He is a singer, guitarist, percussionist and record producer born in Willesden, Middlesex, England, to a family where his father was a doctor, his mother a professional musician and his sisters are the radio personality Clare Asher and the actress Jane Asher. He also says that he was told by the actor Mike Myers that he had fashioned his character Austin Powers to look like him.
He studied at Westminster School and while there he met up with Gordon Waller. They teamed up as a duo and before long were known as Peter & Gordon who had a No. 1 hit in the UK and US with Lennon & McCartney’s “A World Without Love”, which was given to them by Paul McCartney as one of the The Beatles unrecorded songs.
In 1968 he and Gordon went their own separate ways and he took on the post of Head of Apple Records’ A&R Department. In this position he signed up the unheard of singer-songwriter James Taylor and produced his first album which was unsuccessful. Not put off by that lack of interest in the singer, he decided that he had enough potential for him to give up his post and move to the United States as his manager. This was an extremely successful venture and since then he has produced the majority of the now acclaimed star’s recordings. Of course this didn’t go un-noticed and from then on he was being approached by other artists for his skills.
From the 1970s he has managed the group Country and produced albums for artists such as Tina Arena, Boyzone, Sarah Brightman, Peter Cetera, Cher, Neil Diamond, Andrew Gold, Heart, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Olivia Newton John, Kenny Loggins, Morrissey, Aaron Neville , Randy Newman, Nirvana, Bonnie Raitt, REO Speedwagon, Nelson Riddle, Diana Ross, David Sanborn, J.D. Souther, Ringo Starr, 10,000 Maniacs and Wilson Phillips and his long association with Linda Ronstadt has resulted in several platinum albums. Not content to concentrate his production work just on artists, he has produced the soundtracks of many movies such as An American Tail, Armaggedon, Chances Are, Days of Thunder, De-Lovely, The Land Before Time, The Mambo Kings, One Fine Day and Runaway Bride.
Albums he has appeared on as a musician/singer include his own In Touch With…, World Without Love, True Love Ways, Knight In Rusty Armour and Woman with Peter & Gordon, Heart of Stone by Cher, In My Lifetime by Neil Diamond , What’s Wrong With This Picture? by Andrew Gold , Greatest Hits by Heart, Living in the U.S.A. by Linda Ronstadt , I Love You by Diana Ross , Black Rose by J.D. Souther , Time Takes Time by Ringo Starr and Mud Slide Slim & The Blue Horizon by James Taylor .
Recognised for his musical contributions he is a three-time Grammy Award winner with one being for “Best Spoken Comedy Album” by Robin Williams in 2002 and two of them being for “Producer of the Year, Non-Classical” in 1977 and 1989.
Often seen as an actor, he has featured in the movies Isn’t Life Wonderful, Bernard and Doris and Escapade and in the television shows The Adventures of Robin Hood, Sword of Freedom and Colonel March of Scotland Yard.
In 2005, after nearly four decades, he re-joined Gordon for a benefit concert that was held for Mike Smith of The Dave Clark Five and in 2008 they performed concerts in Las Vegas and Santa Monica.
In 2015 he was recognised for his contribution to music by being appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
Linda Ronstadt recordings
Back in the U.S.A. (Producer and musician) (Chuck Berry )
Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram recordings
Somewhere out There (Producer) (James Horner/Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil)