Back in what Frank is listening to #141 I said this about Peter & Gordon … 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)
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) though their self composed songs are quite good and even their later "non-hits" material ( from what I have heard) have some good tunes. 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 and then some.
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 with guitars 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.
I maintain all that (grammatical errors included):
This, here, is their 8th album, or thereabouts … I believe the album was called "Somewhere …" in England whilst in the US its contents were spread by Capitol records as additional tracks across two albums ("Woman" (1966) and "Lady Godiva" (1967)). A stupid move, perhaps, as all the tracks are film theme covers and are properly contained on one album …
Elvis covers and John Wayne themes on one album – I'm pretty much anticipating orgiastic bliss despite my reservations regarding the music.
Tracks (best in italics)
High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) – from "High Noon" (1952) – originally by Tex Ritter – hmmm interesting … the starkness and edgy fatalism of the original is gone but it's a good song.
Green Leaves of Summer – from "The Alamo" (1960) – originally by "The Brothers Four" (#65, 1960) and Frankie Avalon – one of my favourite of all movie theme songs from the vastly underrated John Wayne epic …
If I Fell – from "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) – originally by The Beatles (#25, 1964) – really poorly sung, at least to my ears .. like amateur night down at the local pub … I don't know what's up here.
Exodus Song – from "Exodus"(1960) – originally by by Ferrante & Teicher (#2,1961) – the lyric is potentially risible …
As Long as I Have You – from "King Creole" (1958) – originally by Elvis Presley – a great underrated ballad from one of Elvis' best films … not as good as the original of course …
Love Is a Many Splendored Thing – from "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" (1955) – originally by The Four Aces (#1, 1955) – lush and romantic.
3:10 to Yuma – from "3:10 to Yuma" (1957) – originally by Frankie Laine – the right mix of western drama and Hollywood schmaltz in this.
A Taste of Honey – not from a film though used in many films – originally by Herb Alpert (#7, 1965) though it was written for the 1960 Broadway version of the 1958 British play " Taste of Honey" which was also made into the film of the same name in 1961 and The Beatles recorded it in 1963. Another misfire.
Till There Was You – from the musical "The Music Man" (1962) – a beautiful song which still hints at it's Broadway origins … and it works for PnG.
Young and Beautiful – from "King Creole" (1958) – originally by Elvis Presley – another "King Creole" ballad – again not as good as the original but a nice try.
Somewhere – from the musical "West Side Story" (1960).
Hmm …well not quite orgiastic but more akin to a lonely wank … so it's good enough … again, look at those tracks ! As a film lover this is more than just curio value to me.
Very patchy but I'm keeping it.
the "Woman" album went to #60
The "Lady Godiva" album went to #80
High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)
Green Leaves of Summer
other versions (there are many more) including:
the superior original vocal version by The Brothers Four:
the Dimitri Tiomkin film version:
an Ennio Morricone version:
a Chet Atkins version:
Frankie Avalon's version:
and a cover version used (quite fittingly) in (the brilliant) Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds:
you're as dead as a beaver hat (screw Lawrence I'll take Davy and his mates any day):
but sorry I got taken away there but I love this film … much underrated and maligned …
If I Fell
attached (for Phil)
As Long as I Have You
3:10 to Yuma
Till There Was You
Young and Beautiful
what Frank is listening to #141 – PETER AND GORDON – Peter and Gordon – (Columbia) – 1964
(originally posted: 26/12/2010)