UPDATE: online collection to be launched may 1st 2012 !
We can safely say that, without John Peel (OBE as in Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), the face of music in Europe would be totally different. We probably would still have dinosaurs bands and triple-LP concept albums as the famous english radio icon (no one had been airing for so long: from 1967 until his sudden death in 2004) has been instrumental in giving new bands and new sounds a dedicated platform on the BBC. He was among the first one to play psychédelic music on Radio One but also gave progressive rock an audience. You are forgiven, John ;)
But what John Peel will surely be always associated with is how he gave punk music a(n) (inter)national window thru his night program on Radio One and his eclectic and very large taste in music has allowed many bands to come out and have their music played to larger audiences. His radio sessions with bands coming in and recording music were also very popular and are remarquable historic stepstones of Music.
In an important move, the John Peel Center For Creative Arts dedicated to give a new lease of life to an old building in Stowmarket (Suffolk) building, is partnering with the BBC to have John Peel's collection (more than 25,000 LPs, 40,000 singles, thousands of CDs and hours and hours of interviews) digitalized and available to the public. This unique collection should be available just in time for the Cultural Olympics, in june 2012. This is unique in many points if only because John had access to very rare music coming from small or huge bands alike.
John Peel Center (run by his wife and other dedicated people) http://www.johnpeelcentreforcreativearts.co.uk
More on John's amazing life: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_peel
>> John Peel was following the JFK assassination and actually got to the arraignment of Lee Harvey Oswald...More on this in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aHDJy0R8nQ)