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 namePeter Asher
Born(1944-06-22) 22 June 1944 (age 70)
London, England[1]
GenresTraditional pop music, pop music
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1952 –present
LabelsCapitol, Apple, Warner Bros., Columbia
Associated actsPeter and Gordon, James Taylor
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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 namePeter Asher
Born(1944-06-22) 22 June 1944 (age 70)
London, England[1]
GenresTraditional pop music, pop music
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active1952 –present
LabelsCapitol, Apple, Warner Bros., Columbia
Associated actsPeter and Gordon, James Taylor

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.

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 is a member of Mensa.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

In 1965, he was best man when singer Marianne Faithfull married John Dunbar in Cambridge.[5]

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. Asher produced Paul Jones' rendition of Bee Gees' "And the Sun Will Shine" which was released as a single (only in the UK).[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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".[10]

Asher had been quoted as saying that actor Mike Myers has said he had patterned his Austin Powers character after Asher's appearance,[11] although Elizabeth Hurley, who co-starred in Austin Powers, claimed that the original model was broadcaster Simon Dee.[12]

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.[13]

Asher was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to the British music industry.[14][15]

Personal life[edit]

Peter had a short-lived relationship with singer Millie Small, also known as Millie, who sang "My Boy Lollipop",[5] 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]


As performer[edit]

All releases by Peter and Gordon unless noted.

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

As producer[edit]

1968James TaylorJames Taylor
1969Barbara KeithBarbara Keith
1970Jo MamaJo Mama
1970Sweet Baby JamesJames Taylor
1971Mud Slide Slim and the Blue HorizonJames Taylor
1971Sister KateKate Taylor
1971Tony Joe WhiteTony Joe White
1971Bad Girl SongsTony Kosinec
1972One Man DogJames Taylor
1973Don't Cry NowLinda Ronstadt
1974Heart Like a WheelLinda Ronstadt
1975Prisoner in DisguiseLinda Ronstadt
1975Black RoseJ.D. Souther
1976Hasten Down the WindLinda Ronstadt
1976Love SongsDavid Sanborn
1977JTJames Taylor
1977Simple DreamsLinda Ronstadt
1978Living in the USALinda Ronstadt
1979FlagJames Taylor
1979The GlowBonnie Raitt
1980Mad LoveLinda Ronstadt
1981Dad Loves His WorkJames Taylor
1982Get CloserLinda Ronstadt
1983Reelin' in the Years, Vol. 1various artists
1983What's NewLinda Ronstadt
1984Lush LifeLinda Ronstadt
1984Moonlighting(Original TV soundtrack)
1985That's Why I'm HereJames Taylor
1986An American Tail(Original soundtrack)
1986For Sentimental ReasonsLinda Ronstadt
1987Canciones De Mi PadreLinda Ronstadt
1987In My Tribe10,000 Maniacs
1987Storytellers: Singers & Songwritersvarious artists
1988The Land Before Time(Original soundtrack)
1989Blind Man's Zoo10,000 Maniacs
1989Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the WindLinda Ronstadt
1989Heart of StoneCher
1989You Happy Puppet10,000 Maniacs
1990Mermaids(Original soundtrack)
1991Force Behind the PowerDiana Ross
1991Live in RioJames Taylor
1991Love HurtsCher
1991LovescapeNeil Diamond
1991Mambo Kings(Original soundtrack)
1991SweptJulia Fordham
1991Williams BrothersThe Williams Brothers
1992American StandardMary's Danish
1992Back to BasicsOlivia Newton-John
1992Christmas AlbumNeil Diamond
1992OliviaOlivia Newton-John
1992Time Takes TimeRingo Starr
1993Made in America(Original soundtrack)
1993Robin ZanderRobin Zander
1993Up on the Roof: Songs from the Brill BuildingNeil Diamond
1994Christmas Album, Vol. 2Neil Diamond
1994Randy Newman's Faust: Words & Musicvarious artists
1995Don't AskTina Arena
1995EP CollectionPeter & Gordon
1995FaustRandy Newman
1996It Takes Twovarious artists
1996One Fine Day(Original soundtrack)
1996Show Me HeavenTina Arena
1997Most Beautiful Soul Album on Earthvarious artists
1997Superstar Christmasvarious artists
1997Under These Rocks and StonesChantal Kreviazuk
1998Armageddon(Original soundtrack)
1998As I Came of AgeSarah Brightman
1998DecemberKenny Loggins
1998Motown 40 Forevervarious artists
1999All Time Greatest Movie Songsvarious artists
1999Best Party Megamix in the World Evervarious artists
1999CollectionJulia Fordham
1999Runaway Bride(Original soundtrack)
1999When the Going Gets ToughBoyzone
2000Gift of LoveDiana Ross
2000More Songs from Pooh CornerKenny Loggins
2000Tigger Movie: Songs & Storyvarious artists
2001Everything I AmAnna Vissi
2001Motown AnthologyDiana Ross
2001Three Chord OperaNeil Diamond
2001Ultimate Peter and GordonPeter & Gordon
2002Capitol Records 1942–2002various artists
2002Everybody's Got a StoryAmanda Marshall
2002Freedom: A History of Us(Original soundtrack)
2002Live 2002Robin Williams
2002Providence(Original TV soundtrack)
2002Sweet Is the MelodyAselin Debison
2003Best of the Definitive American Songbook, Vol. 2: I-Zvarious artists
2003Cafeteria: Hearvarious artists
2003Earth Rider – The Essential John Stewart 1964–1979John Stewart
2003Singers and Songwriters Christmas Songsvarious artists
2004CaliforniaWilson Phillips
2004Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure and Unknown Recordings10,000 Maniacs
2004De-Lovely(Original soundtrack)
2004IntermissionAmanda Marshall
2004Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow(Original soundtrack)
2004Taking a Chance on LoveJane Monheit
2005Live at Earls CourtMorrissey
2005Goodies, Vol. 1various artists
2005SouvenirsTina Arena
2006You're Only LonelyRaul Malo
2007SirenSasha and Shawna
2006I Love YouDiana Ross
2010Live at the TroubadourCarole King and James Taylor
2011Buddy Holly: Listen to Me; The Ultimate Buddy PartyVarious Artists – Producer and Host
2013Love Has Come for YouSteve Martin and Edie Brickell

