The veteran Radio 1 DJ, who
died from a heart attack while on a working holiday in Peru, helped give
the likes of Pulp, Human League and Def Leppard some of their earliest
Peel also went on the record as being a fan of Sheffield itself. Married
to Sheila and a father of four, his son Thomas went to university in the
city and in 1999 he received an honorary degree from Sheffield Hallam
"I did go up with Sheila to take Thomas to Sheffield Hallam and, in fact,
I visited him more than the others - I like Sheffield," he once said in an
article about kids leaving home.
But it was his appetite to seek out and champion new bands and fresh
sounds for which he will best be remembered.
Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker said: "It would be absolutely impossible to
write a history of the last 40 years of the British music scene without
mentioning John Peel's name.
"He was one of those few people about whom you could truly say the world
would have been a much different place without him. For many years he
almost single-handedly championed new and challenging music in the UK.
"Through his radio sessions he allowed unknown and unsigned bands to be
heard for the first time. Through his work with the BBC World Service he
brought some of those same bands to a worldwide audience."
Cocker, from Intake, Sheffield, said: "On the few occasions I was
fortunate enough to meet him I found him to be a witty but quite shy man
who was completely unimpressed by the 'razzmatazz' of the music industry
but who could instantly lay his hands on any obscure single you could
mention hearing on his show whilst in your teens.
"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.
"I will miss him greatly and my utmost sympathy goes out to his friends