Peter Asher enjoyed six illustrious decades in the music business, starting as one half of the singing duo Peter and Gordon during the British invasion of the 1960s. The hit singles series lasted from 1964 to 1966, Peter and Gordon recording 11 albums before going their separate ways in 1968. Asher then moved away from the stage to work in the commercial music industry.
In the 1970s, Asher became a record company executive, artist director, and record producer, working with James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, and others. In 2017, Asher became a radio show host with a weekly hour-long series on the Sirius XM radio station dedicated to The Beatles titled From me to you. In 2019, Asher became an author and published the book The Beatles from A to Zed compile personal memories of the group.
Asher was never a songwriter, however, much of his two-night engagement at the Loft at City Winery NYC consisted of songs associated with his career and the careers of his band members. On previous tours, Asher’s show incorporated visual projections chronicling his career; on this tour, the visuals were removed so that the focus could be more on the music. On the current tour, Peter Asher & Company consists of vocalists Asher, Kate Taylor and Cara Lee, guitarists Albert Lee and Bill Cinque, keyboardist Jeff Alan Ross, bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Steve Holley.
Part of the ensemble consisted of songs Asher sang with Peter and Gordon, but much of the repertoire had a more distant connection, such as songs he produced for other artists. He presented each of his songs with a story, such as how Paul McCartney contributed to the material or how Peter and Gordon stumbled upon the novelty song, “Lady Godiva”. Asher walked away from the stage several times during the two-hour show to allow the other musicians to be fully highlighted. After Asher spoke about her time managing and producing Ronstadt, Cara Lee performed Ronstadt’s “You’re No Good”. Taylor sang songs from her upcoming album, Why wait. Albert Lee sang and played solo guitar on several songs. Ross sang two songs from his days at Badfinger.
Ultimately, however, audiences came to hear Asher sing familiar songs from Peter and Gordon, of which there are only a few. Peter and Gordon sang together, so Asher sang this catalog with his musicians, and often the other voices were louder than Asher’s. Although he was barely audible, he received strong public approval for âI Go to Piecesâ and âWomanâ. The catchy closure was a quick and boisterous rework of Peter and Gordon’s biggest hit, McCartney’s “World Without Love”.
Nostalgia reigned over the night. Were the songs performed better that night than they were in their original form decades ago? Probably not. The real value of the revue-style concert was to relive a distant time and allow Asher to give his audience a peek behind the curtain with his historic footnotes.