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1970-1973 - Fame, festivals and the Faces

John “playing” Mandolin on Maggie May with the FacesJohn Peel jumped into the psychedelic seventies with a firm desire to keep his finger on the pulse of music and to make sure his listeners knew their Black Sabbath from their T.Rex.

Top Gear was attracting audiences in their droves and the Peel Sessions were swinging along nicely, racking up live sets from the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Jethro Tull, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Joni Mitchell, Soft Machine, Joe Cocker, The Faces, Genesis and Free amongst others.

With the explosion of amazing music being listened to by millions, festivals started to spring up all over the UK.

John was one of only a few thousand attendees at 1971's Glastonbury Fayre, now known as Glastonbury Festival. One of Peel's many favourite memories involved slogging to the top of nearby Glastonbury Tor with T.Rex's singer, Marc Bolan.

In October, John made his first and possibly most infamous appearance on Top Of The Pops. The Faces, led by Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood on guitar, were good friends of John's and asked if he would mime playing the mandolin whilst they played their hit 'Maggie May'. The band played the song with Peel strumming along in the background, and finished up by kicking a football around the stage.

Various artists and celebrities talk about the man—and footage of John “playing” Mandolin on Maggie May with the Faces.

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In the same month, Radio 1 moved Peel's Top Gear to Wednesday evenings, from 10pm until midnight. By February 1972 he was also broadcasting in the same slot on Friday nights. More movements were just round the corner. By October 1972, Radio 1 became a full-time 24-hour station, but the only effect on John's show was a sideways move to Thursday nights.

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