AGOURA HILLS, CA. — “Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the ’60s and Beyond,” the show he performed Thursday night at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA, was full of stories about his long career punctuated by songs that played various roles in it. The result, a sort of “This Is Your Life,” was a very enjoyable multi-dimensional evening.
The show began with a funny introduction by Monty Python’s Eric Idle and the song “I Go To Pieces,” which was a Top Ten hit for Peter & Gordon in 1965. Asher told how Peter & Gordon expressed an interest in the song to composer Del Shannon after it was rejected by the Searchers. He also related how the duo came to reunite to help Dave Clark 5 vocalist Mike Smith after his tragic accident.
Asher revealed several little known facts. A partner with Barry Miles and John Dunbar in the Indica Bookstore and Gallery, he wryly mentioned how John Lennon met an artist named Yoko Ono there. But he also mentioned that he had a more direct hand in a relationship as the guy who introduced Mick Jagger to Marianne Faithful, Dunbar’s wife at the time. Faithful’s short marriage to Dunbar broke up after she went off to be with Jagger.
For Beatle fans, it was interesting to hear Beatle anecdotes from a real insider. Asher told how Paul McCartney penned the main lyrics to Peter & Gordon’s first hit, “World Without Love”, then under deadline pressure, came up with the charming bridge (“So I wait and in a while …”). He also recalled he was one of the first people to hear the song “I Want To Hold Your Hand” after John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it.
He also allowed that John Belushi’s over-the-top portrayal of Ron Decline, the parody of Apple Records business manager Allen Klein in “The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash,” wasn’t all that far from the truth.
The high point of the show was an electronic duet via video with him and his late partner, Gordon Waller, on the Buddy Holly song “True Love Ways.” It was an electrifying moment that showed their perfectly crafted harmonies were still as they were back in the ’60s.
“Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the ’60s and Beyond,” is a deserving tribute to the man whose achievements range far beyond Peter & Gordon, but also include work with Apple Records, James Taylor, Natalie Merchant, Diana Ross, Linda Ronstadt and as a record company executive and Grammy-winning producer. Though it’s nostalgic, it’s also very entertaining.
From a man who has been a part of the music business on so many different levels, it’s a guided tour that’s a pleasure to take.
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Stan is the author of the Beatles Examiner, Paul McCartney Examiner, Vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll Examiner and TV on DVD Examiner columns on icedjamb.com.
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