant music, no matter the style.