Peter Asher is the subject of a new biography, weeks after recovering from emergency brain surgery


Peter Asher (Photo via his website)

Peter Asher, the longtime producer, artist manager and recording artist (as part of British duo Invasion Peter and Gordon), is the subject of a lengthy biography, Peter Asher: A Life in Music, coming November 15, 2022 in the US (and January 15, 2023 in the UK) via Backbeat Books. The popular Asher, 78, is also recovering from emergency brain surgery. (He shared the news from his hospital bed at UCLA Medical Center on Oct. 7 on his Instagram accountnoting that he “was pretty scared.”) He appears to be on the mend: Asher posted a behind-the-scenes photo from his first night on Oct. 26 with “my old friend,” Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, who played in Santa Barbara with his current band, Saucerful of Secrets.

Editor’s List for Book Notes: More than a dozen years of research have gone into telling his story, with numerous interviews conducted with Asher, as well as 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.

More than a hundred artists, friends and colleagues – many of whom have since passed away – agreed to be interviewed, and they help 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 for an MRI after my wife and daughter insisted that I check things out. Good thing I did because I had to be rushed into emergency brain surgery from there. Two small holes in the head but I’m on the mend.

Incredibly, Asher has multiple dates scheduled starting in late November for his live gigs with Jeremy Clyde of Chad and Jeremy Fame. Tickets are available here.

Linda Ronstadt and Peter Asher

During the 1970s, 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 many follow-ups. He produced 12 consecutive studio albums for Ronstadt, including Heart like a wheel and Hasten to the wind. He is a two-time Grammy Award winner for Producer of the Year.

In a recent interview, Ronstadt said The New York Times“Anyone can get a bunch of different jobs. The question is whether they can do them well. And Peter did every one of them to the fullest.

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

In Best Classical Groups’ 2017 interview with Asher, he was asked how he met Taylor. “The connection was [guitarist] Danny Kortchmar. He had been in the Kingbees, supporting Peter and Gordon. James phoned and said, “I’m Danny’s friend and I have this tape.” He came over and gave me the tape. I don’t think he knew I had just gotten this new job, just that I was a friend and a producer. I was super impressed and said, “I happen to be running this new label now. Do you want a recording contract? And he said, ‘Yes, please.’

From Asher’s recent health crisis, The New York Times noted in their interview, published on November 9, he had fallen and suffered a concussion over the summer in London. Although doctors initially cleared him, he soon had difficulty walking and playing the guitar. As he was returning home from a second brain scan in early October, his doctors called.

“They said, ‘Turn around, you’re in surgery as soon as you get here,'” he said. The newspaper wrote that Asher suffered from a massive brain hemorrhage and was in critical danger. “They must have drilled a few holes in my head.”

Asher and fellow producer Lou Adler are the ones who got the names of the musicians on the covers and album covers.

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

Asher was born in London on June 22, 1944. With Gordon Waller, he achieved a UK and US No. 1 single 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 made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Queen’s New Year Honors for his services to the UK music industry.

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