May 21, 1968
Feb 10, 1968
Jan 17, 1968
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Jane Asher (born 5 April 1946) is an English actress, author and entrepreneur. She achieved early fame as a child actress and has worked extensively in film and TV throughout her career.
Asher has appeared in TV shows and films such as Deep End, The Masque of the Red Death, Alfie, The Mistress, Crossroads, Death at a Funeral, and The Old Guys. She has also appeared in two episodes of the 1950s TV series ‘The Buccaneers’ alongside Robert Shaw. She is also known for supplying specialist cakes and kitchenware, and publishing three best-selling novels. She was a key figure of 1960s UK entertainment and arts culture and was well known as the girlfriend and muse of Beatle Paul McCartney. […]
On 18 April 1963, the 17-year-old Asher interviewed the Beatles at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, and began a five-year relationship with Paul McCartney. In December 1963, McCartney took up residence at Asher’s family Wimpole Street town house and stayed there until the couple moved into McCartney’s own home located in St John’s Wood in 1966. McCartney wrote several Beatles songs inspired by her, including “And I Love Her“, “You Won’t See Me“, “I’m Looking Through You” and “We Can Work It Out“. McCartney and Asher announced on Christmas Day 1967 that they were engaged to be married, and in February and March 1968, Asher accompanied the Beatles and their respective partners to Rishikesh to attend an advanced Transcendental Meditation training session with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In mid 1968, Asher returned to London from an acting assignment in Bristol earlier than expected and discovered McCartney in bed with Francie Schwartz. A fan who frequently loitered around Paul’s Cavendish Avenue home claims to have witnessed the incident, saying: “Paul brought this American girl home… [and a little while later]… another car turned into Cavendish Avenue—it was Jane. She’d come back… earlier than she was supposed to. Jane went into the house. A bit later on, she came storming out again and drove away.” Shortly after, Margaret Asher drove to Cavendish Avenue to collect her daughter’s things.
On 20 July 1968, Asher announced publicly to the BBC that her engagement to McCartney had been called off, an announcement that shocked many people, including McCartney himself. At the time of Asher’s announcement, McCartney was at his father’s home with Schwartz by his side. Though Schwartz confirmed that Asher did see them in bed together, she claims that she was not the sole reason for the breakup, and that the couple were on the verge of separating prior to Asher’s walking in. Authors Hunter Davies and Barry Miles state that the relationship always had several problems, one of them being that McCartney wanted Asher to give up her acting career after they married, which Asher refused to do. Another prevalent problem in the relationship was McCartney’s drug use and frequent womanising. After returning to London from a five-month acting tour of the United States in May 1967, Asher found McCartney to be completely different, confiding in Davies that McCartney had “changed so much. He was on LSD, which I hadn’t shared. I was jealous of all the spiritual experiences he’d had with John. There were fifteen people dropping in all day long. The house had changed and was full of stuff I didn’t know about.”
Asher attended the 1970 London premiere of the Beatles’ last movie, Let It Be, along with John Lennon’s former wife Cynthia, though the former Beatles did not attend.
Asher dislikes discussing or being asked about her relationship with McCartney. She stated in 2004: “I’ve been happily married for 30-something years. It’s insulting.” […]
[…] when I was about 21, we had come to London. Our manager had gotten the Beatles a flat: Apartment L, 57 Green Street, Mayfair. It was all very exciting; Mayfair is a posh part of London. For some reason I was the last one to go down there and see it, and they’d left me a small room. The others had bagged all the great rooms. They’d left me this crappy little room.
But by then I had a girlfriend, Jane Asher, who was a very classy girl whose father was a Wimpole Street doctor and whose mother was a wonderful lady, a music teacher, called Margaret Asher. So I would go round to their house and visit. I loved it there because it was such a family. Margaret and I got on very well. She sort of mothered me. It was what I’d been used to before my mum died, when I was 14, though I’d never seen a family quite like this. The only people I’d seen were working-class Liverpool. This was classy London; all of them had diaries that stretched from eight in the morning to six or seven at night. Eventually I ended up living with the Ashers. I’d already stayed over quite a bit, but Margaret must have said, “Well, you know, we’ll let you have the attic room.” So I ended up there, and they got a piano up in that room.
When John came to visit, there was a piano in the basement as well — a little music room where I think Margaret took students. So, we would write there in the basement, both on the piano at the same time, or eyeball to eyeball on our guitars.Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics” book – From Paul McCartney on his lyrics: ‘Eroticism was a driving force behind everything I wrote’ | Times2 | The Times
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. We had a good relationship. Even with touring there were enough occasions to keep a reasonable relationship going. To tell the truth, the women at that time got sidelined. Now it would be seen as very chauvinist of us. Then it was like: ‘We are four miners who go down the pit. You don’t need women down the pit, do you? We won’t have women down the pit.’ A lot of what we, The Beatles, did was very much in an enclosed scene. Other people found it difficult – even John’s wife, Cynthia, found it very difficult – to penetrate the screen that we had around us. As a kind of safety barrier we had a lot of ‘in’ jokes, little signs, references to music; we had a common bond in that and it was very difficult for any ‘outsider’ to penetrate. That possibly wasn’t good for relationships back then.Paul McCartney – from The Beatles Anthology
I think inevitably when I moved to Cavendish Avenue, I realised that she and I weren’t really going to be the thing we’d always thought we might be. Once or twice we talked about getting married, and plans were afoot but I don’t know, something really made me nervous about the whole thing. It just never settled with me, and as that’s very important for me, things must feel comfortable for me, I think it’s a pretty good gauge if you’re lucky enough. You’re not always lucky enough, but if they can feel comfortable then there’s something very special about that feeling. I hadn’t quite managed to be able to get it with Jane.Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles
About writing “We Can Work It Out”:
It was 1965. Things were not going so smoothly between Jane Asher and me. Everyone has mild arguments where you think, “God, I wish they could understand where I’m coming from” or “I wish they could get it.” They obviously don’t; they think I’m some kind of idiot or tyrant or something. It was just normal boyfriend-girlfriend stuff where she’d want it one way, I’d want it another way and I would try to persuade her, or she would try to persuade me. Most of the time we got on really well, but there would be odd moments where one or other of us would get hurt. Time has told me that millions of people go through these little squabbles all the time and will recognise just how common this is, but this particular song was not like that; it was, “Try to see it my way.” I started writing the song to try to figure my way out of feeling bad after an argument. It was really fresh in my mind. You can’t write this kind of song two weeks later. You have to do it immediately. Writing a song is a good way to get your thoughts out and to allow yourself to say things that you might not say to the other person. I wrote the first couple of verses, and then I wrote out the middle eight with John at his house. When we took it into the studio, George Harrison suggested we try the waltz pattern, with suspended triplets, that ended up giving the song a profound sense of friction and fracture. But the fracture was real, and we did “fall apart before too long”. Sadly, Jane and I did break up. And that meant breaking up with her mother too. Margaret Asher was a real mumsy type and, since I’d lost my mum, she had filled that role for me. Now I’d lost a mother for a second time.Paul McCartney – From Paul McCartney on his lyrics: ‘Eroticism was a driving force behind everything I wrote’ | Times2 | The Times – From “The Lyrics” book, 2021
Last updated on October 19, 2021