“Someone Ain’t Right”

Punk Era compilation of duo’s finest Mid-Sixties records

Here’s an unlikely “Best Of” compilation by Peter And Gordon, released on the EMI label, the same label who were all over the Sex Pistols during the same year this album was released. Only to drop the Pistols soon after signing them.

I doubt Peter And Gordon even knew about this record, they were both doing their own thing. Peter was producing American artists whilst Gordon was probably sitting in his garden being idle and sipping on G&T’s.

I was a recent convert to Peter And Gordon’s music a couple of years ago when I first heard their version of “I Go To Pieces” which is a Beat ballad masterpiece. I have since dug deep into their repertoire and they come highly recommended. Virtually forgotten nowadays but in 1977 perhaps EMI though they could still shift some units.

Back cover liners:

During the swinging sixties, any kind of affiliation with the Beatles was a passport to success, and additionally would get you into any party you might want to attend.

So when it was discovered that Peter Asher was the brother of Paul McCartney‘s longtime girlfriend, and that the first record he had made with his friend Gordon Waller was an unrecorded Lennon / McCartney composition, there was nowhere else the record could go but to number one.

It was called “World Without Love,” and for the nineteen year old Peter and eighteen year old Gordon, was a remarkable debut, topping the British charts in May 1964 and the American charts one month later.

When they were eventually familiar faces of the pop culture, it became clear that they had it made – Peter was a well spoken mild mannered intellectual type, whose appeal was to parents as much as to teenies, while Gordon was a rather raunchier individual, a well presented sex symbol.

Their follow up, again written by John and Paul, again dented the charts, although not quite as dramatically, going to about number ten on both sides of the pond, and was called “Nobody I Know.”

After that, the boys had to start looking for their own material, which meant that there was a gap in their occupation of the hit parade here, although not in America, where both “I Don’t Want To See You Again” and “I Go To Pieces” were top twenty hits during the winter of 1964/65.

After that, it was the British record buyers who again became interested in the duo, resulting in three consecutive big hits, all covers of notable American records. The first, and biggest, which also hit in America, was a respectful version of Buddy Holly‘s “True Love Ways”, a song which came out of the same sessions as Buddy’s ‘death’ hits, “Raining In My Heart” and “It Doesn’t Matter”.

That was followed up by a slight change of words to Phil Spector‘s 1958 chart topper with the Teddy Bears, “To Know Him Is To Love Him”. As those were lyrics which hardly suited a male duo, they were changed to “To Know You Is To Love You”, and July 1965 saw Peter and Gordon back in the top five.

The end of that year saw their retread of Barbara Lewis‘ “Baby I’m Yours” in the twenty, but that was to be the last year when the boys were able to chart with any consistency.

At that point Paul McCartney came back into the Peter and Gordon picture. He was still attached to Jane Asher, and used her brother and his partner to test out a theory which was circulating at the time.

It had been unkindly mentioned that the record buying public were like sheep as far as Beatle songs went, and would buy anything by anybody if the songwriting credit was to Lennon and McCartney.

Paul wanted to prove that he was able to write a song under another name which would be a hit, and Peter and Gordon were willing accomplices. “Woman” came out in early 1966, written by one Bernard Webb, and after it made the chart, Paul confessed that he and Mr Webb were one of the same. Point proved.

Unfortunately Peter And Gordon were getting very close to the end of their run of hits. After “Lady Godiva”, a novelty song, and “Knight In Rusty Armour”, they detected that their popularity had waned to the point where there was no future in carrying on as they were.

Gordon Waller made a few records for another record company, but none was very successful, and it seems that he has been away from the spotlight for some time now.

Peter Asher, on the other hand, has become, if anything, more successful in the last eight years. He decided to give up performing himself, and instead started working for the Beatles, as producer and A&R man.

One of the first people he found was James Taylor, and after working on Taylor’s first under appreciated solo album, Peter threw in his lot with his discovery, and continues to manage him to this day, having in the meantime produced several of Taylor’s more successful LPs.

More recently, Peter Asher as a producer has become highly rated, working with Linda Ronstadt, whom he also manages, Andrew Gold, John Stewart and Kate Taylor.

It’s a far cry from those early days of pop stardom more than ten years ago, but there can be no doubt at all that songs like “World Without Love” and “Nobody I Know” have reserved a place in the sixties hall of fame for Peter Asher and Gordon Waller.

Sound And Vision purchase @ £6

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