Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon is being honored by Queen Elizabeth II with the title of a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list being released Dec. 30, Beatles Examiner learned today. He will be honored for services to the British music industry as musician, manager and record producer.
“I feel honored, delighted and excited,” Asher said in a phone interview. “I’m not a person given to emotional outbursts and I didn’t scream, but if I were ever going to, it’s the kind of thing that would make me. It was entirely unexpected and wholly delightful news.”
Asher said he first learned of the honor a month ago. “They called me and (were) very kind of cloak-and-dagger about it,” he said. “The phone call came from the British consulate here in Los Angeles. I’ve had a lot of dealings with them because I’ve worked on various projects with the British Consulate and British music events. So it wasn’t surprising that they called. I didn’t have a clue what it was about,” he said. “But then when the gentleman who called said, ‘Are you on your own? May we speak freely?’, you kind of go, ‘What is this? Do they want me to spy for the country? It was all very James Bond.
“And I said, ‘This sounds very cloak-and-dagger.’” And he said, ‘It is, really. It’s a very confidential matter. Her Majesty has decided to offer you a CBE.’” He said he was only allowed initially to tell his wife.
For Asher, 2014 was a very very good year. Among the highlights: He won a Grammy Award in January for Best American Roots song for “Love Has Come For You,” the title track on the album by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell. Asher was music supervisor for Martin and Brickell’s “Bright Star” production that debuted at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego in September.
He also directed “Hans Zimmer Revealed,” which featured over 70 musicians on stage for the first-ever live performances of Zimmer’s music.Time Out London called it, “The best live concert I have ever seen.” He also gave the induction speech for Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
The year 2014 was also the 50th anniversary of the release of the John Lennon-Paul McCartney song “World Without Love” by Peter and Gordon that hit the #1 spot on the charts in over 30 countries. He performed during the 2014 British Invasion tour and for CBS TV at the Ed Sullivan Theatre on Feb. 9. Asher and Chad & Jeremy also combined for a multimedia show that was an offshoot of his “Musical Memoirs of the ’60s and Beyond” show.
And he has several things lined up for 2015. “I’ve been working with Tim Minschin on an animated project for Dreamworks that I’ll be getting back into when the year starts up,” he said. “I’m going to be making a new Steve Martin-Edie Brickell album starting in about a month.” He also says he hopes he’ll be doing more concerts with Hans Zimmer.
And he will be hosting a new British Invasion tour. This one will feature Denny Laine, Chad & Jeremy, the Searchers and Billy J. Kramer. He did one last year, but only appeared at the beginning and end of the tour. This time, he’ll be appearing at all the shows.
The date of the induction ceremony has not been set. But he said he will attend and he hopes his ceremony will coincide with those of his friends being inducted. According to a report at the Huffington Post, Joan Collins is being made a Dame, the female equivalent of knighthood. “Joan’s an old friend,” he said.
But he says he is very excited about the honor. “It’s the mythical quality of it that makes it incredibly exciting and makes you part of a tradition going back quite a way. And that part’s fun.”