As executive producer[edit]

1989Harry's Cafe De WheelsPeter Blakeley
1999TimbreSophie B. Hawkins
2011Listen to Me: Buddy HollyVarious Artists


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: June 1944 3a 826 Willesden – Peter Asher, mmn = Eliot
  2. ^ It's so easy for music impresario Peter Asher
  3. ^ The Times, obituary of Gordon Waller, 23 July 2009.
  4. ^ Jackson, Andrew Grant (22 April 2013). "The Songs the Beatles Gave Away". Brow Beat: Slate's Culture Blog. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  5. ^ 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.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "Paul Jones - And The Sun Will Shine - The Dog Presides". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Once Life Matters: A New Beginning pp. 62–65, author Marty Angelo.
  8. ^ DeYoung, Bill (21 February 2003). "Home at Last: The Journey of Linda Ronstadt". Goldmine (589). Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "Peter and Gordon reunite at Fest for Beatle Fans", Steve Marinucci's Abbeyrd Beatles fan website. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
  10. ^ – July 23, 2009
  11. ^ Patti Murawski quoting interview with Peter Asher. Retrieved 22 March 2008.
  12. ^ Richard Wiseman (2006) "Whatever Happened to Simon Dee?" Daily Mail, 31 August 2009; The Times obituary of Simon Dee, 31 August 2009.
  13. ^ Good Things Come in Threes Songmasters' Listen to Me: True.Great.Original Press Release
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61092. p. N26. 31 December 2014.
  15. ^ [1]

External links[edit]