Jane Asher

Paul McCartney's girlfriend between 1963 and 1968, Jane Asher was a major influence on his lifestyle and songwriting with The Beatles. For a time McCartney lived at the Asher family home in London, and a number of his songs were inspired by their relationship.

I always feel very wary including Jane in The Beatles' history. She's never gone into print about our relationship, whilst everyone on Earth has sold their story. So I'd feel weird being the one to kiss and tell.
Paul McCartney

Born in London on 5 April 1946, Asher was the second of three children born to Dr Richard Asher and his wife Margaret. Dr Asher was a consultant in blood and mental disease at Central Middlesex Hospital in Acton, London, and a broadcaster and author of a number of notable medical papers; Margaret Asher was a professor of the oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Coincidentally, one of her pupils had been George Martin, who studied piano and oboe at the school between 1947 and 1950.

Jane Asher was educated at Queen's College in London's Harley Street, and began her acting career at the age of five, playing the role of Nina in the 1952 film Mandy. She appeared in a number of notable subsequent films, including The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), The Greengage Summer (1961), The Prince And The Pauper (1962) and Alfie (1966). She also appeared in numerous television programmes, including the British series The Adventures Of Robin Hood, and appeared as a panelist on the BBC music show Juke Box Jury.

Jane Asher

She met McCartney for the first time on on 18 April 1963, at the age of 17, prior to a performance by The Beatles at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The concert was broadcast live by the BBC on the programme Swinging Sound, and in between rehearsals the group did a photo session for the weekly listings magazine Radio Times.

I met Jane asher when she was sent by the Radio Times to cover a concert we were in at the Royal Albert Hall - we had a photo taken with her for the magazine and we all fancied her. We'd thought she was blonde, because we had only ever seen her on black-and-white telly doing Juke Box Jury, but she turned out to be a redhead. So it was: 'Wow, you're a redhead!' I tried pulling her, succeeded, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend for quite a long time.
Paul McCartney

Asher had initially liked the look of George Harrison, and all The Beatles gathered round her after McCartney began chatting to her. They invited her back to their hotel, the Royal Court in Sloane Square, before moving on to the Kings Road apartment of Chris Hutchins, a journalist.

The others left Paul alone in the bedroom with Jane, after a lot of winking. They spent the evening talking about gravy and what was their favourite meal. 'I realised this was the girl for me. I hadn't tried to grab her or make her. I told her, "It appears you're a nice girl."'

'They couldn't believe I was a virgin,' says Jane.

The Beatles
Hunter Davies

After that night McCartney escorted her home, and they arranged to meet again. They went on a number of dates in London, and their romance became public when they were photographed leaving the Prince of Wales theatre after watching Neil Simon's play Never Too Late. Thereafter they became one of the most frequently featured couples in the press.

Paul fell like a ton of bricks for Jane. The first time I was introduced to her was at her home and she was sitting on Paul's knee. My first impression of Jane was how beautiful and finely featured she was. Her mass of Titian-coloured hair cascaded around her face and shoulders, her pale complexion contrasting strongly with her dark clothes and shining hair. Paul was obviously as proud as a peacock with his new lady. For Paul, Jane Asher was a great prize.
Cynthia Lennon
A Twist Of Lennon

Paul McCartney and Jane Asher

By summer 1963 The Beatles had become household names, and found it difficult staying in hotels and walking around London unhampered. Although they often went to plays and clubs, McCartney and Asher often stayed in at her parents' home at 57 Wimpole Street, a townhouse with six floors. Jane Asher suggested he regard the house as his London home, and her mother agreed to let him move into the attic room.

There were people there and food and a homey atmosphere, and Jane being my girlfriend, it was kind of perfect! Really, I suppose what solidified London for me was the house that they lived in at 57 Wimpole Street.

It was really like culture shock in the way they ran their lives, because the doctor obviously had a quite tight diary, but all of them ran it that way. They would do things that I'd never seen before, like at dinner there would be word games. Now I'm bright enough, but mine is an intuitive brightness. I could just about keep up with that and I could always say, 'I don't know that word.' I was always honest. In fact, I was able to enjoy and take part fully in their thing.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

McCartney lived at the house for three years. The change of environment greatly broadened his cultural horizons; not least with the music lessons Margaret Asher informally gave him. She taught him to play the recorder - he later played the instrument on The Fool On The Hill - and gave music tuition in a music room in the basement.

