Monday, April 6, 2020

Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, and now Peter and Jeremy

Photo of James Taylor & Peter Asher at the
Sweet Baby James photo shoot by Henry Diltz
Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog called,  Sweet Baby James and 50 Years Down the Road

While writing that blog, I had also began to read a book by James Taylor's original manager and the producer of Sweet Baby James, Peter Asher.

Thanks to Paul Hobbs 
for the book loan



The book is titled, The Beatles from A to Zed and is simply a wonderful journey through the alphabet with everything Beatles, plus more interesting sidebar stories including: Peter's direct experiences with the Beatles, his days in Peter and Gordon, and life in the music business. If you're a Beatle fan, this is a must and a very fun read indeed. The book got me interested in Peter Asher and I began to look into his life and professional career as a musician and record producer.

Some early facts about Peter Asher and his one degree of separation-
  • Peter's father was a doctor and his mother was a professional musician and Oboe teacher, who once taught a young lad named, George Martin (the future producer of The Beatles).
  • Peter went to the prestigious Westminster School in London where he met his future band mate, Gordon Waller whose father was also a doctor.
  • Peter was a child actor along with sister Jane Asher, a life-long actress. 
  • At seventeen, Jane had an opportunity to interview the Beatles in April, 1963 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and began a five-year relationship with Paul McCartney. In December 1963, McCartney took up residence at Asher's family Wimpole Street town house and stayed there until the couple moved into McCartney's own home located in St John's Wood in 1966. McCartney wrote several Beatles songs inspired by her, including "And I Love Her", "You Won't See Me", "I'm Looking Through You", "We Can Work It Out", and "Here, There and Everywhere." Wikipedia
  • At the Asher's Wimpole St. home, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the front basement room, while McCartney wrote the tune to "Yesterday" in a box room at the top of the house. Wikipedia
  • Paul McCartney and Jane Asher
  • For two years, Peter's and Paul's bedrooms were right next to each other at the top of the house, and Peter as a young musician himself had constant direct access to one of the greatest singer-songwriter's of all-time. I guess I could go on about Jane's and Paul's access... what were her parents thinking?
Anyway, John and Paul were constantly writing new songs and always revisiting and even workshopping older songs they wrote before the Beatles formed in 1960. One such song, A World Without Love was written by Paul when he was sixteen but John could never get past the first line, Please lock me away without cracking up with laughter.

Peter Asher and Gordon Waller
As John rejected A World Without Love as a Beatles song, an astute Peter Asher asked Paul if he could have the "orphan" song for his newly signed band, Peter and Gordon. Peter even persisted Paul to write the bridge of the still uncompleted song. Paul finished the song and gave it to Peter and Gordon who took it to their first recording sessions for EMI Records. Least to say, the rest is history as the song went all the way to #1 on the UK and American Billboard Charts in 1964 and launched Peter and Gordon as a worldwide duo.

This past week, I thought the A World Without Love lyrics quite appropriate for our #StayatHome times even though they were written by a young Paul McCartney about waiting for a true love to finally show herself.

Please lock me away
And don't allow the day
Here inside where I hide
With my loneliness

I don't care what they say I won't stay
In a world without love

Now another thing that struck me when viewing the color video of A World Without Love is that Peter Asher is the spitting image model of Mike Myers' Austin Powers character. I am of course not the first to make this observation, but I want you to play the song here and pay attention as the camera zooms in on Peter at the 0:27 - 0:37 mark. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about- Peter's expression with mop top, Buddy Holly glasses and teeth... Yeah Baby!



Peter's close relationship with Paul McCartney proved invaluable as Peter and Gordon recorded several songs written by McCartney but credited to Lennon–McCartney. Those hits included "A World Without Love" (US & UK #1), "Nobody I Know" (US #12; UK #10), "I Don't Want To See You Again" (US #16, but not a hit in the UK), and "Woman." With "Woman", McCartney used the pseudonym Bernard Webb to see whether he could have a hit song without his name attached. First pressings of the US Capitol single listed the composer as "A. Smith". The song reached #14 in the US and #28 on the UK Singles Chart in 1966. Wikipedia

Phil and Don Everly
As duo groups in the 1960's started popping up such as Simon and Garfunkel, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, not to mention such bands as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Hollies, and Bee Gees- all getting their harmonic inspiration from the well of The Everly Brothers. For Peter and Gordon, it's very interesting to hear two very different singing voices come together to make their harmony work so well. Needless to say, without the Everly Brothers, the evolution of harmony in the early to mid-sixties for singing duo's and bands just wouldn't have been the same.

Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde
Chad and Jeremy is another interesting duo from England as they too rode the British Invasion to America with a number of hits from 1962 - 1968.

The duo had a string of hits in the US, including "Willow Weep for Me", "Before and After", and their biggest hit, "A Summer Song". Wikipedia

For Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy, the 60's wave ended as both groups disbanded in 1968. For Peter Asher, his life changed in 1968 as he briefly worked as the A&R (Artists & Repertoire) Director for Apple Records where he signed James Taylor to his first record contract and then moved to the United States to manage and produce James and later, Linda Ronstadt. Peter went on to produce many acts, and in 1995-2002 was Senior Vice-President for Sony Music Entertainment.

Peter and Gordon, 2005
But what attracted me to write this article and playlist this week was Peter Asher's reunion with Gordon Waller in 2005, first playing benefits, Beatlefest, and then doing clubs together. Sadly, this ended in 2009 when Gordon Waller died of a heart attack at 64 years old.
Chad and Jeremy, 2005

As for Chad and Jeremy, Chad Stuart continued to work in the music industry while Jeremy Clyde became a film and stage actor. In the early 1980s, the duo reunited to record a new album and perform concerts, including a multi-band British Invasion nostalgia tour. After another long period of separation, in the early 2000s Chad & Jeremy began performing again and developed a semi-regular schedule of touring for many years. Wikipedia

Peter and Jeremy, 2020
Incidentally, both Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy often played venues together as all were life-long friends.

In 2018, Chad Stuart retired from performing and low and behold, Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde started performing together as, Peter and Jeremy. That kind of takes us full circle as I would like to present a mix playlist of Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, and Peter and Jeremy this week in both older and more recent videos. Make sure to watch the last two videos with a bit of fun commentary by Peter and Jeremy. Enjoy my friends!


Note- I also want to give a big shoutout to jarichards99youtube (subscribe here) who does a fantastic job of taking old music videos and creating a Digitally ReProcessed ReCut Video and STEREO ReMix.HiQ Hybrid = Live Video Performance PLUS Studio Quality Sound.