NAME: Jan Bell
BAND AFFILIATION: Jan Bell & the Maybelles
INSTRUMENT: Guitar, Singing, Harmonica
1. THE FIRST ALBUM I EVER BOUGHT WAS …The Mamas and the Papas. I’ve always loved bands with powerful vocal harmonies and strong melodies. My fellow teenagers thought I was pretty uncool for buying an album by an American hippie band from the ’60s – but I still enjoy this album.
2. THE FIRST CONCERT THAT I EVER SAW WAS … The Smiths. Or was it the Police? I was a student in Nottingham and interned at the local BBC radio station. They gave me a pass to music venues in return for reviewing the shows I saw, and I saw both bands in the same week. The BBC were trying to build a younger audience, because at that time they had a bit of a stodgy reputation. Meanwhile, a DJ called John Peel came along and introduced millions of young listeners to independent artists. You could mail him your cassette tape with a one pound note, and he would listen to it and might play it on his late night show. John Peel is considered a hero to many British musicians and music lovers, and he also started out in off-shore pirate radio – which reshaped radio in Britain, opening the airwaves to skiffle and other folk music that had never before been played on air.