Everything You Need To Know About John Peel's Record Collection Online But Didn't Know You Had To Ask

2 May 2012 | 4:17 pm | Daniel Crichton Rouse

It's a mission to find, and a fairly passive experience for Australians, but there's still joy to be had. Plus it's dust-free!

The late disc jockey, journalist, and music champion John Peel's record collection would have to be one of the biggest and most important ever collected. Now the John Peel Centre For Creative Arts has made the collection available online for the benefit of music education.

It can be a bit confusing trying to navigate its host The Space's website so you'll probably want to bookmark this page directly for future refence.

Once you've entered, you'll be faced with his studio. Here's a quick guide to navigating the site:

John Peel Video/TV
Here you'll be able to watch videos recorded for the online collection (such as Peel's widow Sheila Ravenscroft's introduction and the "A" feature interview, with Mike Absalom) as well as his Home Movies, footage taken by or of Peel.

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Peel Sessions
John Peel used to host acts (Nirvana, Joy Division, PJ Harvey, etc.) in the studios, where they'd record live takes. This brings up a list of albums and single songs available to listen to. Unfortunately, you have to have a Spotify account to hear anything and as such is completely useless to Australians, since the streaming service still hasn't launched here.

John Peel Record Collection
The centre-piece of the website and the reason it exists: to browse his record shelves (containing some 6,000 or so LPs, apparently - and we're only talking about his vinyl collection). Here you'll be able to flick through the records as they appear on his shelf. Clicking on them will bring up Peel's personal cataloguing as well as scans of the records' covers. A lot come with Spotify links (*audible silence*) but then sometimes you'll get lucky with a SoundCloud link or the like. At worst, you'll get a Discogs entry. To all of you who dream of cataloguing your own record collections, this'll either be a massive inspiration or completely intimidating.

John Peel Photos
Gallery of photos taken of Peel over the years. You'll start muttering things such as,  "Dude used to have crazy facial hair."

John Peel Radio Shows
Highlights from his famous radio show. Presumably this is to be regularly updated. Current selections include "A typical intro", "John's philosophy", and "John on celebrity pictures".

John Peel Blog
This is run by the John Peel Centre For Creative Arts and is fairly dry, but a good place to keep on top of all things John Peel.

(Easter Egg: Click on the miniature Liverpool FC shirt hanging on his wall and you'll be taken to a John Peel Home Movies Hillsborough tribute video.)

It's early days yet, but from what we've seen this should grow into something very important. If only they added, say, Rdio links, so that us Australians could enjoy the music straight away.

We'll leave you with Joy Division's 1979 Peel Session recording of Love Will Tear Us Apart: