The British Invasion of America during the sixties was led by such groups as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five, and The Animals. But there was a softer side as well and Peter & Gordon were one of the leading proponents of this soft pop sound.
Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were an English duo who produced a number of top forty hits in The United States between 1964 and 1967. When the duo split up during 1968, Gordon Waller virtually disappeared from the music scene. Peter Asher went on to become one of the most respected producers of his generation. He produced albums by such artists as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, J.D. Souther, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Ross, Sarah Brightman, Olivia Newton-John, 10,000 Maniacs, Cher, and Ringo Starr among others. The duo reformed during 2005 and continued to perform together until Waller’s death on July 17, 2009.
The best compilation of their work is The Ultimate Peter & Gordon released during 2001 by Collector’s Choice. This is the only CD release of their material produced by Asher. Its twenty tracks contain all of their major hits and a few of the better cuts from their studio albums. While not complete, it does cover the basics for this singles-oriented duo.
They received their initial break because Paul McCartney was dating, and would become engaged to, Jane Asher. He wrote four songs for the duo which appeared as Lennon/McCartney compositions. The first was “A World Without Love” which topped the American and British charts during 1964. It was mid-tempo pop at its best with impeccable harmonies. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honored it as one of the 500 songs that shaped rock ‘n’ roll.
Their other hits are a nice trip down a sixties musical memory lane. “Woman," written by Paul McCartney under the pseudonym Bernard Webb, Del Shannon’s “I Go To Pieces,” and Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways” all became hits in America. Their cute hits, “Lady Godiva,” “Knight In Rusty Armor,” and the very English “Sunday For Tea” are also included.
The Ultimate Peter & Gordon may not be essential to the history of rock ‘n’ roll, but it is pleasant and entertaining. It provides a nice look at the lighter side of The British Invasion.