British discjockey John Peel died, age 65, of a heart attack, October 26, 2004, while vacationing in Peru. Way before MTV Unplugged promoted contemporary artists’ live renditions, the masterful Anglophile introduced enduring Peel Sessions. The ‘Original Pirate DJ,’ Peel broadcast from ships anchored outside English waters before BBC Radio hired him in 1967; exposing groundbreaking acts T. Rex, Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band, Fairport Convention, and Faces.
Later, Peel went against conservative programmers, uncovering punk, reggae, hardcore, and hip-hop neophytes, then championed seminal Brit-pop idols Blur and Oasis alongside sundry deserving obscurities, securing an unchallenged legacy. His ceaseless enthusiasm advocating inventive indie artists of all stripes will be sorely missed.