Peter Asher

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Peter Asher
Peter Asher playing in Boston 2012.jpg
Peter Asher performing at Johnny D's in Somerville, Massachusetts, on 8 August 2012
Background information
Birth name Peter Asher
Born (1944-06-22) 22 June 1944 (age 70)
London, England[1]
Genres Traditional pop music, pop music
Occupations Musician
producer
Actor
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1952 –present
Associated acts Peter and Gordon

Peter L. Asher (born 22 June 1944) is a British guitarist, singer, manager and record producer. He first 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.

Early life[edit]

Asher was born at the Central Middlesex Hospital. 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, Peter played the appealing central juvenile part in the 1954 film version of Isn't Life Wonderful, along with stars Cecil Parker and Donald Wolfitt. He also appeared in the ITV series, The Adventures of Robin Hood. He was a member of Mensa.[citation needed] 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 coffee bars. In 1962, they began working formally as Peter and Gordon. Their first (and biggest) hit was the 1964 Paul McCartney song "A World Without Love."

Asher later read philosophy at King's College London.[2] Asher is the son of Dr Richard and Margaret Asher, and the older brother of actress and businesswoman, Jane Asher, and radio actress, Clare Asher. Jane Asher 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.[3]

In 1965, he was best man when singer Marianne Faithfull married John Dunbar in Cambridge.[4]

After Peter & 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. 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.

In 1969, Asher was asked by George Harrison to look up an American band called Raven while he was in New York City (The Longest Cocktail Party, p. 119). He offered Raven an Apple Records recording contract in the kitchen of Steve Paul's Scene but the group turned it down and instead signed with Columbia Records.[5]

1970s and beyond[edit]

In the early 1970s Asher also managed the country rock band, Country, which recorded for Atlantic Records through its subsidiary Clean Records, featuring Michael Fondiler and Tom Snow, who has since become a songwriter. For a time, Asher also managed James Taylor's sister Kate Taylor. When she decided to leave the business, she recommended him to Linda Ronstadt at which point Asher became Ronstadt's manager.[6] Asher achieved his greatest success producing a long string of multi-platinum albums for James Taylor, including Sweet Baby James, JT and Flag, and for Linda Ronstadt, including Heart Like A Wheel, Simple Dreams, Living in the USA, What's New, Canciones De Mi Padre and Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind.

Phoenix, 6 Oct 2012

The Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood was opened on 23 September 1973 by Elmer Valentine and Lou Adler along with original partners David Geffen, Elliot Roberts and Peter Asher.

Asher also played a role in shaping the Californian rock sound prominent during the 1970s, producing records for Ronstadt, J. D. Souther, Andrew Gold and Bonnie Raitt. In 1976, Asher and Waller reformed for the annual New York "Beatlefest" and played a few other dates.[7] In the 1980s, Asher also worked on hit albums for artists as diverse as Cher and 10,000 Maniacs.

In February 1995, Asher was named Senior Vice-President, Sony Music Entertainment. At the beginning of 2002, Asher left Sony and returned full-time to the management of artists' careers as co-President of Sanctuary Artist Management. In January 2005 he was named President, the position he held until September 2006, when he resigned. In 2007 Asher joined forces with his friend Simon Renshaw (who manages the Dixie Chicks) at the company Simon founded, Strategic Artist Management. Strategic has grown into a dominant force in the entertainment industry, now managing artists in many fields of endeavour beyond just music – one of Asher's clients is Pamela Anderson. Asher also reunited with James Taylor as the producer of the Live at the Troubadour reunion album recorded in 2007, with Carole King and Taylor's original band.

