Peter and Gordon

Gary: “This will be the second of my British Duo’s of the mid-sixties.

,
Peter Asher and Gordon Waller (deceased July 17, 2009)
.
Video’s:
A World Without Love / 1964 /
.
I Go to Pieces / 1965 /
.
Woman / 1966 /
.
Lady Godiva / 1966 /
.
Music:
A World Without Love / Capitol 5175 / May 1964 / #1
Nobody I Know / Capitol 5211 / July 1964 / #12
I Don’t Want To See You Again / Capitol 5272 / October 1964 / #16
I Go To Pieces / Capitol 5335 / January 1965 / #9
True Love Ways (Buddy Holly) / Capitol 5406 / May 1965 / #14
To Know You is to Love You (Phil Spector) / Capitol 5461 / #24
Woman / Capitol 5579 / March 1966 / #14
Lady Godiva / Capitol 5740 / November 1966 / #6
Knight in Rusty Armour / Capitol 5808 / January 1967 / #15
Sunday For Tea / Capitol 5864 / April 1967 / #31
  • Peter Asher (born June 22, 1944, Willesden, London, England): vocals, guitar
  • Gordon Waller (born Gordon Trueman Riviere Waller, June 4, 1945, Braemar, Scotland; died July 17, 2009, Ledyard, Connecticut): vocals, guitar

Contributions to music:

  • Their close harmonies and folky style earned them a position in British Invasion pop not unlike that of the Everly Brothers in early rock
  • The first British band after the Beatles to score a US #1
  • Equally adept at lush balladry and British music-hall humor
  • One of the greatest interpretive groups of their time
  • The most successful interpreters of the Lennon-McCartney songbook

Early years:

Although closely associated with the Beatles, specifically Paul McCartney — Paul dated Peter Asher’s sister Jane for years, and provided the duo with three of their biggest hits — Peter and Gordon came by their fame quite honestly. The two originally met while attending London’s Westminster School, and while Asher actually preferred jazz and folk to Waller’s rock leanings, the two got along fabulously and decided to play together at a local pub. Before long, they’d achieved enough of a reputation to land a steady gig at London’s Pickwick Club. It was there that EMI’s Norman Newell discovered them and signed them.

Success:

The combination of being signed to EMI and knowing Paul McCartney through Jane got the duo access to several Paul songs never recorded by the Beatles, four of which — “I Don’t Want To See You Again,” “Nobody I Know,” “A World Without Love,” and “Woman” — hit the US Top 20. While on tour in Australia, Del Shannon provided them with a song that would become one of their biggest hits, “I Go To Pieces” (not the Patsy Cline song). As the gentler, more romantic side of the British Invasion, the two enjoyed a run of chart hits for four years, a significantly long time for pop music, and for the era.

Later years:

In 1968, with the hits drying up, the duo amicably went their separate ways. Gordon tried an abortive solo career, then originated the role of Pharaoh in the stage musical Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat before moving into music publishing. Asher went on to even greater success, signing James Taylor to Apple and later following him to Los Angeles, where he became one of the most successful soft-rock producers of the ’70s. The duo reunited in 2005 at a benefit for ailing DC5 frontman Mike Smith, and began a successful touring run for years thereafter. Gordon Waller died of cardiac arrest on July 17, 2009.

–o–

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5 responses to “Peter and Gordon

  1. I met Peter Asher a few months ago and we chatted about what he learned about songwriting from being around McCartney a lot (Paul was virtually living with the Ashers in the mid 60s). Peter said that Paul often wrote different sets of lyrics to the same section of a song and then decided on the ones he liked best. (Peter watched Paul do this as he wrote “I’m Looking Through You” in 1965 with different lyrics for the bridge.) Nothing like having one of the world’s greatest songwriters living with you, eh? No wonder P&G had good material.

    Love that Del Shannon song too.

  2. I could have sworn you blogged about Del Shannon already, but I couldn’t find him in your Search. (I thought I even left a comment about Del.) Was I hallucinating?

  3. Thanks, Russ. Del was under-appreciated as a pop songwriter. And like a lot of talented singers, songwriters, and musicians of the day he was swept aside by the British Invasion in 64-65.

  4. Pingback: Linda Ronstadt | Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music"

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