Monday, August 20, 2007

- Frankie Miller's Year: 30th December, 1977

John Peel’s best sessions of 1977

This Peel show is an absolute gem for many obvious reasons (look at the songs he plays), but for those of us obsessed with the annual festive fifty lists, it provides some invaluable new info regarding the mythical 1977 list. The fabulous Rocklist website (, along with John Horne’s page, was instrumental in getting me started on the road to my JP music quest, and was infamously the source of about half of Mick Wall’s banal, insipid Peel biography which, given that it was released in time for Christmas 2004, Wall must have started cobbling together within minutes of JP’s death, the bastard.

Don’t buy this…

Mick Wall: John Peel

Buy this instead…

John Peel: Margrave of the Marshes

Anyway, back to the ’77 festive chart. Very little was known about this chart, apart from rumours that one existed. Peel first did a 50 in 1976, which followed the format that later charts would use, listeners writing in with their favourite tracks, which JP would compile into a chart. Rocklist has full charts for every year bar 1977, for which it currently lists only a top 13. Well, the end-of-year show you’re about to be dazzled by confirms categorically that Peel did indeed broadcast a full festive chart at the end of 1977, although from what he says in this show, he seems merely to have chosen his favourite sixty tracks for that year.

This show isn’t Peel’s festive 60 for the year; it is the show broadcast the night after he’d completed the list. It is, however, an absolute belter, as Peel showcases his favourite session tracks of the year. This was quite an eye-opener: despite Peel’s later admission that he had tended to let punk dominate his shows during this period, there are many other genres represented, although I can’t imagine why that would surprise me to much.

Part One

The Motors – Dancing the night away

JP confirms the existence of a festive chart, a festive 60 which he appears to have chosen himself, and that this track was his number one.

Frankie Miller – Ain’t got no money

The Lurkers  – Then I kissed her

Mick Wall seems to have based his lame Peel biography entirely around a two-minute encounter with Peel during which they discussed this band.

Steel Pulse – Prodigal son

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Mystery dance

Begs for tickets for the Chelsea v. Liverpool cup match

Lone Star – Bells of Berlin

The Fabulous Poodles – When the summer’s through

The Stranglers – Bring on the nubiles

Coliseum 2 – Intergalactic strut

The Boomtown Rats – Looking after number one

June Tabor  – Riding down to Portsmouth

The Slits – Love and romance

The Motors – Freeze

The Lurkers – Freak show

Elvis Costello & the Attractions  – Less than zero

Frankie Miller – Name of the track please! Download failure at this point

Part Two

Lone Star – From all of us to all of you

Steel Pulse  – Bad man

The Boomtown Rats  – Mary of the fourth form (Bob Gelding?)

The Slits – New town

The Fabulous Poodles – Mr. Mic

The Lurkers – Total war

June Tabor – No man’s land

The Stranglers – No more heroes

Frankie Miller – Be good to yourself

Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Red shoes

Coliseum 2 – Lament

The Motors – You beat the hell out of me

Frankie Miller  – Be good to yourself (yes, for the second time in the space of 15 minutes)

My eternal thanks to Chris Bussicott for providing this show, and for putting me in my place over the course of our email correspondence, when I suggested that getting to hear this show was right up there alongside the birth of my second son among the very good things to happen this year. Thanks for the reality check, and, admittedly less important in the greater scheme of things, for the chance to use the phrase ‘gloriously washy medium wave’ for the first time in ages.

I’d appreciate anyone downloading this show leaving a comment below to thank Chris for making this available to all of us; he went to some effort to get it onto CD and then mp3ify. Cheers fella, it’s people like you who will help us keep Peel’s legacy alive.

While we’re at it, get yourself over to so it goes site and start reading up on the history of the festive 50. Sorry I’ve not been over for a while, the day job has been inconveniently getting in the way.

Part one:

Download the file

Part two:

Download the file

As ever, comments attempting to correct my glaring errors are welcomed.

A special shout out to John Peel Everyday, glad to have you back in action!

Frankie Miller


DuffPaddy said...

Thanks mate, this looks terrific! There's a surprisingly large slice of pub rock in the mix by the looks of it. Peel's even still playing prog, in the form of Colosseum II, whose original incarnation he'd been playing back in the Top Gear days.

Fascinating stuff; look forward to grabbing it tonight.

Anonymous said...

Wow, yeah, brilliant!

Many thanks!

Steve W

Cristian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cristian said...

Fantastic stuff! Thank you! The last track of the first part is, of course, Frankie's brilliant version of Lennon's "Jealous Guy". Now, if someone would just find a tape with show from the night before... Keep up the great work!

So It Goes said...

What can I say? Thanks to all concerned for getting myself and all other FF nuts one step closer to the Holy Grail: a complete 1977 FF (I will be doing an in-depth post on this in due course).
Lovely to see you back on form, and if you check my newest post, you may see a little homecoming present...
I've never read Mick Wall's book, and by the sounds of it, I don't want to. Charlatan.
However, I would love to read JP's book, but it seems impossible to get out here.

So It Goes said...

And thank you Adam for being nice enough to point people towards my blog. Now if I could just get the 13 people who downloaded Laika to write comments, then I'd be a happy man!!!

Pierre Hedde said...

Thanks v. much ! Excellent historic document. Sound is OK despite medium wave. JP did play a lot of "old" rock in 77 - I think he played a lot of the then-new BJH album. It bugs me to constantly read in the music media about how punk was the death-knell for the "old school". Rubbish - a lot of those bands had their biggest commercial successes from 77 to 80. Punk did influence them, though - no more long drum solos !

domestic empire said...

I think it's shocking, absolutely shocking that this hasn't been featured on the john peel everyday blog.

Mind you I was convinced I'd left a comment here (Comment deleted isn't it?).

An amazing addition to our collective archives. Many thanks to all involved :-D

Ashley Pomeroy said...

"I’d appreciate anyone downloading this show leaving a comment below to thank Chris for making this available to all of us"

Thank you Chris.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this. I'm new to John Peel and his radio shows, what with being in the wrong country and wrong time and all. I consider this to be a very fine introduction to something I would have been devastated to miss out on, were it not for the obvious dedication of fans like the owners of this site.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Chris and everyone for this - I would not and could not have been spurred to try and reconstruct the full F50 (61) of 77 without posts like these - but anyway, that's all true, a v representative show of 77 sessions, but it was actually the show of W 28/12/77, and there had been a Best Sessions of year show part one a week earlier on W 21/12/77, featuring, among others, Buzzcocks, Generation X, and John McLuaghlin and Shakti! See SHOWS index of my book, p219, for details. Cheers - k

Anonymous said...

thanks chris for this. my wife and i shall enjoy partying like it's 1977 tonite - we may not have bought each other expensive bits of card but we still know how to celebrate valentines...

simon trike

Anonymous said...

Hi, the side index says "sessions", but this is just Festive 50? Sessions are priceless, but the 50 was generally a depressing experience (though not so bad as it became in the mid-80s). It's still great to have some of this stuff coming up - I just hope more of the bands who nobody voted for get heard! (Shame they won't get royalties for it, but that's the Beeb's fault for trying to bury most of the era).

dave p

Who was John Peel?

The philosophy of this blog is a celebration of music in the spirit of the late John Peel. For those of you who want to learn more, click here.

Fades in Slowly RSS

Fades in Slowly