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Evergreen

112 EVERGREEN Autumn

112 EVERGREEN Autumn During the 1960s a number of pop acts enjoyed hits with songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney that The Beatles themselves didn’t release as singles. They include “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”, “Bad to Me” (Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas), “It’s For You” (Cilla Black), “Hello Little Girl” (The Fourmost) and “Like Dreamers Do” (The Applejacks), although perhaps the best of the lot — and certainly the most successful — was the song recorded by an Everly Brothers-type duo that topped the charts in both the UK and USA in April 1964: “A World Without Love” by Peter and Gordon. Such was the dominance of the Fab Four at the time, it’s hardly surprising that the song “A World Without Love” replaced at number one in the United Kingdom was… “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles! Peter and Gordon Peter Asher, the older of the two, was born on 22nd June 1944 in London. His father, Richard Asher, was a highly regarded physician, described as “one of the foremost medical thinkers of our times”, while his mother, Margaret Augusta (née Eliot), was a talented musician and a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Peter had two younger sisters, Jane and Claire, and with Jane enjoyed an early career as a child actor in a number of plays, films and television productions: the two of them appeared together in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1959) in which Richard Greene played the hero of Sherwood Forest. Peter attended the prestigious Westminster School, and it was there that he met and became close friends with Gordon Waller. Born on 4th June 1945 (in Braemar, Aberdeenshire), Gordon was also the

2017 EVERGREEN 113 The singers pictured at the height of their fame in the mid-1960s. When they started out they were known as…Gordon and Peter. son of a leading light in the medical profession — an eminent surgeon — and he too had a couple of younger sisters: Diana and Anne. At first Peter was more of a jazz and folk music fan, but under Gordon’s influence and the inescapable nationwide boom in pop music and beat groups, he soon came to share his friend’s enthusiasm for rock and roll. This led to the boys purchasing their first guitars and sneaking out at night (a serious violation of school rules!) to earn pocket money playing in pubs and clubs. It was in 1964, after they had left school and were performing at the Pickwick Club in London, that they were spotted by a record producer who signed them to EMI. By a happy coincidence, it was around this time that Paul McCartney started dating Peter’s sister Jane and the duo were soon thrust into the exciting music scene of 1960s London. McCartney subsequently moved into the Ashers’ elegant town house in Wimpole Street, and it was at a party there that Peter and Gordon first heard Paul singing “A World Without Love”, a song the precociously talented Beatle had written when he was just 16.

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