Brit Hit Makers

P.D. Kelley 

Last Friday, April 6th, Peter Asher and Albert Lee took the stage at the Rogue and entertained us with their musical knowledge, fascinating stories, and wonderful pop songs from the past.  It was sentimental.  It was sweet.  It was not to be missed.  Asher, the “Peter” of Peter and Gordon, is now a grandfatherly type who still plays a decent guitar and has the waspish wit of a very smart man who has met just about everyone in the music industry on two continents in the last forty years.  He made (and still makes) his money as one of the most successful and prolific music managers and producers of all time.  He recognized the greatness in James Taylor when Taylor was still drifting in and out of heroin addiction but Asher’s instincts were correct as they were about Linda Ronstadt and numerous others.  He still keeps a very busy hand in the mix and has an upcoming project with Elton John as well as a weekly radio show on Sirius XM.  Albert Lee is actually a year older than Asher but looks somewhat like an angelic elf with a nimbus of white hair and a self-effacing persona that is a wonder, given his legendary guitar and piano skills.  He is the guy everyone calls to play on an album or to go on tour or to manage a band.  He has been called “Mr. Telecaster” and “a guitarist’s guitarist”.  He and Asher are old friends and the two thought it might be fun to team up every once in awhile and take their audiences down memory lane.  We heard some of Peter and Gordon’s hits and a nice chunk of the Everly Brothers (whom Lee helped reunite and manage over the course of twenty years) as well as a little bit of everything in between.  Lee is not as chatty as Asher but his gentle voice recounted some great career experiences, not the least of which was the delicate dance of working with Phil and Don Everly who supposedly hated each other.  Asher kept unloading little bombshells of delicious info to include my favorite story about Paul McCartney who lived with the Asher family for two years and dated Asher’s sister, Jane, a famous (at least in the UK) actress in her own right.  There was a song that the Beatles had rejected and Asher thought it would be right for him and Gordon and asked Paul to teach it to them.  He did so but the tune needed a bridge which McCartney hand wrote and gave to Asher.  “A World Without Love” was Peter and Gordon’s biggest hit.  Just as I’m thinking, man I hope he held on to that piece of paper, Asher confirmed that it is in a safe deposit box and “If things go to s—t I’m going to run as fast as my little legs will carry me to Sotheby’s (auction house).”  And so it went…a story, a song, another story, another song.  Just delightful!

Catch you on the flip side. . .