Lennon and McCartney wrote a number of songs in the music room, including I Want To Hold Your Hand.

We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in I Want To Hold Your Hand, I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had 'Oh you-u-u... got that something...' And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, 'That's it!' I said, 'Do that again!' In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that - both playing into each other's nose.
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Other songs written at the Ashers' house in Wimpole Street included Yesterday, which Paul McCartney found running through his head as he awoke one morning. Margaret Asher occasionally used it as a test piece for her students, which pleased McCartney.

I eventually got a piano of my own up in the top garret. Very artistic. That was the piano that I fell out of bed and got the chords to Yesterday on. I dreamed it when I was staying there. I wrote quite a lot of stuff up in that room actually. I'm Looking Through You I seem to remember after an argument with Jane. There were a few of those moments.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

40 responses on “Jane Asher

    1. Barb

      Jane didn’t give in to him, when he was wrong, he was wrong. Besides, he cheated on her all the time, and in the end it was why she dumped him. Paul was a chauvinist who was used to subservient northern women who let him have his way. Jane was educated, and he learned a lot from her. But he jinxed it up. To her credit, she has never written a tell all and will not to this day discuss Paul McCartney.

      1. aerialkate

        “subservient northern women”. What a load of tripe – where are you from Barb? Stop swallowing whatever line you’ve read in a ‘Beatles’ biography written by those who never made it north of the Watford gap. Met any “subservient northern women”? Having been a northern woman all of my life I can tell you most of us are the polar opposite of “subservient”. Marianne Faithfull has said she’d wished she hadn’t all but given up her career for Mick, as she did for much of the sixties – she was an upper class woman from the Home Counties. Patti Boyd (another southerner) gave up her career for George. Apparently not “subservient” enough for ‘Barb’ though. Yoko devoted her life to look after John. None were “subservient northern women”. Watch that tendency towards credulity and demeaning, contemptuous bigotry. Not a good look.

    2. Michelle

      And I’m sure she’s plenty happy with her doodler Gerald Scarfe, and Paul’s happy to be rid of her and is very lucky to have found his soul mate Linda. While she is gone, he still loves her and always will. He should thank God Jane and he weren’t married or he would’ve never married Linda and he would’ve never found the true love of his life.

  1. Jane

    They weren’t right for each other. The story of Paul and Francie is not confirmed; Francie Schwartz denies it to this day, and Jane refuses to say anything. I think it’s quite absurd that everyone keeps telling that story when we don’t know if it’s true. I can’t stand the woman, honestly. Even though we share a name.

  2. Barb

    Love her, always have and I do think Paul always loved her even when he was married to Linda, I heard that Linda was jealous of Jane years later and Paul would mention Jane to Linda. I think Linda was a rebound, actually. So were the others.

    1. aerialkate

      How on earth do you know Jane “still dislikes” him? She hasn’t said a word about him. She has repeatedly said to interviewers that it is “insulting” to be asked about an ex-boyfriend she dated shortly after her 17th birthday and she’s absolutey correct. It’s patronising to her and it’s insulting to her husband, to whom she’s been married for over thirty years. Perhaps what’s eating so many people is the fact that she genuinely moved on and was happier with another man. Their lasting union would seem to suggest this is the simple truth.

  3. PaulListro

    A lucky escape for Jane. McCartney was screwing women all over the place and got sprung by Jane with another girl in her bedroom at her home when she came home early from the U.S. The Ashers kicked him out and immediately Paul hooked up with a groupie he was screwing on the side. It was Linda Eastman . A bedroom hopping pot smoking social climber just like Paul. Jane was far to good for him besides Paul was always attracted to someone who could at times mother him, prepared to stay in the background and not challenge him if he wanted a bit on the side. In this respect Linda was perfect.

    Source. FAB an intimate life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes.

    1. aerialkate

      A deeply misogynistic take on Linda and one that’s trotted out far too often. Who cares if she had a good time in the 60s? Linda was better for Paul because Jane refused to give up her career. I’m glad Jane took that route, she was ahead of her time. Despite McCartney’s fame and wealth, Asher ended up with the far better man, as far as I’m concerned.

