For fans disappointed that the online debut of the late John Peel’s record collection didn’t feature actual music off those platters or broadcasts by the legendary British DJ, here’s the real deal: a streaming collection of 458 episodes of Peel’s show, presumably digitized off cassettes, that totals 846 hours and spans the years 1967 to 2004.
The collection — posted to SoundCloud by a user only known as +dB from Yorkshire, England — was brought to our attention by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, who tweeted, “What technology was invented for: 458 John Peel shows in full. Like the encyclopedia britannica of music. Dive in.”
The set, which can be streamed below is by no means complete; one of the shows from 1980 finds Peel celebrating his 800th episode, and he still had 24 years of broadcasting head of him at the time. Some of the episodes are ID’d with bands that played in session, such as Joy Division in 1979 and The Fall in 1987, but if you’re trying to track down episodes with certain in-studio performances, use Wikipedia’s List of Peel Sessions for reference.
UPDATE 9/12/12: It appears either SoundCloud or the user has removed all of the Peel episodes — but, as @keepingitpeel points out, they area all still accessible via Google’s cache, for the time being at least: “Please help us at peel.wikia.com by d/loading, these shows need to be kept and transcribed for prosperity.” To download the shows, click through to each episode’s individual SoundCloud player, at which time you’ll see a download button.