During 2005 and 2006, Peter and Gordon reformed for occasional concerts. However, Waller died in 2009 and in its obituary, The Times observed that "Waller was thought more handsome than the slightly nerdish looking Asher".[8]

Asher had been quoted as saying that actor Mike Myers has said he had patterned his Austin Powers character after Asher's appearance,[9] although Elizabeth Hurley, who co-starred in Austin Powers, claimed that the original model was broadcaster Simon Dee.[10]

In 2011 Asher was the executive producer of the Listen to Me: Buddy Holly compilation album and also music supervisor, producer, and co-host of the Buddy Holly: Listen to Me; The Ultimate Buddy Party PBS Pledge Special. Performed and filmed in front of a live audience the Buddy Holly tribute concert aired as PBS Pledge Special in December 2011 and May and June 2012. The Special received the highest 2012 Silver Telly Award in the Category of TV Programs, Segments, or Promotional Pieces.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Peter had a short-lived relationship with singer Millie Small, also known as Millie, who sang "My Boy Lollipop",[4] which was never back-to-back on the Hot 100 with "A World Without Love", though both were together on that chart many weeks.

Peter's daughter, Victoria Asher, is the keytarist in the American synthpop/pop punk band Cobra Starship.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Grammy awards[edit]

Discography[edit]

As performer[edit]

All releases by Peter and Gordon unless noted.

Year Album
1964 In Touch With...
1964 Peter and Gordon
1964 World Without Love
1965 Hurtin' 'n' Lovin'
1965 I Don't Want to See You Again
1965 I Go To Pieces
1965 True Love Ways
1966 Best of Peter and Gordon
1966 Peter and Gordon Sing & Play the Hits of Nashville
1966 Somewhere
1966 Woman
1967 In London for Tea
1967 Knight in Rusty Armour
1967 Lady Godiva
1967 Hot Cold & Custard
1972 Gordon (Gordon Waller solo album)
1983 Best of Peter and Gordon
1983 Hits of Peter and Gordon
1991 Best of Peter and Gordon
2001 Ultimate Peter and Gordon
2003 Definitive Collection: Knights in Rusty Armour

As producer[edit]

