Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gordon of PETER & GORDON - Sudden Death

A sudden heart attack claimed Gordon Waller on July 17th. Sort of a "Half Beatles," Peter and Gordon had a hit with "World Without Love" in 1964. It was written by Paul McCartney and given to the duo primarily because Peter Asher was the brother of Paul's girlfriend, Jane.

Though credited to Lennon-McCartney, John Lennon was one of many to openly mock the song, especially the over-baked opening line, "Please lock me away, and don't allow the day..."

Gordon Waller (June 4, 1945-July 17, 2009) and Peter Asher had a respectable run from 1964 to 1968, even with competition from Chad and Jeremy, an all too similar duo in the eyes (and ears) of most young kids. While Asher went on to work for Apple Records (signing James Taylor) and later produced Linda Ronstadt albums, Gordon tried to stay in front of the microphone, turning up with an obscure solo album in 1972 that featured him completely changed from his mop-top days, in both look and sound.

His next solo albums...arrived 30 years later...and have met a similar fate of neglect: "Plays the Beatles" (2007) and "Rebel Rider" (2008). 2008 was the year Peter and Gordon not only re-united for a Vegas concert, but shared the bill with Chad and Jeremy, all four singing the closing song, the Everly Brothers classic "Bye Bye Love." Peter and Gordon turned up in California for another gig a month later. Many lifelong fans at that show probably wanted "the boys" to sign an old album, or perhaps the 2003 CD, "Definitive Collection: Knights In Rusty Armour." No doubt many who remember buying the 45's back then are feeling pretty old and very mortal at the news of Gordon's passing.

Below, the obscure 1972 Gordon solo album, and for instant listening and nostalgia, one of the lesser known recordings in the Peter and Gordon catalog, "Flower Lady," a song that shows that the duo did mature, as The Beatles did, in covering more artistic and meaningful compositions. The songwriter is, of course, the Illfolks favorite, Phil Ochs.

Peter and Gordon FLOWER LADY by Phil Ochs
Gordon Waller 1972 solo album

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