Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beatle People: Peter Asher

Peter Asher was born on 22 June 1944 in Willesden, London, then part of Middlesex, England. He is a guitarist, singer, manager and record producer.

Early life

He was a child actor and appeared in the film The Planter's Wife and the stage play Isn't Life Wonderful when he was 8 years old and also in the ITV series The Adventures of Robin Hood. While attending the independent Westminster School as a day boy, he first met fellow student Gordon Waller, and they began playing and singing together as a duo in coffee bars and in 1962 formed the duo "Peter and Gordon." Asher later attended King's College London.

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 The Beatles' Paul McCartney. Through this connection, Asher and Waller were often given unrecorded Lennon/McCartney songs to perform, most notably their first and biggest hit, 1964's decidedly Beatlesque "A World Without Love."


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

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 Taylor's recording over several decades.

In 1969, Asher was asked by Beatle George Harrison to look up an American band called Raven while he was in New York City. 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.


In the early 1970s Asher also managed a country rock band called Country, which recorded for Atlantic Records through its subsidiary Clean Records, featuring Michael Fondiler and Tom Snow, who has since become a songwriter. Asher achieved his greatest success producing a long string of eclectic and huge-selling albums for Linda Ronstadt, including Heart Like A Wheel, Simple Dreams, What's New, Canciones De Mi Padre and Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind.

Asher also played a role in shaping the California 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.

Asher had been quoted as saying that actor Mike Myers has said he had patterned his Austin Powers character after Asher's appearance.

Personal life

He had a short-lived relationship with Millie Small, known as Millie, who sang "My Boy Lollipop."

His daughter Victoria Asher is keytarist in the popular American pop-punk band Cobra Starship.

Awards and recognition

Grammy awards

* 1977 — Producer of The Year, Non-Classical
* 1989 — Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical (Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind)
* 2002 — Best Spoken Comedy Album (Live 2002 (Robin Williams))

Discography (selection)

As performer

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

As producer

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

As executive producer

* Harry's Cafe De Wheels (by Peter Blakeley) (1989)
* Timbre (by Sophie B. Hawkins) (1999)


1 comment:

rossfan said...

Peter Asher did a great job on Diana Ross last album "I Love You." For more info on Diana, check out Dick's Diana Ross Website at