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May 2, 1939 |
|Occupation||Lyricist, jingle writer, copywriter|
|Notable work||Pet Sounds|
Tony Asher (born May 2, 1939) is a British-American lyricist who co-wrote eight songs on the Beach Boys 1966 album Pet Sounds in conjunction with Brian Wilson, including "God Only Knows" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice". Asher, who formally helped translate Wilson's ideas into words, had a significant influence on the album. In Asher's own words, "The general tenor of the lyrics was often [Brian's], however the actual choice of words was usually mine. I was really just his interpreter."
Asher met Wilson while recording at United Western Recorders in the 1960s. Asher was at the time a 26 year old lyricist and copywriter who had been working on advertising jingles. He was also a Beach Boys fan who felt that the group was distinct from most artists, releasing a string of hits where "you wouldn't even know, necessarily, that it was gonna be a Beach Boys record from the first bar or something." He also confessed: "I didn't own any of their albums. I had Bill Evans albums." While in the studio, Asher explains: "I think we were recording some music, or voice-overs for a commercial and I had heard that the Beach Boys were in another studio. During a break, we kind of hung out in the hallway and eventually, sort of snuck into the booth and Brian was in the studio [alone]. ... eventually, we met."
Looking for a clean break from the by-then-famous Beach Boys sound (associated with surfing and cars) and not wanting to collaborate with any of the songwriters with whom he had previously worked, Wilson called Asher in early December 1965, and within ten days they had started to write what would eventually become Pet Sounds. After Pet Sounds, Asher's original draft lyrics for their single "Good Vibrations" were replaced with new words by Beach Boy Mike Love.
Following "Good Vibrations", Asher collaborated with Roger Nichols. He also wrote several songs with composer-arranger John Bahler recorded by The Partridge Family and used on their television show. As a copywriter and creative director at several advertising agencies (including Carson/Roberts/Inc.), Asher wrote and produced dozens of jingles for Mattel Toys, Gallo Wines, Max Factor Cosmetics, Glendale Federal Savings, and others.
After leaving the advertising agency business, Asher teamed with John Bahler to form Producer's Music Service, a successful jingle and scoring production company in Hollywood. Asher eventually went to work for Bass/Yager and Associates, a Los Angeles graphic design firm headed by designer Saul Bass. Asher spent twelve years at the firm, the last eight as President.
- Kent, Nick (2009). "The Last Beach Movie Revisited: The Life of Brian Wilson". The Dark Stuff: Selected Writings on Rock Music. Da Capo Press. p. 16. ISBN 9780786730742.
- Sharp, Ken (September 4, 2013). "Interview with 'Pet Sounds' Lyricist Tony Asher". Rock Cellar Magazine.
- "Interview with Tony Asher". The Pet Sounds Sessions (Booklet). The Beach Boys. Capitol Records. 1997.
- Carlin 2006, p. 76.