Peter and Gordon 'doing it for fun'
Tom Harrison, The Province
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008
Suddenly, Peter Asher was singing in public again.
He'd produced records by Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor and managed
them. He's still looking for new talent and recently signed for
management The Webb Sisters, whom he describes as brilliant. Yet a
few years ago, Paul Shaeffer, from The David Letterman Show,
encouraged him to reunite with his old partner, Gordon Waller, for a
tribute to Mike Smith, singer for the Dave Clark Five. Smith recently
passed away but through him Peter and Gordon were reborn.
Waller hadn't quit singing and was performing on his own, but just
like Peter Asher, suddenly he was in a duo again.
After 30 years and different experiences in the music business, the
respective expectations were different.
For Peter, "This time we're doing it for fun."
For Gordon, the adjustment wasn't as dramatic. "I've been singing
these songs for years, but we found ourselves slipping back into our
old way of working."
Peter and Gordon hit these shores in 1964 in the middle of the
British Invasion spearheaded by the Beatles. Peter's sister, Jane,
was dating The Beatles' Paul McCartney, who subsequently wrote "A
World Without Love" for them. Up to that time, Peter and Gordon were
a folk duo patterning their harmonies after the Everly Brothers.
"Who's the best?" Waller asks. "The Everlys, that's all there is to
it. Both our voices are so different. That's what we liked about it.
Peter comes from a jazz background; I come from a rock and roll background.
"The thing is," he continues, "when we started it was just two guys
with guitars. Then, we started to have an orchestra on our records
and were surrounded by all these guys.
"We weren't trying to be the Beatles, we were trying to be Peter and
Gordon. That Paul McCartney wrote some songs for us was coincidental."
There were more hits such as "I Go to Pieces" and "Woman" (another
McCartney song), but a schism started to develop. On the one hand,
Peter and Gordon were doing substantial folk-rock typified by their
recording of Phil Ochs' "Flower Lady."
"Phil Ochs was a friend of mine," notes Asher. "'I Ain't Marching
Anymore.' God, we need that song now."
On the other, there were novelty singles "Lady Godiva" or "Knight In
Peter and Gordon hated them but they were huge records that kept
their career thriving for a few more years, even as split personality
in their records drove in a wedge and are now included in the show.
The parting of the duo was coming, however.
"I was interested, specifically, in record production," recalls
Asher. "I think we knew that period in our lives was over. It
happened organically, not dramatically."
A Peter and Gordon set now includes all the hits, plus the song they
did for Mike Smith, Dave Clark Five's "Because."
"It was pretty easy," Asher says of the reunion. "It took some
adjustment, initially. Because Gordon had been singing the songs his
way and had changed their arrangements. I wanted to do them the way
they were. That's what people want."
Peter and Gordon
Where: River Rock Show Theatre, Richmond
When: Tonight at 8
Tickets: $34.50 at Ticketmaster