Peter Asher and Gordon Waller always crop up on "hits" albums of the 60s and indeed they should as they had many hits in the 60s.
from allmusic: In June 1964, Peter & Gordon became the very first British Invasion act after the Beatles to take the number one spot on the American charts with "A World Without Love." That hit, and their subsequent successes, were due as much or more to their important connections as to their talent. Peter Asher was the older brother of Jane Asher, Paul McCartney's girlfriend for much of the 1960s. This no doubt gave Asher and Gordon Waller access to Lennon-McCartney compositions that were unrecorded by the Beatles, such as "A World Without Love" and three of their other biggest hits, "Nobody I Know," "I Don't Want to See You Again," and "Woman" (the last of which was written by McCartney under a pseudonym)
Ultimately though they are an English, geekier version of the Everly Brothers with folk overtones.
P&G tend to be forgotten a bit, which is a pity, as the music is listenable and quietly pleasant if not surprising. They were also quite underrated (their music was considered to be too slight) as their self composed songs are quite good and even some of their later "non-hits" are good tunes (from what I have heard). The only other problem is identity – I tended to get them mixed up with Chad & Jeremy another English pop/folk/rock duo that had all the strengths of Peter and Gordon.
On this, their first LP, (called "A World Without Love" in the USA), they, without casting aspersions of mimickery on them, incorporate elements of what was popular around them at the time and put it all skilfully together into a slick, teen oriented sound. There's some Everly Brothers, some Mersey Beat (even a track written by Lennon / McCartney – Peter was Paul McCartney's girlfriend's brother), a lot of pop folk (a la Peter Paul and Mary and the Kingston Trio), and slick orchestral backing as was common place in the early 60s (though here the guitars are up front) . There is nothing wrong with any of this and some of the tracks are memorable, but a little of this goes a long way and unfortunately it feels as if you have heard it all before, which of course you have.
What I like most is that, even though this album is from 1964, Peter and Gordon tap into that much forgotten (the most forgotten) period of English music between 1958 and 1963. Before all the loud R&B bands blew everything away and before my generation became more important than anything else there were many bands, The Beatles included, covering 50s American rock 'n' rollers or writing and recording gentle innocent pop songs.
Oddly enough, as English as they were, Peter and Gordon had more of a chart career in the US. Though that is not unusual … think The Kinks.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Lucille – Collins, Little Richard – The Little Richard tune though, obviously, they have patterned their cover on the Everly Brothers version.
- 500 Miles – West – the song associated with Peter Paul and Mary with nothing added here, pleasant as it is though.
- If I Were You – Asher, Waller – an original which is a winner. A Mersey beat number with continental overtones. As if Paul McCartney was channelling Burt Bacharach writing for the San Remo song writing contest.
- Pretty Mary – Mezzetti, Okun, Stookey – another Peter Paul and Mary tune.
- Trouble in Mind – Jones – as allmusic says in its review: "and they attempt to sound bluesy on "Trouble in Mind" and fail, but they fail in no worse fashion than 98 percent of the white British singers who went down that road in 1964". I agree
- A World Without Love – Lennon, McCartney – a great pop song.
- Tell Me How – Allison, Hardin, Petty – a Buddy Holly tune – with nothing to add to the original, apart from some Mersey style guitar.
- You Don't Have to Tell Me – Asher, Waller – another pleasant self penned song showing again that P&G sound much stronger on the original material rather than on the covers.
- Leave My Woman Alone – Charles – a Ray Charles tune … nothing new.
- All My Trials – Traditional – another track associated with Peter Paul and Mary.
- Last Night I Woke – Asher, Waller – a Beatles type number.
- Long Time Gone – Trad – arranged Asher, Waller – a Kingston trio type folk number.
I'll tape a couple of tracks and sell …
The album went to #21.
A World Without Love #1 in the Billboard Hot 100
The album went to #18.
A World Without Love #1
If I Were You
A World Without Love
All My Trials
- Peter Asher went to some influence as a music executive. wikipedia: "Asher became head of A&R for Apple Records. Asher has continued his career as a recording executive in California where he exlusively managed and produced Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Peter has also produced recordings for Cher, 10,000 Maniacs, and Diana Ross. His daughter Victoria Asher is a member of the alternative group Cobra Starship".
(originally posted: 10/02/2011)