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Spotlight Sunday: Peter and Gordon

One might consider Peter Asher to be a lucky guy. With Paul McCartney dating his sister, Jane Asher, in the early to mid 1960's, Peter and Gordon received many McCartney penned songs that became hits for the duo. It wasn't just luck though that propelled Peter and Gordon to fame. Their harmonizing was reminiscent of The Everly Brothers and they played a major role in the British invasion of the 60's.

Peter and Gordon
Peter and Gordon

Asher and Gordon Waller met at Westminster School for Boys in London. The duo connected by being the only students who sang and played music.

"Our voices are quite different, Gordon's and mine, but we tried singing together experimentally and we found that we could achieve this very nice harmony," Asher told the Sacramento Bee in 2006.

They first started out playing for their own enjoyment, but soon started playing bars and clubs, including a gig at the Pickwick Club in London where they were spotted by EMI records Norman Newell.

Peter & Gordon became the second British invasion act (after The Beatles) to achieve a number one hit in the United States with the the McCartney song "A World Without Love." It became one of the most successful singles released in 1964.

Other McCartney songs recorded by Peter and Gordon include"Nobody I Know" and "I Don't Want To See You Again." The song "Woman" was also penned by McCartney, but credited to Bernard Webb to see if McCartney was able to achieve a hit without his name attached to it. It reached No. 14 on the US charts and No. 28 on the British charts.

McCartney songs weren't the only hits for the British duo. They also found success with Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways" and Del Shannon's "I Go To Pieces." They were also talented songwriters in their own right, recording their self penned tracks "If I Were You" and "Morning's Calling," as well as others, for the B-sides to their successful singles.

The duo performed on shows such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" and even performed at the 1966 Academy Awards. They toured with The Beatles, The Dave Clark Five, and Herman's Hermits. They even toured with the Rolling Stones. They had nine top 20 songs in four years.

Peter and Gordon went their own way in 1968. Asher became a successful manager and producer. He became head of A&R for Apple records and produced and managed acts like James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Waller tried the solo route, releasing an album "...and Gordon" in 1972 and performed in the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

Peter and Gordon reunited in 2005. Waller passed away in 2009 at the age of 64.


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