"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."
——Tony Blair, British Prime Minister, on John Peel

LEGENDARY BRITISH DJ
JOHN PEEL PASSES

BBC Vet Known For Breaking Bands Passes Away at 65
Veteran BBC disc jockey John Peel has died at the age of 65 while on holiday in Peru with his wife Sheila, suffering a heart attack. Peel was BBC Radio 1's longest-serving DJ.

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said Peel's contribution to modern music and culture was "immeasurable… He was a broadcasting legend. I am deeply saddened by his death as are all who work at Radio 1."

Peel’s influence included helping launch the U.K. punk scene in the late ‘70s all the way up to championing groups like the Strokes and the White Stripes.

"His commitment and passion for new music only grew stronger over the years. In fact, when I last saw him he was engaged in a lively debate with his fellow DJs over the state of new music today," said Parfitt.

Peel was born in Heswall, near Liverpool, and after completing his military service in Britain in 1962, went to the U.S, where he began working for a radio station in Dallas. He joined Radio 1 at the launch in 1967, and established himself with the late night program Top Gear.

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

Peel was so beloved in Britain that even the Prime Minister made a statement after his death.

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's program built up a reputation around the world, and in addition to his Radio 1 show, he could also be heard on the BBC's World Service.

Blur lead singer Damon Albarn said Peel's patronage was "one of the most significant things that happened to us in our careers".

After announcing Peel's death on Radio 1, the station played his favorite song, "Teenage Kicks," by the Undertones.

The band’s Michael Bradley was shocked upon hearing of Peel's death. "He always had his finger on the pulse of the music industry and the fact that Radio 1 played the Undertones, the White Stripes and the Strokes today showed just how relevant he remained throughout his career."

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