Ian Peel (journalist)

Ian Peel (born 1972) is a British music journalist. He is most well known as founder of the magazines Classic Pop magazine and Long Live Vinyl and as a writer with special interests in Eighties pop music, ZTT Records, 12" Remixes and Paul McCartney.

He has written as a regular columnist for The Guardian, DJ magazine, Record Collector, .net and Music Business International (sister publication of Music Week). His work has also appeared in The Times, BlackBook and Sound on Sound.

12" Remixes

Peel is a longstanding commentator on, and curator of, 12-inch single and remixes. He wrote Classic Pop magazine's Top 50 12"s of the Eighties special edition,[1] and curated three volumes of the compilation series The Art of the 12".[2] In 2016 he wrote the Afterword of Rob Grillo's book, Is That The 12" Remix?.[3]

Peel used 12" remixes and rare edits to curate the soundtrack to In The AM, a film by The The. It was released as In The AM (Ian Peel Mix) as the closing track on The The's compilation album, Stretched,[4] and as part of the group's box set, London Town 1983-1993.[5]

According to the Penny Black music blog, "Most of the tracks on The Art of the 12” - which has been described by Peel on its cover as “150 minutes of blockbusters, rarities, vanities and mysteries” - have either never been released before on CD or sometimes at all."[6]

ZTT Records, Trevor Horn and Sarm Studios

Peel has spent many years curating, archiving (and writing about) the work of ZTT Records, Trevor Horn and Sarm Studios. His work was profiled by The Word magazine in 2010: "What Ian inherited was a ton of rotting cardboard boxes and a cataloguing nightmare," reported Andrew Harrison. "What he found, though, is dazzling to anyone who loves the work of Trevor Horn and the profligate madness of ZTT. With its antiquated floppies and hard discs the size (and weight) of lorry tyres, this room crystallises a pause between the old world of Take 1 and Take 2 and the future in which everything would be infinitely malleable."[7]

Visiting Peel during the early stages of his work on the ZTT tape archive, DJ Food described the scene: "Nothing prepared me for the sight I saw upon stepping into the room. It was the whole downstairs floor of the building, the size of a small office or a very large living room. Boxes covered nearly every inch of floor space and were piled up to chest height, Ian had started to sort them into stacks relating to each artist and there was a small warren of footpaths between the piles. Half of the room was barely touched and the sheer volume of boxes was overwhelming."[8]

His work has in this field has led to the release of more than 50 CD/vinyl releases, compilations, box sets and gallery exhibitions. In a piece titled Ian Peel’s one-man campaign takes another brilliant twist, Kris Needs wrote in Record Collector: "Considering that everything which ZTT touched during their early 80s purple patch immediately seemed to swell to widescreen proportions, it’s fortuitous that Ian Peel, though only a teenage record-buyer at the time, shares their panoramic visions when it comes to the reissue programme he’s been lovingly masterminding since last year. It seems he won’t rest until every reel from production supremo Trevor Horn’s archives has been distilled into one of his lavish double-disc sets, his accompanying sleevenotes always an invaluable source of facts and memorabilia."[9]

Paul McCartney

Peel is a noted commentator on Paul McCartney's experimental oeuvre, as author of the 2002 biography The Unknown Paul McCartney, McCartney and the Avant-Garde and having participated in numerous TV and radio documentaries.[10]

The Unknown Paul McCartney, McCartney and the Avant-Garde was described by BBC Music as an "engrossing round-up of the numerous side projects which have distracted Paul McCartney's active imagination over the last 35 years"[11] and as "an odd and interesting re-framing of McCartney as experimentalist".[12]

It is the only book to offer an in-depth history and analysis of McCartney's work in the field of experimental and avant-garde music, notably under the pseudonyms Thrillington and The Fireman, on projects such as Liverpool Sound Collage and Carnival of Light (with The Beatles), and as occasional collaborator with Allen Ginsberg, Brian Wilson and Yoko Ono. The foreword was written by David Toop.

One review commented that "Peel goes to lengths to put forward the argument that though the seemingly 'constantly cheerful one' may have been responsible for the MOR apocalypse of Wings, experimentation in other genres was never far away."[13] Another noted that "Although Peel spends much of the book setting stages, discussing Cage, Eno, IDM and so on, who else would even have dreamt up such a thesis?"[14]

While McCartney was not directly involved in the biography, The Guardian remarked in 2007 that "His implicit approval... suggested an attempt to correct a misperception."[15]


As author:

  • Music & The Internet, Future plc, 1996
  • The Unknown Paul McCartney – McCartney and the Avant-garde, with foreword by David Toop, Reynolds & Hearn/Titan Books, 2002
  • The Rough Guide to eBay, Penguin Random House, 2006
  • Stiff Records - The Big Stiff Book, Union Square Music, 2007
  • Zang Tuum Tumb - The ZTT Records Story, with foreword by Paul Morley, Union Square Music, 2008
  • The Rough Guide to Saving & Selling Online (Penguin Random House, 2010)

As contributor:

  • Is That The 12" Remix? (afterword), Bank House, 2016
  • The Virgin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music, Virgin Books, 2002
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Oxford University Press, 2001
  • The Rough Guide To Rock, Penguin Random House, 1998
  • The Complete Introduction to Record Collecting, Verulam Publishing, 1995
  • Microsoft Music Central, Microsoft, 1995
  • Guinness Encyclopedia Of Popular Music, Guinness Publishing, 1992

Discography (Liner notes)


  1. Classic Pop (31 July 2013). "Classic Pop Issue 6 Is On Sale Now! with David Bowie, Tears for Fears, Belinda Carlisle, Kate Bush and more". Anthem Publishing. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. Fischer, Bob (7 February 2011). "BBC Tees - Bob Fischer talks to Ian Peel about The Art of the 12", 07.02.11". BBC Tees. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  3. Rob Grillo (8 September 2016). "Thanks to Ian Peel... for penning the afterword to this new book". Twitter. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  4. The The (2011). "Jukebox". TheThe.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2006. Retrieved 27 June 2016.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  5. Discogs.com (20 May 2016). "London Town 1983 - 1993". Discogs.com. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  6. Clarkson, John (21 January 2011). "Ian Peel/The Art of the 12'". pennyblackmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  7. Harrison, Andrew (May 2010). "Tuum Raider". The Word. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  8. Foakes, Kevin (12 April 2010). "One November Monday". DJFood.org. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  9. Needs, Kris (March 2011). "Ian Peel's one-man campaign takes another brilliant twist". Record Collector. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  10. Corcelli, John (27 December 2012). "The other side of Paul McCartney". CBC/Radio-Canada. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  11. Webb, Robert (6 May 2003). "Ian Peel The Unknown Paul McCartney (book)". BBC Music. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. Gottschalk, Kurt (17 November 2013). "Review of The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-Garde". Goodreads. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  13. Mattinson, Peter (17 November 2013). "Review of The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-Garde". No Ripcord. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  14. Gottschalk, Kurt (17 November 2013). "Review of The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant-Garde". Goodreads. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  15. Bennun, David (21 May 2007). "The solo Paul McCartney is a major lightweight". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
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