Tony Asher

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Tony Asher's greatest claim to fame comes from his lyrical collaboration in 1966 with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys' teenage opus Pet Sounds. Before teaming up with Wilson, Asher worked in the advertising…
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Tony Asher's greatest claim to fame comes from his lyrical collaboration in 1966 with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys' teenage opus Pet Sounds. Before teaming up with Wilson, Asher worked in the advertising industry. He took only a short leave of absence to work on the record. Asher explained once that he was not able to leave work for very long, so he unfortunately missed out on most of the actual recording sessions on what critics consider one of the greatest albums of the rock era. Asher originally studied as a journalist but had a musical background from childhood. He even once considered becoming a jazz piano player. He credits his early musical experience with helping his career in advertising. Asher's specialty was in writing commercial jingles. One of his pre-Brian Wilson writing partners was John Bahler, a vocal arranger who sang the lead on the theme to Love American Style and did many radio spots. Tony Asher, together with Bahler, did many of the songs used on the Partridge Family TV show. Bahler was actually the voice of one of the family members! Asher also teamed up with the duo of Roger Nichols and Paul Williams who were signed to a publishing deal with A&M Records and who contributed many songs to the Carpenters. Asher's creative pinnacle is the lyrics to Pet Sounds. Assigned the job of developing Wilson's themes and motifs into full-fledged songs, Asher expanded many embryonic ideas into rock & roll classics and collaborated on nearly every track on the album. His contributions to the records include "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "You Still Believe In Me," "That's Not Me," "Don't Talk," "God Only Knows," "Here Today," "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times," and "Caroline, No." It has long been rumored that "Caroline, No " was written about a real person and it is true that the woman, whose name was just slightly changed, was a Tony Asher ex. It was unfortunate when Beach Boy Mike Love sued Brian Wilson for co-writing credit on nearly 30 songs, including those penned by Tony Asher though Love was on tour in Europe when they were written. Love's legal case regarding Pet Sounds hinged on the possibility that Brian Wilson, on trips to the bathroom or the kitchen and out of Tony Asher's sight, could have spoken to Love on the phone bout lyrics. In court, Asher explained how he wrote all of "Wouldn't It be Nice" while home alone and that "Mr. Love did not then, and I pray does not now, have my home phone number." Likely due to the relative commercial disappointment of Pet Sounds and the lukewarm response to the songs from the other members of the Beach Boys (including Love), Asher never worked with the supergroup again. He had written lyrics for "Good Vibrations" which was intended for Pet Sounds, but none of his words made it into the final version. In 1994, Brian Wilson and Tony Asher reconnected after many decades and wrote about ten songs together. To date, only "Everything I Need," which was included on the Wilsons' debut, and "This Isn't Love" (strangely included in the soundtrack to Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) have been released. ("This Isn't Love" also appeared on Live at the Roxy.)