David Peel, born David Michael Rosario, (August 1, 1943 – April 6, 2017) was a New York City-based musician who first recorded in the late 1960s with Harold Black, Billy Joe White, George Cori and Larry Adam performing as David Peel and The Lower East Side Band. His raw, acoustic “street rock” with lyrics about marijuana and “bad cops” appealed mostly to hippies.
In 1968, Peel was contracted by Elektra Records when he was first discovered and recorded two “envelope pushers” for the label. His album Have a Marijuana peaked at 186 on the Billboard Charts.
Peel was rediscovered by John Lennon in 1971 as the early seventies continued its swing towards the youth revolution. Lennon befriended Peel when David was playing with his ragtag hippie band in New York’s Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Lennon produced The Pope Smokes Dope for Peel. This album was banned in many countries and since has been sought after by collectors worldwide.
In 1976 the independent labels Orange Records and Auravox Records released An Evening With David Peel. The LP was hailed as being a breakthrough recording by capturing the tumultuous mid-1970s American underground movement as well as the bubbling under of live recordings that have become a mainstay of the recording arts. The mix was finalized by Ron St. Germain (of Band 311 fame) at Ultrasonic recording studios in Hempstead, New York.
Peel has been associated with the “transgressive, shock” – performer GG Allin (1956-1993).
In 1995, the vinyl LP tracks from An Evening With David Peel were combined with two new multi-tracked studio recordings: “Junk Rock” and “I Hate You” (recorded at Right Track Studios, NYC) for a CD release Up Against The Wall. In the additional studio recordings on the CD, Muruga Booker (of Genesis fame) played his “electric talking drum” on the comeback hit “Junk Rock”.
In 2011 David Peel signed with Global Recording Artists. In 2012 The David Peel Anthology was released. A career retrospective compiled by David Peel with his favorite tracks from his entire career. In 2012 and 2013 David was very involved in the protests against Wall Street. In 2013 David Peel and the Protesters released Up Against the Wall Street an album of protest songs. In 2015 David was back to his fight for the legalization of marijuana and released his latest album as David Peel and the Lower East Side titled Give Hemp a Chance.
Peel was working on his book Rock and Roll Outlaw. A career retrospective book that will include his complete lyrics, concert posters and photos from his career. Peel performed live in New York City on a regular basis.
Peel died on April 6, 2017,  at the V.A. hospital in New York City. He had suffered a series of heart attacks immediately upon his arrival. Peel was escorted to the hospital on March 31, 2017 by fellow musician, Joff Wilson, after complaining that he was not feeling well.
- 1968: Have a Marijuana
- 1970: The American Revolution
- 1972: The Pope Smokes Dope
- 1974: Santa Claus Rooftop Junkie
- 1976: An Evening with David Peel
- 1977: Bring Back the Beatles
- 1978: King of Punk
- 1979: “Junk Rock / I Hate You” (45 rpm single released under David Peel and Death)
- 1980: Death to Disco
- 1980: John Lennon for President
- 1984: 1984
- 1986: Search to Destroy
- 1987: John Lennon Forever
- 1987: World War III
- 1993: Anarchy in New York City
- 1994: Battle for New York
- 1994: War and Anarchy
- 1995: Noiseville
- 1995: Up Against the Wall
- 2002: Legalize Marijuana
- 2002: Long Live the Grateful Dead
- 2002: Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw
- 2004: Jirokichi Live at Koenji
- 2008: Marijuana Christmas
- 2012: Anthology
- 2013: Up Against the Wall Street
- 2015: Give Hemp A Chance
In Jack Milton’s film Please Stand By, Peel portrays and stars as a media hippie revolutionary, who hijacks a network television van and jams the airwaves with unauthorized radical broadcasts to the nation.
- Urish, Ben; Bielen, Kenneth G. (2007). The Words and Music of John Lennon. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 35–37. ISBN 9780275991807. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
- Marinucci, Steve (April 6, 2017). “Anti-Establishment Icon David Peel Dies at 73”. Billboard. Retrieved April 6, 2017.