Peter Asher

Peter, together with his superb vocal partner Gordon Waller, recorded memorable songs including their beautiful version of Buddy’s “True Love Ways”

Peter Asher is a very special choice as a Lifetime Legacy Ambassador for The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation. Very few people have contributed to Buddy Holly’s legacy as much as Peter. In 1965, Mr. Asher and his schoolmate Gordon Waller released their sublime version of “True Love Ways”, Buddy’s heart-felt wedding present to his bride, Maria Elena, which rose to No. 2 on the UK Charts and No.6 in the US. Later as Linda Ronstadt’s manager and producer in the mid-‘70s, he revealed Buddy’s genius to a new generation by producing and recording Linda Ronstadt’s reputation-reviving versions of Buddy’s hits “That’ll Be the Day” and “It’s So Easy” that started the first real posthumous Holly renaissance.

Beyond his contributions to Buddy’s legacy, Peter Asher is eminently qualified to serve as an Artist Ambassador. Peter’s music career started with his success as half of the Buddy-influenced duo Peter & Gordon in the mid-60s. The group scored a UK & US Number 1 smash “World Without Love”, and scored nearly a dozen US and UK hits through the 1960s including “Nobody I Know”, “I go to Pieces” and “Lady Godiva”. Peter & Gordon’s success stemmed in part from their distinctive vocals and brilliant guitar work, both hallmarks of Buddy Holly’s style, and it was appropriate that their second biggest hit was a cover of Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways”.

Not content with just performing great music, Mr. Asher followed his success as a performer by managing and producing music after he stopped performing with Mr. Waller in 1968. Mr. Asher was the first head of A&R at the Beatles’ Apple Records, where he discovered a young folksinger from Massachusetts, James Taylor. Following JT’s debut on Apple, Peter left Apple Records to manage James’ career full-time. Mr. Asher also had great success managing Linda Ronstadt, and is considered godfather of the “California Rock” sound of the 70s, producing Linda Ronstadt and many other artists, including J.D. Souther, Andrew Gold, and Bonnie Raitt. His work as a producer is almost without peer, producing hit albums in every decade from the 70s until today. Peter also returned to performing with Gordon Waller in the late 70s, often performing Buddy’s songs. In the 1980s, Mr. Asher produced albums by many artists, including Taylor, Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt and 10,000 Maniacs. Peter also achieved outstanding success in the recording industry, including a stint as Senior Vice President of Sony Music in the 1990s.

Throughout his long and successful career in the music business, Peter Asher has paid tribute to his hero Buddy Holly. From his cover of “True Love Ways” to his production of Linda Ronstadt’s Holly songs, Peter never forgot his roots. Several other Asher-managed artists over the years have recorded Buddy’s songs, most famously, James Taylor’s loving version of “Everyday.” Peter’s recent tributes to Buddy include his efforts as producer, impresario and host of the award-winning “Buddy Holly: Listen to Me – The Ultimate Buddy Party” tribute album, concert and PBS special from Songmasters, featuring legendary artists such as Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Stevie Nicks, Natalie Merchant, and Lyle Lovett. In this way, Peter has again started yet another renaissance of Buddy Holly’s music and genius for a new generation of Holly fans.

Buddy Holly was a great performer, producer and music businessman, and he would have admired every aspect of Peter Asher’s career, particularly what he has done to develop and further other artist’s careers. It is this spirit that we at a foundation devoted to developing young people and artists most admire. Maria Elena Holly, Peter Bradley, and the entire Buddy Holly Educational Foundation are proud to honor an artist who not only achieved great success on his own merits, but also has meant so much to so many other performers, particularly to Buddy’s career and legacy. Peter Asher’s talents, spirit, drive, and commitment to his craft and to other artists does justice to Buddy Holly’s memory and his dreams, which we are happy Peter shares. We proudly present Peter with the “True Love Ways” guitar to play and use while a Lifetime Legacy Ambassador.

Peter Asher Responds
“Clearly this is a significant honour for which I most especially grateful – “Lifetime Legacy Ambassador” sounds pretty grand! But what it really represents to me is a unique opportunity to repay my personal debt to Mr. Holly, a man I was never lucky enough to meet – or even to hear and see in performance.

“Without him (and his brilliant song “True Love Ways”) Gordon and my career would not have reached the fortunate heights it did. Without him I would never have had the confidence to believe that a nerdy guy in glasses could become a pop star (once I found glasses which looked like his!). Without him my career as a producer would be missing a few very significant hits. Without him I might have assumed that my multiple ambitions as an artist, a producer, a writer and a businessman were unrealistic and unprecedented.

“So the least I can do is to make every effort to further the aims I know were Buddy’s and which Maria Elena so eloquently pursues today – to promote access to musical education for all young people regardless of circumstance. And to further the cause of good music, original music and truthful music whenever and wherever I can find it.”

Sir Cliff Richard
Glenn Tilbrook