Gordon Waller, half of the rock duo, Peter and Gordon, that was part of the British Invasion of the Sixties, died Friday, July 17, 2009, in Norwich, Connecticut. He was 64 and lived in Ledyard, Connecticut. His death was announced on the official Peter and Gordon website.
Peter and Gordon were part of a wave of British bands that swept the United States following the success of the Beatles. They toured the United States and appeared on network variety shows, including “The Ed Sullivan Show.” In Gordon Waller’s obituary in The New York Times, writer Douglas Martin describes Peter and Gordon’s vocal harmonies as “reminiscent of the Everly Brothers to their own synthesis of folk, blues and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Although they recorded many successful songs, their most memorable is “A World Without Love” (1964). It was one of several written for them by Sir Paul McCartney. In October, 1963, Peter Asher and Gordon Waller had signed a record contract with EMI. At the time, Peter’s red-haired sister – the lovely Jane Asher – was dating Paul McCartney. Peter (age 19) and Gordon (age 18) asked Paul to give them a song. They knew he was in the middle of writing “A World Without Love” for the Beatles to record. Peter and Gordon asked Paul to finish the tune for them so they could record it. (1)
It was recorded on January 21, 1964, at Abbey Road with an arrangement by Geoff Love and production by Norman Newell. It was completed in 5 takes. The tune became a Top 10 hit in Britain, even displacing the Beatles’ own “Can’t Buy Me Love” on the pop charts. It was then issued in the United States on the Capitol label and became one of the top songs of the year. Two more McCartney songs that year brought Peter and Gordon added success: “Nobody I Know” and “I Don’t Want to See You Again.” Click below to watch the video of Peter and Gordon singing “A World Without Love.” Also visit Peter and Gordon at Peter and Gordon myspace to hear more of their music.
(1) The New York Times, “Gordon Waller, 64, a Partner in the Band Peter and Gordon.” Obituaries, July 21, 2009.