John Walters

b. 16 May 1938, Long Eaton, Derbyshire, England, d. 30 July 2001, England. Walters, a Fine Arts student, began his working life as a teacher at a comprehensive school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but also…
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Artist Biography

b. 16 May 1938, Long Eaton, Derbyshire, England, d. 30 July 2001, England. Walters, a Fine Arts student, began his working life as a teacher at a comprehensive school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but also wrote a jazz column for the Newcastle Journal and lectured in jazz studies at evening classes. He played trumpet with the Alan Price Set from the group’s formation in 1965 until it was disbanded two years later (having scored five UK Top 20 hits along the way). From there Walters joined the BBC, eventually becoming the producer of BBC disc jockey John Peel’s Top Gear. Together, Peel and Walters created a programme that remains in the musical vanguard and which featured the radio debuts of Cream and King Crimson among many notable firsts and played a significant role in the choice of music played for the next, influential 20 years.

During the late 70s, Walters contributed a column in the rock magazine, Zigzag which revealed his comic personality. His dry wit shone through on his own Radio One arts programme, Walters’ Weekly which introduced artists like Laurie Anderson, Native Hipsters and the Frank Chickens to British audiences. This show was later truncated and slotted in, as Walter’s Week, to the mid-week evening radio shows of, successively, David ‘Kid’ Jensen, Richard Skinner and Janice Long. As well as discoursing on fringe arts events, it gave Walters the chance to indulge in his comic diary monologues. This led to appearances on BBC regional television presenting arts programmes (Northern Lights) and to Walters contributing to a wide range of radio talk programmes and periodicals. Walters left the BBC in 1991 to go freelance. He worked on Radio 2 and Radio 4 (Largely Walters, Idle Thoughts), and presented cinema slots on Sky TV. He died suddenly in July 2001.