Peter Asher and Gordon Waller formed their duo in the early 1960s and were part of the Sixties British Invasion of American. They were school friends at Westminster, one of the top private schools in Britain. Peter and his sister Jane Asher were child actors in the 1950s, notably for appearing as siblings in an episode of the TV series The Adventures of Robin Hood. Jane dated Paul McCartney, and that liaison turned out to be good fortune for Peter and Gordon.
The story behind the song goes something like this. It was written years before by a 16-year-old Paul McCartney and is now credited to Lennon-McCartney. John Lennon, for some reason, was always amused by the first line, which is “Please lock me away.” But he did not care enough about the rest of it to make it a Beatles song. Anyway, in 1963, Paul was then 21 and staying at the home of Jane Asher, his girlfriend at the time. Paul shared a room with her brother Peter Asher. The Beatles did not want the song. Paul offered it to Billy J. Kramer, who rejected it. Paul then gave Peter and Gordon the song. They released it as their first single backed “If I Were You,” which they had written. “A World Without Love” sky-rocketed to #1 in the U.K. and U.S. on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts in 1964. It is on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.” There have been numerous covers, including versions by The Supremes, Del Shannon, Bobby Rydell, and Terry Black.