A World Without Love

Album: A World Without Love (1964)
Charted: 1 1
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  • Lyrics
  • John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this song. It is the biggest hit they wrote that was not released by The Beatles. It became the first and biggest hit for Peter & Gordon.
  • Peter & Gordon were Peter Asher and Gordon Waller. Paul McCartney went out with Asher's sister, the actress Jane Asher, which is how he met Peter. In the '60s, Jane had a famous father, a really famous boyfriend, and some prominent movie roles, including the 1966 film Alfie. In later years, she became an author and an expert on baked goods. She runs her own business called Jane Asher Party Cakes. Gordon Waller passed away in 2009 at age 64.
  • This song found its way to Peter Asher when Paul McCartney was living in the Asher household at 57 Wimpole Street in London during his time dating Jane Asher. He played the song for Peter while in his bedroom.
  • Pete Asher recalled in a 2010 interview with Gibson.com how the duo came to record this song: "Paul had played Gordon and me that song at some point, just in passing. It was really just half a song. It didn't yet have a bridge. Gordon and I were working at clubs in London at that time, and we got offered a record deal by EMI, who saw us as an English version of The Kingston Trio, or a Peter, Paul and Mary type of thing. We did the American folk song '500 Miles,' and that was the song they were thinking would be our first single. Anyway, we signed the record deal with EMI, and set the date for our first recording session. At that point I went to Paul and asked him if that orphaned song was still up for grabs, since we needed three or four songs to record on that first day in the studio. Paul said we could have it, so I asked him to finish the bridge. And he did. As I recall, the bridge came in the nick of time for us to record; World Without Love' at that first session."
  • Vic Flick, who played on many hit songs recorded in England, was the guitarist on this track. He told us, "This was the first time I used my Vox electric 12 string guitar. It was terrible to play, with a high action and not a very good sound. Things have improved, I'm pleased to say. Still it was a new sound and added to the character of the recording. I have the memory of the organist having his organ being brought into the studio by four road workers he cajoled into lifting it from his van. The workers were looking around in amazement at the big Studio 2 at EMI and tripping over the cables. Peter & Gordon were professional and did a great job. Peter Asher is now something big at Sony and was nice enough to write a letter confirming I was on the recording. The letter was needed to prove to the collection agency I was on the recording so I would get some sort of residual."
  • Peter Asher was the manager of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.
  • This was meant to be recorded by The Beatles, but that plan was vetoed by John Lennon. Asher explained: "John thought the first line 'Please lock me away' was laughable."
  • The only known recording of the song by any member of the Beatles is the original demo performed by McCartney. The tape is now in Peter Asher's possession.
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Comments: 26

  • Alex from SydneyMy mother and my grandmother have always told me that the organist playing on the track is my grandfather, the Scottish theatre organist Jackie Brown (this was his stage name, his real name is William Brown). And I know this is true because my grandfather used to record many works at Abbey Road Studios and was employed as a studio session musician for other musicians recordings and because my grandmother used to babysit Peter and Gordon when they were little.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaAlways loved this song. Does anyone know who else played on the session?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 10th 1964, Bobby Rydell performed "A World Without Love" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Two weeks later on May 24th, 1964 his version would enter Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80, and at that time Peter & Gordon's version was at #7 on the chart...
    A week later on May 31st Bobby’s version would peak at #80 {for 1 week} and it spent 6 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1959 and 1965 Bobby had twenty-eight Top 100 records; six made the Top 10 with his biggest hit being "Wild One", it peaked at #2 for 1 week in 1960 {the week “Wild One” was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "The Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith and His Orchestra}...
    He just missed having eight Top 10 records when both "Kissin' Time" in 1960 and "Good Time Baby" in 1961 peaked at #11.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 3rd 1965, Peter and Gordon's second Top 10 record, "I Go to Pieces"*, entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #85; and six weeks later on February 14th, 1965 it peaked at #9 {for 2 weeks} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    In 1975 it was covered by Cotton Lloyd & Christian; their version reached #66 on the Top 100 chart...
    Also two covered versions made Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart; Dean Dillon's version peaked at #39 in 1988 and Southern Pacific took their version to #31 in 1990...
    Peter & Gordon's first Top 10 record was "A world without Love" {#1 in 1964} and their 3rd and last Top 10 hit was "Lady Godiva" {#6 in 1966}...
    * The song was composed by Del Shannon.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 17th 1965, Peter and Gordon performed "A World Without Love" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Eight months earlier on May 3rd, 1964 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #76; and on June 21st, 1964 it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 8 of those 12 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    And on April 25th, 1964 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the British NME Top Singles chart (it knocked the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" out of the top spot, it had been #1 for 4 weeks)...
    The week that Peter and Gordon's version entered the Top 100, Bobby Rydel's covered version also entered the chart, at position #100 (his version would peak at #80)...
    R.I.P. Gordon Waller (1945 - 2009), Jimmy O'Neil (Shindig's host, 1940 -2012), and Peter Asher will celebrate his 70th birthday this coming June 22nd (2014).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 17th 1965, Peter and Gordon performed "A World Without Love" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Eight months earlier on May 3rd, 1964 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #76; and on June 21st, 1964 it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 8 of those 12 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    And on April 25th, 1964 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the British NME Top Singles chart (it knocked the Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" out of the top spot, it had been #1 for 4 weeks)...
    The week that Peter and Gordon's version entered the Top 100, Bobby Rydel's covered version also entered the chart, at position #100 (his version would peak at #80)...
    R.I.P. Gordon Waller (1945 - 2009), Jimmy O'Neil (Shindig's host, 1940 - 2012), and Peter Asher will celebrate his 70th birthday this coming June 22nd (2014).
  • Camille from Toronto, OhI agree that the song typifies the era...in fact, I would say the song helped ring in the era becoming one of the first hits of the "British Invasion". Definitely about drugs (ha, ha, just kidding). Love the lyrics, tune and vocals.
  • James from Yucaipa, CaGood song but was not recorded in stereo or was it ? I have a 1995 cd called Peter & Gordon - Original hits & a world without love is in mono.

