Eye Witness Report on how Jane Asher met Paul McCartney

by John Whelan

Introduction: Tony Aspler came in contact with me via e-mail after reading a letter which I had submitted to the editor of the "National Post" (published September 4, 2000) regarding their recent coverage on the Beatles.

In his e-mail, Tony Aspler notified me that he has written a segment in his book describing on how he was responsible for introducing Jane Asher to Paul McCartney. The actual encounter is documented in his book called "Travels With My Corkscrew" (published by McGraw-Ryerson, 1997), please see pages 138 - 139.

Since he identified himself as the person responsible for introducing Jane to Paul, I invited him to do a small write-up on the encounter. Here was the question that I asked Tony Aspler and his response -- which is genuinely appreciated by the Ottawa Beatle Site.  "Thank you Tony!"

Question: "Would you care to do a small write-up for the Ottawa Beatle Site...how did you first meet Jane Asher, what you were doing at the time (whether you were student or worker) and how did you first meet Paul McCartney?"

Tony Aspler's Answer:

Okay, this is how it happened. After graduating from McGill. I went to live in London and was working as an assistant editor for the BBC program journal Radio Times in the early 1960s. The fact that I was the youngest member of staff meant that I had to cover the pop scene. There was a big concert held at the Royal Albert Hall in London in April 1963 which was recorded by the BBC Light Programme for future broadcast. All the upcoming groups were booked - among which were Gerry and the Pacemakers, Dave Clark Five and this new group fresh down from Liverpool called The Beatles.

I didn't have much experience of pop music so I decided to invite along someone who could give me their impressions of the music. At that time on BBC Television they had a show hosted by David Jacobs which voted new music a 'Hit' or a 'Miss'. One of the panelists was a teenaged actress named Jane Asher. Coincidentally, her family lived around the corner from me (her father was a psychiatrist; her brother was Peter - of Peter and Gordon). Jane agreed to come with me to the concert and as we listened to the various groups she gave me her comments. When The Beatles did their first number she was immediately impressed and said she would like to meet them. In the interval, we went down into the dressing room (which looked like a men's locker room with rows of dark green lockers and benches) and there they were.

I introduced Jane to The Beatles and Ringo immediately said, "Would you like to go to a party?" Jane said she would and asked me if I would join her. I had to get up early next morning for work and said 'no.' As a result of that meeting Jane started going out with Paul.

I got to know George because The Beatles' dentist, John Riley (who, incidentally, made the teeth for the Roman Polanski 'Dracula' movie) was a friend of mine. This gets weirder and weirder - I met John through a Canadian woman named Cindy who was living in London and was the Bunny Mother at the Playboy Club. Anyway, George used to hang out at John Riley's house and I would go over there.

Ironically, I ended up living on Abbey Road opposite the EMI studio in St. John's Wood. If you look at the cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road Album you can see the red brick apartment block on the right. I owned the basement apartment there.

Tony Aspler is the most widely read wine writer in Canada. He has been active in the international wine world since 1964. He received his basic wine education in London, England, at Grant's of St. James' Wine School (passed with Distinction).

For information visit Tony Aspler, the Wine Guy

E-mail correspondence used by permission of the correspondent, copyright September 6, 2000 by the Ottawa Beatle Site, all rights reserved.

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