That Time John Peel Played Fripp & Eno’s ‘No Pussyfooting’ Backwards

john-peel-no-pussyfooting-backwardsThe late BBC DJ John Peel is revered by many for his part in introducing progressive music of all types to British listeners.

John Peel (John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, August 30, 1939 – October 25, 2004), was the longest serving of BBC Radio 1 DJs – on air from 1967 until his death in 2004.

One of the most notorious broadcasts of his career, though, was the time in 1973 when he debuted Fripp & Eno’s proto-ambient album No Pussyfooting to the world, by accidentally playing it backwards, in its entirety. 

As the story goes, the copy of No Pussyfooting that Peel had received was on reel-to-reel tape and Peel’s engineer played the tape backwards. And the ambient tape loop soundscapes that Fripp & Eno had created were so foreign to 1973 ears that no one at the station knew the difference.

Some would argue that this backwards broadcast, embedded above, to Peel’s adventurous audience, was the real start of Eno’s mature post-Roxy Music career.

2 thoughts on “That Time John Peel Played Fripp & Eno’s ‘No Pussyfooting’ Backwards

  1. Great story!
    Yes, in studios you store tapes usually “tail-out” to reduce the effect of print through. (the magnetised tape copies echoes from layer to layer of the tape) You always have to rewind to play it.
    In radio broadcast archives tapes are always stored “head out”, so that they can be put on quickly and broadcast right away.
    A classical misunderstanding. 🙂
    Labelling your tapes and using the appropriate leaders is essential.

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