"Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the 60s and Beyond" featuring the music of Peter and Gordon
We first came to know him through the global smash "World Without Love" as one half of the British Invasion duo Peter & Gordon. He returns in "Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the 60s and Beyond" which brings a multimedia experience to the stage, hosted by the two-time Grammy winner for Producer of the Year. Peter Asher moved effortlessly from his role with Peter & Gordon to Music Executive with the Beatles' Apple Records, then famously- (as in cover of Rolling Stone magazine level famous)- to Producer and Manager, handling the careers of James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and a host of others. Books abound, documentaries with half truths (and worse) are all too common, but, now, finally, Mr. Asher tells first hand his tales from the eye of the cultural hurricane in this intimate evening.
"Memoir" includes film footage and photos from Peter's considerable personal archive, brought to life with a storyteller's gift, transporting audiences back to the heart of 60s popular culture. Icons such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Marianne Faithful, Yoko Ono, Carole King, James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt are among the cast of characters in this narrative - along (of course) with the greatly missed Gordon Waller. The evening is filled with the music of Peter & Gordon, including "I Go to Pieces", "True Love Ways", and "Lady Godiva". The songs given to Peter & Gordon by Paul McCartney are also front and center: "Woman", "I Don't Want to See You Again", Nobody I Know", and "World Without Love", all of which were US Top 40 hits along with other old favourites from that golden era.
The show made its debut in Canada earlier this year.
Comments on Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the 60s and Beyond ...
"We loved it! It was a perfect night" -Lesley Primeau, CHED AM
"This was an emotional night for me... I loved this show. Peter lived history. It was so poignant to hear him talk about the music scene in the 60s, his days with Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger. He and Gordon created timeless music. " -Rob Christie, Rob and Audie morning show host, Capital FM
Peter Asher was born in London June 22, 1944, the son of a doctor and a professional musician. He was educated at Westminster School in London and at Kings College, London University, where he studied philosophy.
Peter's entry into the world of the performing arts was as a child actor. At the age of eight he starred in his first film, "The Planter's Wife" as the son of Claudette Colbert and Jack Hawkins. He went on to act extensively in various film, TV, radio and stage productions.
His legendary music career began in 1963 as one-half of the singing duo Peter & Gordon. Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were often called the Everly Brothers of the British Invasion". Their overall sound and vocal work influenced groups like the Byrds; they harmonized in ear pleasing intervals, strummed acoustic guitars in tandem, and recorded an impressively consistent string of hit songs.
Blending folk, blues and rock 'n' roll with their own pop-flavoured English sensibility, they managed both commercial success and musical integrity; their versions of "All My Trials" and "500 Miles" were the performances that turned heads and led to a recording contract. The result was ten North American Top 40 hits between 1964 and 1967, including eight in the Top 20. "World Without Love", their debut single, peaked at Number 1 in May of 1964. That smash hit made Peter & Gordon the first British act to hit #1 in the wake of the Beatles' success at the dawn of that year - the year that brought a cultural watershed forever known as the British Invasion.
Asher met Waller at the aforementioned Westminster School. They appeared to be the only two people at school at the time that played guitar and sang. They soon became friends and tried singing together. Peter was originally a big fan of jazz and American folk music; Gordon started as more of a rock 'n roller, above all a big fan of Elvis. They learned from one another, found common ground in The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly, and a duo was born.
Peter & Gordon first started singing together for their own entertainment, alone or at parties, and eventually tried a lunchtime gig for a little money and free food in a local pub. From there, they got a regular booking at The Pickwick Club, a fashionable supper club in London where a lot of show business people went. After they had been singing there for some months, Norman Newell, an A&R man for EMI Records, called them over to his table one night, asking "Have you boys ever made a record? Here's my card, I work for EMI, come and make a demo." They did, he liked it and signed them to a contract.
At that time, Peter & Gordon had recently become good friends with Paul McCartney. Paul was going out with Peter's sister Jane and he and Peter ended up sharing the top floor of the Asher family home in London.
