Peel was widely eclectic. Soon after joining Radio 1 he was one of the first DJs to play Psychedelic Rock and Progressive Rock. He went on to play rock, pop, reggae, metal, hip hop, electronic, noise and every genre in between. He's most identified with three musical styles: punk, indie rock and African music of all kinds, all of which he is credited with both popularizing and making cool in Britain.
He frequently plumbed the scenes outside the mainstream in search of new sounds. The vast majority of the records he played had never been played on radio before. He helped popularise not just hundreds of artists, but also whole genres. When Peel played a single on the air, and especially if he liked it enough to keep playing it, would instantly make the band that recorded it cool overnight. His show was instrumental in launching countless careers, from Pink Floyd to The White Stripes.
Peel's show was also well known for the so-called "Peel Sessions", live in-the-studio performances, usually of about 3 or 4 songs, which were specifically taped for Peel to play on the air. These sessions are highly sought after for their excellent sound quality, and were considered to be a sign that the band had "made it" in the indie rock world. Peel's personal favorite artists - particularly The Fall, Billy Bragg, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, Loudon Wainwright III, Ivor Cutler, Roy Harper and PJ Harvey - would appear on his show countless times over the years.
Had someone recorded a new track anywhere on the planet? Chances are good John Peel played it. Possibly at the wrong speed by mistake, but preferring it that way after playing it again at the proper speed.
Quintessential British example of The Last DJ