Peter Asher Is Subject of New Biography, Weeks After Recovering From Emergency Brain Surgery

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Peter Asher (Photo via his website)

Peter Asher, the longtime producer, artist manager and recording artist (as part of the British Invasion duo Peter and Gordon), is the subject of an extensive biography, Peter Asher: A Life in Music, coming Nov. 15, 2022, in the U.S. (and Jan. 15, 2023, in the U.K.) via Backbeat Books. The popular Asher, 78, is also recovering from emergency brain surgery. (He shared the news from his hospital bed at U.C.L.A. Medical Center on Oct. 7 on his Instagram account, noting that he “had quite the scare.”) He seems to be very much on the mend: Asher posted a backstage photo of his first night out on Oct. 26 with “my old friend,” Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, who performed in Santa Barbara with his current band, Saucerful of Secrets.

The publisher’s listing for the book notes: Over a dozen years of research has gone into telling his story, with numerous interviews conducted with Asher, along with first-hand observations of him at work in various recording studios around Los Angeles. Author David Jacks also had access to Asher’s archives, which offered rare photographs and other career memorabilia to help illustrate this biography.

Over one hundred artists, friends, and colleagues – many since deceased – agreed to be interviewed, and they help to provide insight into Asher’s personality and working methodology. Included are singers Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Marianne Faithfull, Carole King, Kenny Loggins, Graham Nash, Aaron Neville, Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, JD Souther, and James Taylor; producers Lou Adler, Mike Curb, Richard Perry, Al Schmitt, and Sir George Martin; musicians Hal Blaine, Andrew Gold, Danny Kortchmar, Paul Shaffer, and Waddy Wachtel; and actors Kevin Kline and Robin Williams. Many of these participants also provided previously unseen photographs.

In the Oct. 7 post in which he revealed the news of his brain surgery, Asher noted, “I wasn’t feeling 100% for a few weeks so I went to get an MRI after my wife and daughter insisted I check things out. Good thing I did because I had to be rushed into emergency brain surgery from there. Two small holes in my head but I am on the mend.”

Incredibly, Asher has several dates planned beginning in late November for his live concert performances with Jeremy Clyde of Chad and Jeremy fame. Tickets are available here.

Linda Ronstadt and Peter Asher

During the ’70s, Asher served as both producer and manager for Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. His production work includes producing Taylor’s acclaimed 1970 breakthrough, Sweet Baby James, as well as numerous follow-ups. He produced 12 consecutive studio albums for Ronstadt including Heart Like a Wheel and Hasten Down the Wind. He is a two-time Grammy Award-winner for Producer of the Year.

In a recent interview, Ronstadt told The New York Times, “Anybody can get a bunch of different jobs. The question is whether they can do them well. And Peter has done every single one of them to the utmost.”

Asher was the head of A&R for the Beatles’ Apple label, where he first signed Taylor.

In Best Classic Bands’ 2017 interview with Asher, he was asked how he came to meet Taylor. “The connection was [guitarist] Danny Kortchmar. He’d been in the Kingbees, backing Peter and Gordon. James phoned and said, ‘I’m Danny’s friend and I’ve got this tape.’ He came over and played me the tape. I don’t think he knew that I’d just gotten this new job, just that I was a friend and a producer. I was super impressed and I said, ‘It so happens I’m now running this new label. Do you want a record deal?’ And he said, ‘Yes, please.'”

Of Asher’s recent health scare, The New York Times noted in their interview, published on Nov. 9, he had fallen and suffered a concussion over the summer in London. Though doctors there initially cleared him, he soon had difficulty walking and playing guitar. While on his way home from a second brain scan in early October, his doctors called.

“They said, ‘Turn right back around, you are in surgery as soon as you get here,’” he said. The newspaper wrote that Asher was suffering a massive brain bleed and in critical danger. “They had to drill a few holes in my head.”

Asher and fellow producer Lou Adler are the ones credited for getting the names of musicians on album jackets and sleeves.

Since 2017, Asher has hosted a weekly program, “From Me To You,” on SiriusXM’s Beatles Channel. He’s the author of the 2019 book, The Beatles from A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour. Next up: he’s producing an album for the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs.

Asher was born in London on June 22, 1944. With Gordon Waller, he earned a #1 single in the U.K. and U.S. with “A World Without Love,” written by Paul McCartney (and credited to Lennon-McCartney).

More hits followed for Peter and Gordon including “Nobody I Know” and “I Go To Pieces.” He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s 2015 New Year Honors for services to the British music industry.

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. Timflyte
    #1 Timflyte 9 October, 2022, 02:50

    Prayers for a full recovery. I’ve always enjoyed Peter & Gordon and have all their albums / cds.

    Reply this comment
  2. Jeffrey Zandrowicz
    #2 Jeffrey Zandrowicz 9 October, 2022, 07:38

    Glad to hear he’s recovering, “woman” is a P&G classic

    Reply this comment
  3. Sherman
    #3 Sherman 9 October, 2022, 11:03

    Wishing you a quick healing and back to what you enjoy the most. Thank you Peter for many enjoyable evenings of music.

    Reply this comment
  4. Bob
    #4 Bob 9 October, 2022, 20:43

    Here’s a hope for a full recovery and many more good years. Love both your music and all the other things you have done.

    Reply this comment
  5. Mitchie
    #5 Mitchie 10 October, 2022, 00:35

    How are the nurses ???

    From Me To You the absolute best.

    Wishing you a healthy future.

    Reply this comment
  6. EEEEEPs
    #6 EEEEEPs 10 October, 2022, 14:25

    Spent a lot of time listening to him on a cruise. The man is a giant in the music industry, and a real nice guy!

    Reply this comment
  7. Dave
    #7 Dave 26 December, 2022, 19:46

    Peter, trusting you are still on the mend. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Healthy Happy New Year in 2023!
    When you’re feeling well enough come to the San Francisco Bay Area to give a talk at the Common Wealth Club or Marins Book Passages. We love to listen to your stories of days gone by and admire your energetic enthusiasm.Be well, ☮️ And ❤️

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