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Interview: Peter Asher talks about British Invasion, Beatles 50th party at Fest

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What was it like to be a part of Beatlemania and the 1964 British Invasion? Peter Asher of Peter & Gordon, who'll be one of the guests at the Fest for Beatles Fans in New York in February that will celebrate those days, said in an interview with Beatles Examiner that it was a lot of fun getting chased by screaming girls.

“It was crazy. I would say I enjoyed it very much. I recommend it highly should the opportunity ever arise. Being chased by screaming girl is excellent,” he said. “It's a good thing they were screaming because sound systems were so lame at that point in time and monitors didn't exist. So God knows what the concerts sounded like. I did hear the Beatles live a couple of times, like playing the BBC and stuff. They were that incredibly good. But in general, screaming girls concealed how good or bad anybody was, so you never knew.

“But yeah, that whole thing about being chased around the place was great fun. It was a game. Both sides knew their roles. The girls would see it in the movies or on television and they'd kind of join in and play their role. No one really knew what it was all about. They didn't know why they wanted to catch you, but it was a game and it was fun.”

Was “A Hard Day's Night” somewhat like that?

“Yes, very much so. Obviously, everything we experienced was one miniscule fraction of what the Beatles experienced. There's absolutely no comparison. All of the rest of us in the British Invasion were pale reflections of the heart of the whole thing that was the Beatles, so one can only imagine. I think one of them said once, 'Nobody but us four will know exactly was it was like to be a Beatle.' I think that's true.”

He said he was thrilled about the recent news that Linda Ronstadt would be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“Better late than never,” he said. “She should have been inducted the first second she was eligible in my view as one of the great rock singers of the century. Singing rock 'n' roll is by no means all she did. She did so much besides, but, God, she did it well.”

He said though no one in any official capacity has discussed it with him, he says, “I imagine I'll probably be there (at the induction ceremony).”

Asher will, of course, bring his “A Musical Memoir of the '60s and Beyond” to the Fest. One of the recent additions to the show is a picture of himself and Linda Ronstadt with Paul and Linda McCartney.

“It was backstage at a Wings concert, I think in L.A.,” he says.

He also says he's not sure yet what new things might be added for the Fest. “Every time I do (the show), I rethink it because I relive the experiences as I talk about them,” he said. “It'll be fun.”

Asher says the Elton John project to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is completed. The album features new versions of songs by Ed Sheeran, Fallout Boy, Hunter Hayes, Miguel, Emily Sandé and others. Asher says it looks like it'll be out in March.

“It's delivered, all done. I'm very happy with it. So is Elton.”

He's very proud of the album “Love Has Come For You” by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell which has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, Best Americana Album and also for Best American Roots Song for the title tune of the same name.

“I'm also in the process of turning it into a stage show, which is going to be at the Old Globe in San Diego in the fall of next year.”

This Sunday, he'll be playing a different role as substitute radio for Chris Carter on KLOS-FM's “Breakfast With the Beatles.” The show runs from noon to 3 p.m. ET/9 a.m. to noon PT. You can listen to the show stream here.

The Fest for Beatles Fans runs from Feb. 7 to 9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Other guests include Donovan, Chad and Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, Freda Kelly of “Good Ol' Freda,” author Mark Lewisohn, '60s AM disc jockey Bruce Morrow, Mark Rivera from Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band, the Smithereens, Birds of Paradox, the Nutopians, author David Bedford, Ringo's photographer Rob Shanahan and many others. Tickets and information are available at The Fest website.

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We love to write about the Beatles and have been doing it since our time at a major metropolitan newspaper. Subscribe and get addicted to our exclusive original stories and interviews about the Beatles in all our Beatles column pages at Beatles Examiner, Paul McCartney Examiner, George Harrison Examiner and Ringo Starr Examiner. You can subscribe through the button on this page and spread the word about us. And be sure to check out our Amazon.com “That's What I Want” Beatles store.

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