Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22: Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon is 69-years-old today.

Asher was born in Middlesex, England. When he was eight years old, he began working as a child actor alng with his sister Jane, and appeared in the film, The Planter's Wife, and the stage play Isn't Life Wonderful. He also appeared in the ITV series, The Adventures of Robin Hood.

While attending the independent Westminster School as a day boy, he first met fellow pupil Gordon Waller, and they began playing and singing together as a duo in coffee bars. (Asher later read philosophy at King's College London.) In 1962, they began working formally as Peter and Gordon.

Peter with sister Jane Asher
Their biggest hit was the 1964 Paul McCartney song "A World Without Love. Jane Asher was, in the mid 1960s, the girlfriend of Paul McCartney. Through this connection he and Waller were often given unrecorded Lennon–McCartney songs to perform, most notably their first and biggest hit, "A World Without Love" which they recorded in 1964.

Besides "A World Without Love" - which hit #1 in the US- their popular songs included "Nobody I Know," "I Don't Want To See You Again," and "Woman." On "Woman," McCartney used the pseudonym Bernard Webb to see if he could have a hit song without his name attached. The song reached number 14 in the US and number 28 on the British charts. Peter and Gordon also recorded the John Lennon-penned Lennon–McCartney song, "..If I Fell."

Other hits for the group included "I Go to Pieces" (U.S. #7)—written by Del Shannon and given to the duo after the two acts toured together—and remakes of "True Love Ways" by Buddy Holly and "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, retitled "To Know You Is To Love You." Peter and Gordon had their last hits in 1967, with "Lady Godiva" (US #6), "Knight In Rusty Armour," and "Sunday for Tea."

"World Without Love," "Nobody I Know," "True Love Ways," and "Lady Godiva" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.

In 1965, Peter was best man when singer Marianne Faithfull married John Dunbar in Cambridge. After Peter & Gordon disbanded in 1968, Asher took charge of the A&R department at the Beatles' Apple Records label, where he signed a then-unknown James Taylor and agreed to produce the singer-songwriter's debut solo album.

The album was not a success, but Asher was so convinced that Taylor held great potential that he resigned his post at Apple to move to the US and work as Taylor's manager. Asher achieved his greatest success producing a long string of multi-platinum albums for James Taylor, including Sweet Baby James, JT and Flag.

Asher also played a role in shaping the Californian rock sound prominent during the 1970s, producing records for Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther, Andrew Gold and Bonnie Raitt. For Ronstadt, these included Heart Like A Wheel, Simple Dreams, Living In The USA, What's New, Canciones De Mi Padre and Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind.

In 1976, Asher and Waller reformed for the annual New York 'Beatlefest' and played a few other dates. In the 1980s, Asher also worked on hit albums for artists as diverse as Cher and 10,000 Maniacs. At one point, he had a short-lived relationship with Millie Small, known as Millie, who sang "My Boy Lollipop."

In February 1995, Asher was named Senior Vice President, Sony Music Entertainment. At the beginning of 2002, Asher left Sony and returned full time to the management of artists’ careers as co-President of Sanctuary Artist Management. In January 2005 he was named President, the position he held until September 2006, when he resigned.

In 2007 Asher joined forces with his friend Simon Renshaw (who manages the Dixie Chicks) at the company Simon founded, Strategic Artist Management. Asher reunited with James Taylor as the producer of the Live at the Troubadour reunion album recorded in 2007, with Carole King and Taylor's original band.

In August, 2005, Peter and Gordon reunited onstage for the first time in more than 30 years, as part of two tribute concerts for Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five in New York City. This was followed by more complete concerts at The Festival for Beatles Fans (formerly Beatlefest) conventions that began the following year. In the spring of 2007 and 2008, Peter and Gordon were featured performers in the Flower Power concert series at Disney's EPCOT in Florida.

Also in 2007, they performed as part of Love-In: A Musical Celebration, a tribute to the music of the 1960s, which was filmed at the Birch North Park Theatre in San Diego, California, and released on DVD in March, 2009.

On July 19, 2008, Peter and Gordon performed together at The Cannery Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also on the bill that night were Chad & Jeremy. Both duos sang the final concert song ("Bye Bye Love") together for only the second time. The pair played numerous times at the 50 Winters Later celebration, in February, 2009, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

They subsequently performed in Chicago, New Jersey and at the Festival for Beatles Fans convention in Las Vegas, July 1 and 2, 2009. On August 21, 2008, they performed a free concert on the pier in Santa Monica, California and were briefly accompanied by Joan Baez.

Gordon Waller died in 2009.


No comments:

Post a Comment