Many Beatles fans may know that the John Lennon and/or Paul McCartney sometimes gave away songs to other bands so they could, through association, become big themselves. In fact, a little Cockney blues band had their first single “I wanna be your man” written by the duo. Their name escapes me for the moment. But one of the songs the duo gave away, “A World Without Love”, became a #1 hit in both the US and the UK for a duo named Peter and Gordon. Judging by their chart placings, it was all downhill from there.
Anyway, some of the songs the Beatles gave away were eventually released, and many of them wound up on “Anthology.” Unfortunately, “A World Without Love” was not one of them. In fact, there was no evidence that any of the Beatles recorded the song… until recently. The song was written by Paul McCartney (It should be noted that, for the most part, the “Lennon/McCartney” credit was just window dressing and, in fact, few songs were written by both), and given to the brother of his girlfriend Jane Asher, to be performed by his duo, “Peter and Gordon.”
Until recently, there was no evidence that McCartney ever recorded the song, but a demo made with McCartney singing and accompanying himself on guitar was unearthed by Peter Asher, the only surviving member of the duo.
The story behind the song goes as follows: in 1964, Paul was living with his girlfriend and her brother and he played the song for him. Nobody wanted the song, and even John Lennon, who seemed to believe that the song was written before he joined the Beatles, thought it ridiculous, and since this was in the days before the Beatles performed songs without the others’ participation, that was that. Billy J. Kramer, the saviour of many orphaned Lennon-McCartney compositions, also turned the song down, leaving it to Peter and Gordon to rescue the song from obscurity, and they accepted on the condition that he write a bridge for the song.
The recording was found (in a DAT dubbing of the reel-to-reel original) in a storage space in L.A. There are no plans to release the demo, but it is playing in Asher’s touring show: Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir Of The ’60s And Beyond, which is currently touring across the US. The tape also features a version of the song “I’ll Follow the Sun,” which actually was written before Paul joined the Beatles, and was released on “Beatles For Sale.”
In lieu of a release of the original demo, I will add a video of Peter and Gordon singing the song.