The duo first hit number one in 1964 with "A World Without Love," a song written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and followed up with nine more top-40 hits, including two others written by the Beatles.
Although not as well remembered by the general public as other British invasion bands, Peter & Gordon were in the forefront of English groups that helped change the sound of music in the 1960s.
The duo was the first English group of that period besides the Beatles to score a number one hit in the United States.
Gordon Waller and Peter Asher met at Westminister School for Boys in London where they began to play music together. Asher was into jazz and folk music. Gordon was into rock & roll, and above all, Elvis.
"I listened to Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Elvis, Fats Domino and others," Waller said last week.
The duo started singing for their own entertainment, but soon found they were asked to do parties and later hired for lunchtime gigs at a local pub. They eventually became a regular act at the Pickwick Club, a supper club that industry people frequented, where they were approached by EMI Records - the company that had also signed The Beatles.
While the duo did pen some of their own songs, they scored hits with Lennon and McCartney songs such as "Nobody I Know," and "I Don't Want to See You Again," and a McCartney tune "Woman" penned under another name. Del Shannon also supplied one of the Duo's hits with "I Go to Pieces," although the duo's melodic folk rock sound also produced hits from music hall standards such as "Lady Godiva" and remakes of a Buddy Holy tune "True Love Ways" and Phil Spector's "To Know You Is to Love You."
Their records frequently also featured performances by some of the legends of 1960s rock & roll such John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and the later Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones.
Although Gordon Waller, when interviewed by telephone, did not considered his duo part of "The Beatles family," he and Peter Asher played a huge role in Beatles' mythology, more than merely recording Beatles tunes.
Peter Asher's sister, Jane, was Paul McCartney's steady girlfriend for most of the 1960s. Peter was also partly responsible for John Lennon's meeting of Yoko Ono in that he was co-owner of the Indica Bookstore and Gallery where John and Yoko first met.
Parted ways Waller and Asher parted ways in 1968 to pursue other interests.
"We didn't break up," he said. "The truth of the matter is that we had a pretty poor management setup. We did a lot of performances, but didn't get a lot of money. After a while, we got fed up with it."
Waller started a solo career in 1969, released a solo album called "... & Gordon" but it was poorly received by the critics. But he did launch a successful stage career in the early 1970s in England and later in Australia in the role of the Pharaoh in the musical "Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
Since then, Waller has toured as a solo musical act.
After the parting of Peter and Gordon, Asher continued his association with the Beatles, becoming the A&R (artist and repertoire) director for Beatles-owned Apple Records which produced the most artistically successful James Taylor album.
Leaving Apple, Asher went on to produce a host of pop artists including Linda Ronstadt, 10,000 Maniacs, Cher, Billy Joel and a host of others, resulting in 31 gold albums, 19 platinum albums, and eight Grammy awards.
He was named Producer of the Year in 1977 and again in 1989, and in 1997 became vice president in charge of talent and scouting for Sony Records.
Back together for charity Perhaps Peter & Gordon would have remained a part of music's glorious past if not for a recent tragic accident that injured another icon of the 1960s: Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five. Asher and Waller agreed to join other musical legends of the area last August, including The Zombies, Peter J. Kramer and the Fab Faux for a benefit concert in New York City.
There, they encountered another local legend, Mark Lapidos, the one time record store manager and founder of the 32-year-old Festival for Beatles Fans.
Lapidos, whose daring allowed him to approach John Lennon in the 1970s to receive the former Beatle's blessing in starting the festival, was attending the benefit concert last year. He saw Peter & Gordon and figured they would make a great act for a festival that has brought many strands of the extended Beatles family together, culminating in last year's appearance of Donovan Leitch at the Secaucus shows.
"I waited until the show was over and I approached Gordon," Lapidos said, recalling how he worked his magic in getting the duo to consent to what will be the first official appearance of the Peter & Gordon act in the United States since 1968.
"I called him a few months later, and he credits me with convincing them to do this," Lapidos said. "I told him that the fans would love to see them and they would have a great time."
American nostalgia Waller said the Peter & Gordon performance will feature about 12 songs, and noted that people in the United States are much more nostalgic for acts like theirs than fans in England.
"It is great feeling," he said. "I moved to America I was surprised to find out how popular performers from the 1960s still are."
Fans, of course, will be able to purchase CDs at the festival, including one called "The Ultimate Peter & Gordon" with all their hits.
Yet Peter & Gordon are only the tip of a great lineup of musicians slated for play at this year's festival. "This is the best lineup of musical guest that we have ever had," Lapidos said.
Pete Best, Laurence Juber, and the rest The Festival will also feature The Peter Best Band - featuring the drummer who Ringo Starr replaced in The Beatles lineup in 1963, as well as Mark Hudson, Gary Burr, Tony Barrow, Larry Kane and others who musicians who have performed with one or all of the Beatles in the past. Perhaps one of the most amazing performers is Laurence Juber, whose is considered by many critics to be among the world's best acoustic guitarists.
The three day festival has an assortment of other activities from the market place where fans can find almost any Beatles collectibles, sing-alongs, trivia contests, movies, and other events will also be featured during the weekend.
For ticket prices, multi-day discount packages and other information, call (866) THE FEST from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is being held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 2 Harmon Plaza just off Meadowlands Parkway in Secaucus.