Peter Asher performing at Johnny D's in Somerville, Massachusetts, on 8 August 2012
|Birth name||Peter Asher|
22 June 1944 |
|Genres||Traditional pop music, pop music|
|Years active||1952 –present|
|Labels||Capitol, Apple, Warner Bros., Columbia|
|Associated acts||Peter and Gordon, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt|
Peter L. Asher CBE (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.
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 is a member of Mensa. 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. Asher is the son of Dr Richard Asher and Margaret Eliot, 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.
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.
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.
1970s and beyond
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. 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.
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. 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".
Asher had been quoted as saying that actor Mike Myers has said he had patterned his Austin Powers character after Asher's appearance, although Elizabeth Hurley, who co-starred in Austin Powers, claimed that the original model was broadcaster Simon Dee.
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.
Recently, Peter Asher has been playing shows as part of a duo with Albert Lee that showcases songs from both their careers.
Asher had a short-lived relationship with singer Millie Small, also known as Millie, who sang "My Boy Lollipop", which was never back-to-back on the Hot 100 with "A World Without Love", though both were together on that chart many weeks.
He was married twice, first to Betty Doster. In 1983 he married his second wife, Wendy Worth. Their daughter, Victoria Asher, was born in 1984. She is the keytarist in the American synthpop/pop punk band Cobra Starship.
Awards and recognition
- 1977 – Producer of The Year, Non-Classical (Simple Dreams, JT)
- 1989 – Producer of the Year, Non-Classical (Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind)
- 2002 – Best Spoken Comedy Album (Live 2002 (Robin Williams))
|This section requires expansion. (October 2009)|
All releases by Peter and Gordon unless noted.
|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 and Play the Hits of Nashville|
|1967||In London for Tea|
|1967||Knight in Rusty Armour|
|1967||Hot Cold and 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|
|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||Simple Dreams||Linda Ronstadt|
|1978||Living in the USA||Linda Ronstadt|
|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||In My Tribe||10,000 Maniacs|
|1987||Storytellers: Singers and 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|
|1991||Force Behind the Power||Diana Ross|
|1991||Live in Rio||James Taylor|
|1991||Mambo Kings||(Original soundtrack)|
|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||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 and Music||various artists|
|1995||Don't Ask||Tina Arena|
|1995||EP Collection||Peter and Gordon|
|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||As I Came of Age||Sarah Brightman|
|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||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 and 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 and 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||Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings||10,000 Maniacs|
|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|
|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
|1989||Harry's Cafe De Wheels||Peter Blakeley|
|1999||Timbre||Sophie B. Hawkins|
|2011||Listen to Me: Buddy Holly||Various Artists|
- GRO Register of Births: June 1944 3a 826 Willesden – Peter Asher, mmn = Eliot
- It's so easy for music impresario Peter Asher
- The Times, obituary of Gordon Waller, 23 July 2009.
- Jackson, Andrew Grant (22 April 2013). "The Songs the Beatles Gave Away". Brow Beat: Slate's Culture Blog. Slate.com. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
- Harry, Bill (first published 1992, paperback edition 2000). The Beatles Encyclopaedia. London: Virgin Publishing, London W6 9HA. p. 403. ISBN 0-7535-0481-2. Check date values in:
- "James Taylor & Carole King: Live at the Troubadour", 2007
- "Paul Jones - And The Sun Will Shine - The Dog Presides". beatleshelp.net. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
- Once Life Matters: A New Beginning pp. 62–65, author Marty Angelo.
- DeYoung, Bill (21 February 2003). "Home at Last: The Journey of Linda Ronstadt". Goldmine (589). Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- "Peter and Gordon reunite at Fest for Beatle Fans", Steve Marinucci's Abbeyrd Beatles fan website. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
- Timesonline.co.uk – July 23, 2009
- Patti Murawski quoting interview with Peter Asher. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
- Richard Wiseman (2006) "Whatever Happened to Simon Dee?" Daily Mail, 31 August 2009; The Times obituary of Simon Dee, 31 August 2009.
- Good Things Come in Threes Songmasters' Listen to Me: True.Great.Original Press Release
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2014.
- Official Website
- Once Life Matters: A New Beginning – author Marty Angelo. Reference: Apple Records 1969 recording contract offer to Raven, pp. 62–65.
- Peter Asher at the Internet Movie Database
- An Off-road Retreat for a 60's Pop Star