They don’t listen, they don’t seem to care.

July 22, 2009

Good lord, two long days of work and two nights out, and look what you miss.

Gordon Waller of Peter & Gordon fame died on Monday, which probably isn’t going to start a three-week Larry King run with Miko Brando, but I must admit that I was a bit saddened when I heard the news.

It’s not because I’m any great Peter & Gordon fan — admittedly, the stuff I’ve heard I do quite like, but when they weren’t making Paul McCartney or Del Shannon cast-offs into significant chart hits, they were just covering other people’s songs. Don’t get me wrong — they did it in a very charming and lovely way, but it’s not as if the world lost one of it’s greatest songwriters Monday.

However, it did lose a pretty good dude. I met Gordon back in 1999 at Beatlefest in Chicago, which I attended with my friend Brian. We did a lot of perusing through the marketplace at the fest — the miles of vinyl was enough to keep Brian entranced for hours — and we’d once in awhile check in on some of the featured guests.

Gordon was one of them, and I think everyone kind of wished Peter had shown up instead (after all, Paul had dated Peter’s sister for all those years, so there must have been good stories there — seriously, Beatlefesters think like that). Brian and I kept joking about how fabulously anticlimactic it was to go around saying “I met Gordon,” but we found it so funny that we kept showing up every time Gordon was scheduled to talk or perform.

And you know what? We actually started to really dig Gordon. He seemed affable enough and although he wasn’t in his best singing voice (some sort of throat ailment he kept dousing with some kind of cherry-flavored medicinal spray), when he’d go into “World Without Love” or “Woman” or “I Go To Pieces,” it was really f*cking cool. We jokingly chanted “Gordon! Gordon! Gordon!” between songs, but honestly, I think there was a bit of sincere appreciation on both our parts in the chanting.

On the way home from Beatlefest that night, Brian and I joked about approaching Mark Lapidos (the guy who’s either a genius or the most ridiculous superfan on earth for starting Beatlefest) and taking a very New York-style business tone:

“Salutations, Mr. Lapidos. We’ve enjoyed this Beatles fest. But I think we have a better offer for you. Mr. Lapidos, what would you say if we proposed a Gordon fest?”

We thought it was hilarious, and would forever refer to Gordon in a somewhat joking matter (the way you do with legendary second bananas like Oates or Herb or the other dude from Wham!), but every time I hear a Peter & Gordon track, I do often find myself thinking it is pretty stellar. Makes you wonder why Peter hangs out with Pamela Anderson all the time now. I mean, 15 years ago, sure. But now?

Anyway, part of me hopes that somewhere on the other side, Brian and Gordon are having a good chat where you can’t tell if he’s taking the piss or being genuine, and Brian’s already talking about his discussions with St. Peter for a proper Gordon fest (again, it’s hard to tell if it’s sincere or genuine — but that’s the kick).


Peter & Gordon – I Go To Pieces
From the 1965 album of the same name, I still think this is the duo’s most majestic moment, and they did a way better job with it than the song’s composer, Del Shannon. Sure, “A World Without Love” is a bit more hummable and likely to stick around in your head, but if you play it back-to-back with this, it becomes very obvious which one was a song Paul McCartney didn’t even bother taking to the other Beatles.

One comment

  1. I’ve always liked this song, and you’re right — definitely better than “World Without Love.” Thanks for posting it!

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