Big Names At Benefit
Among the performers will be Peter & Gordon, which means the North American president of Sanctuary Artists Management, Peter Asher, will be singing again.
Smith was in an accident at his home in Spain in 2003 and has been hospitalized ever since. He is paralyzed below the rib cage and has very limited use of his upper body.
The benefit shows will take place at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill August 2nd, and will be broadcast by XM Satellite Radio and recorded by Clear Channel Video.
“Paul Shaffer and his manager, Eric Gardner, called me out of the blue and told me what happened to Mike Smith,” Asher told Pollstar. “He and Paul had become friendly. Paul was substituting for David Letterman as host one night and Mike came in and played keyboards for Paul. And Mike is indeed a great guy; I hadn’t seen him in quite some time, but I met him several times in the ’60s.”
Shaffer told Asher that he had The Zombies lined up to play the benefit show, but wanted to give the evening a ’60s theme.
“I realized that under these circumstances, I couldn’t say no,” Asher said.
Billy J. Kramer, original Moody Blues singer Denny Laine, and Beatles cover band The Fab Faux are lined up as well.
It’s been about 37 years since Asher has sang with Gordon Waller in a duo that was dubbed “the Everly Brothers of the British Invasion.” Their biggest hit was a song the Beatles never recorded, “World Without Love.”
The Fab Four later tapped Asher as head of A&R for their Apple Records label, where he signed and produced James Taylor.
Jumping ahead to 2005, Asher is the former senior VP of Sony Music and was busy in New York City meeting with promoter Ron Delsener and Steely Dan’s Donald Fagan. He was practicing with a vocal coach to get his high notes up to snuff and planned to meet with Waller for a week of rehearsals for the five-song set
“I have to relearn the lyrics,” Asher said. “Gordon knows them but I haven’t done the songs in 36, 37 years. … It’s gone from a casual, ‘That’s a good idea’ to ‘Oh, shit!'”
More information on the benefit is available at www.tciartists.com, and there is a 10-day eBay auction beginning July 31st featuring an autographed drumhead by Ringo Starr, Monty Python memorabilia and VIP tickets to a Brian Wilson concert.