Wednesday, December 2, 2020

PETER ASHER: The Zoom Session

A few weeks back, Peter Asher did a Zoom Interview with Tom Frangione acting as host (both have programs that air regularly on The Beatles Channel) …

But what made this particular session so intriguing was the fact that Peter also agreed to answer questions from viewers tuning in!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the session (much as I would have loved to have seen it) …

But East Coast FH Correspondent Shelly Sweet-Tufano WAS there …

And has agreed to give our readers a Play-By-Play as to what they missed.

So please join us over the course of the next few days as we visit (vicariously, of course) with Peter Asher!


He looks great!

Shut down from touring by a pandemic and sporting a short beard, he looks great! His book, The Beatles From A to Zed, is the most successful selling book of The Fest For Beatles Fans. It has now come out in paperback, officially making him a “Paperback Writer.” 

Whom am I joining on a Zoom Meeting this afternoon?

PETER ASHER! (proper English grammar is sometimes difficult to get out of the mouth)

The Fest for Beatles Fans is sponsoring a Zoom interview between Peter Asher and Tom Frangione, with an opportunity for questions coming from those included in the audience. One Hundred of us join together to listen and enjoy Peter’s easy chatty style.

I take notes … eight pages of notes.

From this, I will compose my thoughts based on what Peter was asked and how he responded. Some was expected. Some I had heard before. A bit of this hour and a half surprised me.

Let’s go!

The main reason for this meeting is to promote Peter’s book coming out in paperback form. So we need information in this area. 

The book is based on Peter’s SiriusXM radio show ‘From Me To You.’  On this show he uses the alphabet like a Beatles invoked Sesame Street.

Not every entry is the name of a song, but somehow the letter WILL be connected to The Beatles in some way or form. 

One example is the letter ‘T.’ 

Next to the several ‘T’ Beatles songs, there is also a reference to ‘Time Signatures.’  The traditional time signature for rock and roll is 4/4. However, The Beatles used that and 3/4, 5/4 and even 7/4. They never limited themselves nor locked themselves into one or two specific formats of composition.

Peter had to add to his radio information when writing the book. His realization that a good and proper book would require more than the radio blurbs he was using created a very densely packed wealth of information that can be used as reference material or fun information. An audio version, narrated by Peter, is also available for purchase. And if you can’t decide if you should get hardcover or paperback, maybe the fact that the James Taylor quote that is found on the hardcover has been switched to a quote from The Washington Post will help you with your decision. For me, it just means I need both.

During this holiday season, Peter will sign and personalize the orders that come through The Fest for Beatles Fans. That is just a finishing touch on a great gift idea. Now then, Tom Frangione, what are the questions on your mind?

EDITOR’S NOTE:  I received the original hard cover edition, signed by Peter, for a Christmas gift last year and quickly devoured it from cover to cover.  Having been a fan of his show for years, it was nice to see each letter greatly expanded.  (The trade-off, however, is not being able to HEAR the examples as he rattles thru them … but let’s face it, the music of The Beatles is SO familiar the world over that you INSTANTLY hear the song(s) in question in your head anyway!  (kk)

Tom Frangione is one of the hosts of The Fab Fourum, also on SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel.

One of his first inquiries to Peter revolves around the “Dart Board / Roulette Wheel” Beatles song pick that Asher uses on his show. Peter then supplies information surrounding that week’s song.

Tom wants to know, “Is it truly random or is it prepared ahead of time?”

“I really don’t know what is coming up. It could be a song I don’t know. Every song, group or solo, is fair game.” Peter then refers to Tom as an expert on The Beatles while he is “just a Beatles fan,” as are we.

Tom describes Peter’s book as a “great narrative” and “a good information source.”  His favorite letter is “Z” (or Zed). Although an obscure letter in general, when it comes to any music, it usually has no connection. But for Peter Asher and The Beatles, there is The Beatles Zoo and, of course, The Zebra Crossing from Abbey Road. Just stop here for a moment and I know that without my or anybody else’s help, you can rattle off quickly many animals mentioned in their songs; some specific names or breeds (Martha and bulldog) and others (walruses and pigs) more general.

The letter “T” gets a full page of notes from me as they discuss: Ticket To Ride, Time Signatures, The Taylor family of talented singers and the Thing-A-Me-Bob song that Paul wrote for a TV show. Peter relates a first person account of a trip to the north of England to record an award winning Brass Band for Thing-A-Me-Bob. The trip and the story ends in the Village of Harrold with Paul (and dog Martha) entertaining throughout the evening while playing piano at a pub that reopened just to serve food to this band of wandering minstrels. All of Asher’s personal stories are warm fuzzies for me, making human the four musicians we deified.

I feel that Tom and Peter might have wanted to continue talking with each other, but now graciously, they turn the questioning over to us, the audience. Some of the questions I expected. Some I had not thought of. A couple gave me a “YES! I want to know that!” response.

So, coming up next, is a recap of the twenty questions asked by the Zoom members.