As 1960s-era kid, I grew up a big fan of Peter & Gordon, the British duo made up of Peter Asher and Gordon Waller. I saw them play once in the mid-60s and bought all of their nine Top 20 singles. On that same 60’s bill, was The Dave Clark Five, another great British rock group.
In 2005, a wonderful thing happened that can only come with the passage of years. Peter & Gordon reunited, for one night only, to pay tribute to Mike Smith, a key member of the Dave Clark Five, who at the time had a spinal cord injury he sustained in 2003 that left him a tetraplegic. Sadly, Smith died only two weeks before he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
On that special night at B.B. Kings in New York City, Peter & Gordon harmonized on A World Without Love, Lady Godiva, Woman and Because. These two guys hadn't performed together in over 37 years! Yet, with Paul Schaffer's backup band including cellos and horns, they sounded like their old records.
Even better was the chance to trade stories at 4 a.m. with Peter & Gordon after the show in Lucille’s, the next door cafe to B.B. Kings. It was like having your life flash back full circle.
To make a long story short, Gordon Waller died last year, after Peter & Gordon had done several more appearances at benefit shows. Now, Asher, in an interview with the Gibson Guitar company, says he never wants to perform those songs again.
“At the same time, I had been doing some lectures about the ’60s and ’70s, with stories, and video clips, and odds and ends, which people seemed to find fascinating,” Asher said. “I decided to combine all of that. It’s been great fun putting this together.”
Asher is producing a multimedia stage show composed of film footage, photos, storytelling and music performances. It’s titled Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the ’60s and Beyond. There’s no schedule of performances yet, but I’ll be watching for it.
One has to imagine this rock history lesson will be rich. Asher, whose sister dated Paul McCartney, was close to the Beatles and one of Peter & Gordon’s big hits was the McCartney-penned World Without Love. In the basement in his own home, where John Lennon and McCartney were working in a practice room, Asher was the first hear their joint composition, I Want to Hold Your Hand.
In later years, Asher became head of A&R at Apple Records. It was there that he discovered James Taylor, who Asher continued to manage for years after he left Apple Records.