Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17: Gordon Waller of Peter and Gordon - "A World Without Love" - died on this date in 2009...

... born on June 4, 1945, he was 64 years-old when he died from heart failure.
Gordon Trueman Riviere Waller was born in Braemar, Scotland. While attending Westminster School, he met fellow student Peter Asher, and they began playing together as a duo, eventially calling themselves Peter and Gordon. Asher is the older brother of actress and businesswoman Jane Asher, who in the mid 1960s was girlfriend of The Beatles' Paul McCartney.

Through this connection he and Waller were often given unrecorded Lennon–McCartney songs to perform, most notably their first and biggest hit, "A World Without Love" which they recorded in 1964. Those hits included "A World Without Love" - which hit #1 in the USA-  "Nobody I Know," "I Don't Want To See You Again," and "Woman." On "Woman," McCartney used the pseudonym Bernard Webb to see if he could have a hit song without his name attached. The song reached number 14 in the US and number 28 on the British charts.

Peter and Gordon also recorded the John Lennon-penned Lennon–McCartney song, "..If I Fell." Other hits for the group included "I Go to Pieces" (U.S. #7)—written by Del Shannon and given to the duo after the two acts toured together—and remakes of "True Love Ways" by Buddy Holly and "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, retitled "To Know You Is To Love You."

Peter and Gordon had their last hits in 1967, with "Lady Godiva" (US #6), "Knight In Rusty Armour," and "Sunday for Tea." "World Without Love," "Nobody I Know," "True Love Ways," and "Lady Godiva" each sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs.

Peter and Gordon disbanded in 1968. Afterward, Waller attempted a solo career with little success, releasing one record, and Gordon. On this album Waller used a New York-based group White Cloud, featuring Teddy Wender on keyboards. He also appeared in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as Pharaoh in 1971, a performance that he reprised on the LP. Waller first performed "Joseph" at the Edinburgh Festival, later reprising the role at the Albery Theatre in London's West End.

In 1995, he moved to Los Angeles, California, and started a publishing company, Steel Wallet International. Ltd., with his long time friend and girlfriend, Georgiana Steele. In 2007, Waller released a solo album Plays the Beatles, featuring a new recording of Paul McCartney's "Woman." In 2008, he followed up with the release of Rebel Rider.

In August, 2005, Peter and Gordon reunited onstage for the first time in more than 30 years, as part of two tribute concerts for Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five in New York City. This was followed by more complete concerts at The Festival for Beatles Fans (formerly Beatlefest) conventions that began the following year. In the spring of 2007 and 2008, Peter and Gordon were featured performers in the Flower Power concert series at Disney's EPCOT in Florida.

Also in 2007, they performed as part of Love-In: A Musical Celebration, a tribute to the music of the 1960s, which was filmed at the Birch North Park Theatre in San Diego, California, and released on DVD in March, 2009.

Peter and Gordon  performing on stage with his friends Jeremy Clyde, Chad Stuart and Denny Laine
On July 19, 2008, Peter and Gordon performed together at The Cannery Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Also on the bill that night were Chad & Jeremy. Both duos sang the final concert song ("Bye Bye Love") together for only the second time. The pair played numerous times at the 50 Winters Later celebration, in February, 2009, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

They subsequently performed in Chicago, New Jersey and at the Festival for Beatles Fans convention in Las Vegas, July 1 and 2, 2009. On August 21, 2008, they performed a free concert on the pier in Santa Monica, California and were briefly accompanied by Joan Baez.

Gordon Waller lived in Ledyard, Connecticut in later life. He went into cardiac arrest on July 16,2009, and died at Backus Hospital in Norwich, Connecticut.


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