When people walk into a record shop for the first time they have a tendency to seek out the genre that they are most familiar with, often leaving without even scanning the spines of unfamiliar sections, it’s not that those records have any less value or are in any way worse - it’s that they don’t know where to start.
In the first phase of the John Peel Archive we documented the first one hundred records from each letter of the alphabet, to show the sheer scale of John’s personal collection in a systematic way, which also presented a fair and random snapshot of its content.
With the Record Box project we have tried to delve deeper into the historical context of the records, because John’s collection is not just dusty records on a shelf, it is a road map to the development of popular music as we know it; it documents countless scenes and movements that became integral components of our culture, the soundtrack to our nation’s identity and the source of a nation’s pride.
We’ve enlisted key figures involved with the music to guide us, using their first hand knowledge to provide us with pathways through John’s overwhelming collection of vinyl. We’ve recorded his actual records using his broadcast room turntable, and photographed his record sleeves, so that you can actually browse alongside them record by record.