  4. pattie

    Jane vs linda well Paul didn’t cheat on linda he cheated on jane asher a lot so linda Louise Eastman McCartney wins again p.s. I love wings

    1. aerialkate

      Linda v Jane (grow up) – but since you brought it up: There’s a reason for that “they never spent a night apart” shtick we always heard. Linda knew damn well Paul had a roving eye and she kept her eye on his at all times. She told several band members she didn’t enjoy touring with (or even being in ) ‘Wings’. Jojo Laine (Denny’s wife) said that Linda was extremely wary of groupies. Paul didn’t cheat on Linda because she never gave him the opportunity. The difference between the marriage proposals between the two women is that Asher wasn’t pregnant when McCartney asked her to marry him. Asher won by walking. For me, as a human being (and not just a Beatle) McCartney was no prize.

  5. Muriel

    I loved Jane Asher. She was so beautiful. She just was’nt the right one for Paul. When he met Linda I think he just knew she was the one. they were married for 29 years, so i guess she was. They went everywhere together.

  6. Glen

    No it is in fact true. The funny thing is when Jane came back from 5 months in the US she said “he was like a different person…” Anyway she went with the real Paul and then with Sargent Pepper, the imposter I still love now, who, with the help of the Beatles, Epstein, and who knows who else, has managed to pull off the most amazing conspiracy of the 21st century. She had to know….right ?

  7. Stan Shall

    She is a pretty good actress for sure. I like Ringo’s quote about how he thinks Jane’s explanation of why they broke up would be more interesting. She is not talking and probably for good reason. There are a lot of lies being told. There are a lot of secrets being hidden, and the Double Fantasy continues…

    1. aerialkate

      Women who have less than glowing things to say about their time with Beatle members get savaged online and in the press. They habitually get called “whores”. Every woman is a “liar” and a “publicity seeker”. Jane Asher’s not stupid. She doesn’t fancy millions of Beatles fans giving her grief online. I doubt she harbours any resentment – she’s been happily married for nearly forty years. But if asked to look back about McCartney, in terms of her memories and experiences, she’d probably have some good things and some bad things to say about him. Too many fans can’t brook any criticism of McCartney.

  8. Seeking Truth

    Yes Jane Asher and the Paul McCartney who died in 1966 were the perfect couple just as Billy Shears and Linda Eastman were the perfect couple. That makes better sense. I’m amazed that Jane could keep up the pretense.

  9. Liam

    Paul, was a young handsome guy in his 20s at the height of his fame with more temptations that any of us will know in 100 lifetimes. Had he met her after 70 they might be together still.

  10. Sunita Parui

    Jane asher is a true beauty. What happened with them was a simple twist of fate. The fruits of adversity are the sweetest. So I think they are much happier with their own separate lives.

  11. Leave YoKo Alone

    I remember seeing her in some British funeral film. She aged well and was a total English Rose in the day. I wonder why she is so quit about her data with Paul. I would love to hear her story.

  12. Sarah St.Martin

    Meh never cared for her. And besides I think Paul looked much better than whatever she thought about George. Linda said she thought Paul was beautiful and even took a photo. Not that its about looks but he sure did last longer with Linda otherwise.

  13. Steve Ivins

    They just grew apart, that’s all. I suppose many don’t realize how hard it was for both of them to be true blue with those careers,at that age,in those times. Not many celebrity couples go the distance,right? We lifelong Beatle fans project our own fantasies at times about the other fab four, Cynthia,Jane,Pattie and Maureen…but again, none of them went the distance. We can all read about the juicy details regarding Beatle women in hindsight, but in the end no one but THE BOYS and their women know why some things clicked and others didn’t. We have the music,words,and books…that’s good enough.

  14. Jay

    It is amazing that so many of us are still intensely interested in the private lives of the Beatles, fifty years later, but we are. I visited Liverpool, and 20 Forthlin Road, and Mendips in 2008, and it was magical… When you consider the 60s, and the insane level of fame that the Beatles achieved, it is unsurprising that their first marriages (or first serious relationship, in Paul’s case) suffered as a result. What young guy, in his 20s, could resist the temptations that the Beatles had? What is amazing is that Paul, John, George and Ringo all found long-lasting happiness in their respective second marriages/relationships. Does anyone doubt that Paul and Linda would still be together? or John and Yoko? or George and his second wife? if not for death itself causing their separation? For that matter, Jane Asher–still beautiful and successful, aged 70–has been with her man since 1971. So let go of your fantasies about Jane and Paul already–they both did, a long, long time ago.

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