    The cd was made in holland. 9/17/10
  • Russell from Bridgnorth, United KingdomIn the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the heroine, Becky Driscoll, says at one point: '..I don't want a World without Love, or grief, or beauty..' I've often wondered if this is where PM got the idea for the title.
  • Ruth from Indianapolis, InWhere's the part of the story about how George Martin wouldn't let The Beatles record this because it was "too sad" and not enough Poppy for a Beatles tune? That's missing. And one big LOL at the thought of John laughing every time he'd try to sing, "Please lock me away"! I can see that happening!
  • Howard from Dallas, TxThis song was written by Lennon/McCartney. They gave the song to Peter and Gordon because John would always start laughing at the first line of the song. "Please lock me away..."
  • Curt from Sarasota, FlGordon Waller passed away last Friday, July 17, at the age of 64.
  • Charles from Bronxville, NyThis is one of those songs that typifies an era. The arrangement, the vocals and the mix. When I hear this it brings me back memories and feelings of when I was a child. It is a priceless time machine for me and I will always be greatful to Peter, Gordon and Paul for that.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaI don;t know if the english release has the echo that Capitol Records put on the reording(presumably doctored, as they did a lot Beatle singles)
    but the american Capitol verion sounds very cool with that echo!
  • Jon from Great Yarmouth, United KingdomPeter & Jane Asher's father was an eminent London doctor and they lived on Wimpole Street in the City. Paul McCartney moved in there and in the basement wrote several very famous songs. I have visited this house and expected to see some recognition of this fact (a blue plaque) on the wall, but there was nothing. Shameful.
  • Jeff from Austin, TxI think since Lennon/McCartney wrote this song, it must be about drugs.
  • Murray from Seattle, WaThe Beatles didn't put this song out because they had much stronger material to work with. Plus, Brian was after them to come up with songs for some of his other clients. So, they gave them what they considered lesser gems from their backlog of songs.
    I'm sure they were a little surprised when it did so well for them.
  • Richard from Talladega, AlI think one of the reasons Peter and Gordon didn't evolve musically was because they just didn't write songs.
  • Lee from Mek\lbourne, AustraliaBobby Rydell in the late 1950's & early 1960's had quite a few hits and also sang A World Without Love (1964). I noticed that when I entered his name you have nothing on him so here's a link to his fanclub site that lists many of his hits.
    http://www.bobbyrydell.com/discography.htm

    Lee Nahmas, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
  • Ray from Berea, OhI was playing on guitar and singing a tribute song to the late great bass singer from the Drifters Bill Pinkley who just passed away and the melody and words for A World Without Love popped in my brain for some obscure reason. Those timeless melodys shall never cease.
    Ray, Cleveland OH
  • Su Heng from Singapore, SingaporeThe Beatles did sing this song. Someone lent me a CD where they sing songs which they wrote for other singers/groups. Interesting, the way Paul sang Mary Hopkin's "Goodbye". BTW, "Bad to me" is great too!
  • Steve from Fenton, MoI don't buy that Asher had anything to do with the composition of this song. He was lucky enough as it was just to get to record it.
  • Steve from Hong Kong, ChinaSir Paul is the writter of this beautiful song. He should have sung it, rather then let it to another group.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoThis was written early in McCartney's composing career. He must have been an extremely confident composer to let such a great song go to another group.
  • Chance from Melbourne, AustraliaSuch a pretty song, McCartney written all over it.
  • Brad Wind from Miami, FlAccording to some sources, Peter Asher wrote the bridge ("middle eight") of the song. John Lennon had nothing to do with it, but got the co-credit because of an agreement with Paul when they were both in their teens.
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