Peter Asher, CBE is a legendary English guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the pop music vocal duo Peter and Gordon before going on to a wildly successful career as a manager and record produ...
Peter Asher, CBE is a legendary English guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the pop music vocal duo Peter and Gordon before going on to a wildly successful career as a manager and record producer.
We talk about his upcoming tour, the “NY is back concert” that had end halfway through due to a hurricane, his time spent with the Beatles, touring with Robin Williams and producing his Grammy award winning comedy album, working with Cher, Diana Ross, James Taylor, Cait Taylor, how music and the industry has changed for better or worse and some hilarious stories of fans chasing him through the streets. Enjoy!
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CBE / Singer / Song Writer / Record Producer / Manager
Peter Asher, CBE (born 22 June 1944) is an English guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of the pop music vocal duo Peter and Gordon before going on to a successful career as a manager and record producer, helping to foster the recording careers of James Taylor and Linda Rondstadt among others. As of 2018, he tours alongside Jeremy Clyde of Chad and Jeremy in a new duo entitled Peter and Jeremy, where they perform hits from both of their respective catalogues. In 2019, Asher published a book The Beatles from A to Zed about his personal reminiscences about the band.
Asher was born at the Central Middlesex Hospital to Richard and Margaret Asher, née Eliot. His father was a consultant in blood and mental diseases at the Central Middlesex Hospital, as well as being a broadcaster and the author of notable medical articles. Asher's mother was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. One of her pupils there was George Martin. Asher is the brother of Clare Asher, a radio actress and school inspector, and Jane Asher. His family is Jewish.
When he was eight years old, he began working as a child actor, and appeared in the film The Planter's Wife, and the stage play Isn't Life Wonderful. At the age of ten, Asher played the central juvenile part in the 1954 film version of Isn't Life Wonderful, along stars Cecil Parker and Donald Wolfitt. In 1955 he played the youngest brother, "Johnny", in Escapade, based on Roger MacDougall's play. The film starred John Mills and Alastair Sim. He also appeared in the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood.
In 1956, Asher appeared as a 12-year-old in The Talking Head, one of the short films in the series of Colonel March of Scotland Yard, starring Boris Karloff. While attending the independent Westminster School as a day boy, he first met fellow pupil Gordon Waller (1945–2009), and they began playing and singing together as a duo in cafes. In 1962, they began working formally as Peter and Gordon. Their first (and biggest) hit was the 1964 Lennon/McCartney song "A World Without Love". Asher's sister Jane was, in the mid-1960s, the girlfriend of Paul McCartney. Through this connection, Asher and Waller were often given unrecorded Lennon/McCartney songs to perform.
Asher later read philosophy at King's College London.
In 1965, he was best man when singer Marianne Faithfull married John Dunbar in Cambridge.
After Peter and 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 United States and work as Taylor's manager. Asher produced Paul Jones' rendition of the Bee Gees' "And the Sun Will Shine" which was released as a single (only in the UK). He also produced a number of Taylor's recordings from 1970 to 1985, including Sweet Baby James, Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon, JT and Flag.