Year Album Artist
1968 James Taylor James Taylor
1969 Barbara Keith Barbara Keith
1970 Jo Mama Jo Mama
1970 Sweet Baby James James Taylor
1971 Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon James Taylor
1971 Sister Kate Kate Taylor
1971 Tony Joe White Tony Joe White
1971 Bad Girl Songs Tony Kosinec
1972 One Man Dog James Taylor
1973 Don't Cry Now Linda Ronstadt
1974 Heart Like a Wheel Linda Ronstadt
1975 Prisoner in Disguise Linda Ronstadt
1975 Black Rose J.D. Souther
1976 Hasten Down the Wind Linda Ronstadt
1976 Love Songs David Sanborn
1977 JT James Taylor
1977 Simple Dreams Linda Ronstadt
1978 Living in the USA Linda Ronstadt
1979 Flag James Taylor
1979 The Glow Bonnie Raitt
1980 Mad Love Linda Ronstadt
1981 Dad Loves His Work James Taylor
1982 Get Closer Linda Ronstadt
1983 Reelin' in the Years, Vol. 1 various artists
1983 What's New Linda Ronstadt
1984 Lush Life Linda Ronstadt
1984 Moonlighting (Original TV soundtrack)
1985 That's Why I'm Here James Taylor
1986 An American Tail (Original soundtrack)
1986 For Sentimental Reasons Linda Ronstadt
1987 Canciones De Mi Padre Linda Ronstadt
1987 Cher Cher
1987 In My Tribe 10,000 Maniacs
1987 Storytellers: Singers & Songwriters various artists
1988 The Land Before Time (Original soundtrack)
1989 Blind Man's Zoo 10,000 Maniacs
1989 Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind Linda Ronstadt
1989 Heart of Stone Cher
1989 You Happy Puppet 10,000 Maniacs
1990 Mermaids (Original soundtrack)
1991 Force Behind the Power Diana Ross
1991 Live in Rio James Taylor
1991 Love Hurts Cher
1991 Lovescape Neil Diamond
1991 Mambo Kings (Original soundtrack)
1991 Swept Julia Fordham
1991 Williams Brothers The Williams Brothers
1992 American Standard Mary's Danish
1992 Back to Basics Olivia Newton-John
1992 Christmas Album Neil Diamond
1992 Olivia Olivia Newton-John
1992 Time Takes Time Ringo Starr
1993 Made in America (Original soundtrack)
1993 Robin Zander Robin Zander
1993 Up on the Roof: Songs from the Brill Building Neil Diamond
1994 Christmas Album, Vol. 2 Neil Diamond
1994 Randy Newman's Faust: Words & Music various artists
1995 Don't Ask Tina Arena
1995 EP Collection Peter & Gordon
1995 Faust Randy Newman
1996 It Takes Two various artists
1996 One Fine Day (Original soundtrack)
1996 Show Me Heaven Tina Arena
1997 Most Beautiful Soul Album on Earth various artists
1997 Superstar Christmas various artists
1997 Under These Rocks and Stones Chantal Kreviazuk
1998 Armageddon (Original soundtrack)
1998 As I Came of Age Sarah Brightman
1998 December Kenny Loggins
1998 Motown 40 Forever various artists
1999 All Time Greatest Movie Songs various artists
1999 Best Party Megamix in the World Ever various artists
1999 Collection Julia Fordham
1999 Runaway Bride (Original soundtrack)
1999 When the Going Gets Tough Boyzone
2000 Gift of Love Diana Ross
2000 More Songs from Pooh Corner Kenny Loggins
2000 Tigger Movie: Songs & Story various artists
2001 Everything I Am Anna Vissi
2001 Motown Anthology Diana Ross
2001 Three Chord Opera Neil Diamond
2001 Ultimate Peter and Gordon Peter & Gordon
2002 Capitol Records 1942–2002 various artists
2002 Everybody's Got a Story Amanda Marshall
2002 Freedom: A History of Us (Original soundtrack)
2002 Live 2002 Robin Williams
2002 Providence (Original TV soundtrack)
2002 Sweet Is the Melody Aselin Debison
2003 Best of the Definitive American Songbook, Vol. 2: I-Z various artists
2003 Cafeteria: Hear various artists
2003 Earth Rider – The Essential John Stewart 1964–1979 John Stewart
2003 Singers and Songwriters Christmas Songs various artists
2004 California Wilson Phillips
2004 Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings 10,000 Maniacs
2004 De-Lovely (Original soundtrack)
2004 Intermission Amanda Marshall
2004 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Original soundtrack)
2004 Taking a Chance on Love Jane Monheit
2005 Live at Earls Court Morrissey
2005 Goodies, Vol. 1 various artists
2005 Souvenirs Tina Arena
2006 You're Only Lonely Raul Malo
2007 Siren Sasha and Shawna
2006 I Love You Diana Ross
2010 Live at the Troubadour Carole King and James Taylor
2011 Buddy Holly: Listen to Me; The Ultimate Buddy Party Various Artists – Producer and Host
2013 Love Has Come for You Steve Martin and Edie Brickell

As executive producer[edit]

Year Album Artist
1989 Harry's Cafe De Wheels Peter Blakeley
1999 Timbre Sophie B. Hawkins
2011 Listen to Me: Buddy Holly Various Artists

References[edit]

  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: June 1944 3a 826 Willesden – Peter Asher, mmn = Eliot
  2. ^ The Times, obituary of Gordon Waller, 23 July 2009.
  3. ^ Jackson, Andrew Grant (22 April 2013). "The Songs the Beatles Gave Away". Brow Beat: Slate's Culture Blog. Slate.com. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Harry, Bill (first published 1992, paperback edition 2000). The Beatles Encyclopaedia. London: Virgin Publishing, London W6 9HA. p. 403. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2. 
  5. ^ Once Life Matters: A New Beginning pp. 62–65, author Marty Angelo.
  6. ^ DeYoung, Bill (21 February 2003). "Home at Last: The Journey of Linda Ronstadt". Goldmine (589). Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Peter and Gordon reunite at Fest for Beatle Fans", Steve Marinucci's Abbeyrd Beatles fan website. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
  8. ^ Timesonline.co.uk – July 23, 2009
  9. ^ Patti Murawski quoting interview with Peter Asher. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
  10. ^ Richard Wiseman (2006) "Whatever Happened to Simon Dee?" Daily Mail, 31 August 2009; The Times obituary of Simon Dee, 31 August 2009.
  11. ^ Good Things Come in Threes Songmasters' Listen to Me: True.Great.Original Press Release

External links[edit]