Peter and Gordon – A World Without Love UK 7" singleWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 21 January 1964
Producer: Norman Newell

‘A World Without Love’ was written by Paul McCartney at the age of sixteen. Recorded by Peter And Gordon in January 1964, it topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

McCartney. I think that might have been another one… He had quite a lot of material already… he was already more of a songwriter than me when we met. So I think that was also resurrected from the past. I don’t know, I think he had the whole song before The Beatles and gave it to Peter and Gordon, one of whom is now the famous Peter Asher. I don’t know what became of Gordon. Paul never sang it. Not on a record, anyway. That has the line ‘Please lock me away’ – which we always used to crack up at…
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Peter Asher was the elder brother of McCartney’s girlfriend Jane Asher. He and Gordon Waller recorded a number of songs by McCartney, including ‘A World Without Love’, ‘Nobody I Know’, ‘I Don’t Want To See You Again’, and ‘Woman’.

Gordon Waller was an Elvis maniac; he did a very good impression of Elvis. He was a lot of fun, he was slightly less academic than Peter. It was he who encouraged Peter to jump school. Lunchtime sessions were very popular then so they could do daytime gigs.

The funny first line always used to please John. ‘Please lock me away –’ ‘Yes, okay.’ End of song. It was an early song of mine that we didn’t use for the Beatles that I thought would be good for Peter and Gordon – and it was.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

McCartney initially offered ‘A World Without Love’ to Billy J Kramer, who declined it. Peter And Gordon’s version was recorded at Abbey Road and released in the UK on 28 February 1964.

The song topped the UK charts in May 1964, displacing The Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ from number one. The following month it topped the US chart – it was the first time a Lennon-McCartney composition recorded by an act other than The Beatles entered the top 40.

McCartney’s demo of ‘A World Without Love’ was made public in January 2013. The 30-second demo features McCartney singing and accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar.

Peter Asher recorded the Beatle performing the song on a reel-to-reel tape machine.

According to Asher, when asked if Peter And Gordon might record the song, “Paul said, ‘Absolutely,’ but I had to nag him to write the bridge. It came several weeks later, just in time for the session.”

Asher discovered the demo in a box of DAT tapes which contained various analogue recordings he had transferred. The tapes included various radio shows he had recorded, plus the McCartney demo. They were being kept in storage in Los Angeles.

Asher played the demo during his show Peter Asher: A Musical Memoir of the ’60s and Beyond, a touring show with dates in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Clear Lake, Iowa. The World Without Love demo had its first play at the show at the Iridium in New York.