Music Throwback Saturday: A World Without Love

The songwriter credit was attributed to “Bernard Webb”.

As I waded through The Billboard of Number One Hits, I noticed that A World Without Love by Peter and Gordon (#1 on June 27, 1964) was immediately followed by I Get Around by the Beach Boys (#1 for two weeks starting July 4, 1964). They appear in reverse order on an album I bought from the Capitol Record Club way back in 1965 or 1966 called Big Hits of from ENGLAND AND USA.

The story of A World Without Love is probably familiar to fans of a certain group that was ALSO popular in 1964. Peter Asher (b. June 24, 1944) and Gordon Waller (b. June 4, 1945) were playing in clubs and were eventually given a recording contract by EMI. They needed songs to record. Peter’s sister Jane was dating a guy named Paul McCartney. Paul had a song he didn’t think was right for the Beatles, so P&G recorded it.

The followup, also on Big Hits, was Nobody I Know, likewise attributed to Lennon-McCartney, which went to #12 in the States. (The Beatles too had two songs on the album, Can’t Buy Me Love and You Can’t Do That, the former of which never appeared on a Capitol Beatles album until they broke up.)

Early in the 1980s, I purchased an album called The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away, “the original artist recordings of songs composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the 1960s that they had elected not to release as Beatles songs.” It included the two aforementioned P&G songs plus I Don’t Want To See You Again, #16 in 1964.

The fourth Peter and Gordon song on the 1979 album was called Woman. The songwriter credit was attributed to “Bernard Webb” as an “experiment to see if it would sell without the Lennon-McCartney name on it. It became a hit before the media revealed McCartney’s involvement.” It went to #14 in 1966.

Peter Asher became the head of Artists & Repertoire at Apple Records in 1968, and signed an unknown artist named James Taylor, and later produced both Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.

Gordon Waller stayed in the music business until he died in 2009 of heart failure at the age of 64.

It occurred to me that the duo were both born in June, as was Paul McCartney (June 18, 1942), and their only stateside #1 got there in that month.

Listen to Peter and Gordon:

A World Without Love here or here
Nobody I Know here or here
I Don’t Want To See You Again here or here
Woman here or here

Listen to the MonaLisa Twins:

A World Without Love here

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Music Throwback Saturday: A World Without Love”

  1. It strikes me as odd that both Lennon and McCartney would write songs titled simply “Woman.” John’s showed up on Double Fantasy, released just before his death; it was the second single from the LP, preceded by “(Just Like) Starting Over.” He claimed at the time that it was a sequel to the Beatles track “Girl,” though this might have been Lennon trolling the press.

    And thanks for plugging the MonaLisa Twins. I absolutely adore those two.

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