As their first recording session drew near and Peter & Gordon were looking for songs, they remembered a song Paul had played them called "World Without Love", which he had written but never used. They asked Paul whether he would write a bridge for it and allow them to include it on their first recording session, and he did so. It was subsequently chosen by EMI (and by Capitol, their US affiliate) as the first single, and in 1964, it went to number one on both sides of the Atlantic (and around the world).
The duo went on to score hits with the Lennon and McCartney songs "Nobody I Know" and "I Don't Want to See You Again", along with "Woman" (written by McCartney under a pseudonym). Suddenly Peter & Gordon were among the most recognizable faces of the British Invasion.
Peter & Gordon also turned out to be astute song finders outside the Lennon-McCartney sphere. "I Go to Pieces" was acquired while on tour in Australia with Del Shannon and The Searchers. Del was playing it for the Searchers in their dressing room. They didn't want it, but Peter & Gordon did.
The two also had success with Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways", and Phil Spector's "To Know You Is To Love You", all of which charted well in North America, making the Top 40. They also found success in 1966 and 1967 with music-hall novelties such as "Lady Godiva" and "Knight in Rusty Armour, and parent-pleasing pop like "Sunday for Tea".
They toured extensively all over the world and performed on most the major TV shows on both sides of the Atlantic, from Thank Your Lucky Stars and Top of the Pops in the UK, to Ed Sullivan, Shindig and Hullabaloo in the US. Following a four-year, ten song hit spree and many successful concerts, Peter & Gordon amicably went their separate ways in 1968.
That was the year in which Peter Asher became head of A&R for the Beatles newly formed record company, Apple Records, where he found, signed and produced James Taylor and worked closely with the Beatles on their individual projects. Peter had already become a key figure in the "revolution" of The Sixties, founding the book shop and art gallery "Indica" (where John and Yoko met, and where Allen Ginsberg and William Boroughs visited), and finding himself at the centre of an era of profound social and artistic change.
In 1971, Peter Asher moved to the U.S. and founded Peter Asher Management, representing James Taylor and, beginning in 1973, the management and production of Linda Ronstadt as well. Peter Asher Management became one of the most successful Artist Management companies in the US, handling artists such as Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, and Carole King as well as James and Linda.
As a producer, Mr. Asher has worked with such diverse artists as James Taylor, 10,000 Maniacs, Diana Ross, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, Morrissey, Robin Williams, Robbie Williams, Elvis Costello, Jane Monheit, Kenny Loggins, Dan Fogelberg, Stevie Nicks, Heart, The Fray, The Dixie Chicks and Billy Joel, among many others. He has been awarded 37 RIAA-certified gold albums and 22 platinum albums in the U.S. and many more internationally.
Mr. Asher has produced twelve Grammy Award-winning recordings, and in 1977 and 1989 was honored with the Grammy Award for "Producer of the Year. He has also received various international awards, is a member of Mensa, a member of the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy, and has been a frequent keynote speaker at industry events. In February 1995, Peter Asher was named Senior Vice President of Sony Music Entertainment.
At the beginning of 2002, Peter 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 his resignation in September 2006.
In 2007 Peter joined forces with his good friend Simon Renshaw (who manages the Dixie Chicks and many other successful acts) at the company Simon founded, Strategic Artist Management. In 2009, as the 20th anniversary of its founding approached, Peter resurrected Peter Asher Management.
In August, 2005, Peter & Gordon played a benefit concert for Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five, who was seriously injured in a fall at his home in 2003. It was the first time the pair had performed together in 37 years. Both fans and press reacted with great enthusiasm. Peter & Gordon continued to perform to considerable acclaim for the next four years, winning rave reviews for their Carnegie Hall debut in 2007, and their triumphant return to Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Pier in 2008 where 17,000 fans welcomed them back. Sadly, Gordon Waller passed away in July of 2009.
The spring of 2009 saw Peter Asher embark on his first for-the-public speaking engagements, leaving audiences spellbound with his tales from the eye of the hurricane of 60s and 70s popular culture. Peter's 2010 performances combining his delightful tales of a golden era with the songs of Peter & Gordon will be a tribute to that partnership and a unique musical career.