At the Westminster School for Boys in London in the late 1950s, Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were among a handful of students who sang and played the guitar. They became friends and began performing around London where they were spotted by a record producer and signed to a contract with EMI records.
It was a fortunate coincidence that the Asher family’s house guest at the time was Paul McCartney, who was rocketing to fame as a member of EMI’s top new band. Paul was dating Peter’s sister, actress Jane Asher, and introduced Peter and Gordon to “World Without Love,” a song he’d written a few years earlier but which the Beatles had not recorded. It became Peter and Gordon’s first hit on both sides of the Atlantic and was followed by a series of McCartney songs, including “Nobody I Know”, “I Don’t Want To See You Again” and “Woman”, which McCartney wrote under the pseudonym “Bernard Webb”. McCartney wanted to see if he could anonymously write a hit song. “Woman” reached 28 on the UK charts and 14 in the US.
But it was apparently more than the McCartney touch that accounted for Peter and Gordon’s success. On tour in Australia, they heard American pop star Del Shannon playing “I Go To Pieces”. Shannon gave them the song, and Peter and Gordon’s recording reached #7 in the US.
Sometimes called the Everly Brothers of the British Invasion, both Peter and Gordon strummed guitars and sang in simple 1/3 and 1/5 harmonies. The Everlys were among their earlier influences, as was Buddy Holly, whose “True Love Ways” Peter and Gordon covered in 1966.
The next year Peter and Gordon scored with “Sunday for Tea” and two novelty songs, “Lady Godiva” and “Knight in Rusty Armour”. When the duo split in 1968, Peter joined the Beatles’ Apple Records and signed James Taylor as Apple’s first American artist.
Where Are They Now?
After working for Apple, Peter Asher moved to Los Angeles and has produced records for Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt and Cher. He won Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Producer of the Year” awards twice.
After the breakup, Gordon Waller turned to acting. He played the part of Pharaoh in the musical “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the 1971 Edinburgh Festival. The show then toured Great Britain and Waller won critical acclaim.
Peter and Gordon reunited on stage in August, 2005. They played to rave reviews at a Beatles fans concert in 2006 and toured the U.S. throughout 2007. Gordon Waller died of a heart attack in Connecticut in 2009.
Peter and Gordon Videos
“I Go To Pieces”, 1964
“Crying in the Rain,” 2007 at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, MD.
Peter and Gordon’s hit singles:
- World Without Love (#1)
- Nobody I Know (#12)
- I Don’t Want To See You Again (#16)
- I Go To Pieces (#9)
- Woman (#14)
- To Know You Is To Love You (#24)
- True Love Ways (#14)
- Lady Godiva (#6)
- Knight In Rusty Armor (#15)
- Sunday For Tea (#31)