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#askNat – concerning the silence of Paul McCartney’s former fiancé Jane Asher

This week on #askNat I am responding to a question from Greig Dymond in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who writes:

Dear Nat,

Last night on PBS I saw a fairly recent British sitcom called The Old Guys. Jane Asher had a supporting role. It seems to me that she would be the “holy grail” of Beatles-related interviews, given her relationship with Paul McCartney, the songs she inspired, the fact that Paul lived with her parents for a while, and the songs he gave to her brother, Peter Asher. Do you think she would ever give an interview about her time with Paul? Why has she remained silent all these years? Many thanks for your insights.

Greig Dymond, Toronto

Thanks for your question Greig and yes – that is Jane playing Sally in The Old Guys. A quick review of her filmography over on the IMDb website will show that she has appeared in countless television series, mini-series and movies going all the way back to her childhood. Jane’s earliest film appearance was in the 1952 film The Story of Mandy (the title in the U.K. was simply Mandy) when she was only six years old. Her most recent acting spot was for a couple of episodes in the 2012 comedy series Them From That Thing. Jane’s acting career was likely somewhat encouraged, as her mother was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jane’s younger sister Clare is a radio actress and her older brother Peter Asher is a record producer and one half of the sixties British pop duo Peter And Gordon. Peter and Gordon scored hit singles with a few compositions written by Paul McCartney in the sixties to include “A World Without Love” and “Nobody I Know.”

Acting isn’t the only thing that has kept Jane busy over the years. She has also authored three best selling novels: The Longing, The Question and Losing It. She has written many books concerning lifestyle, costumes and even cake decorating. In fact, she owns a company that makes party cakes and other pastries and sweets for special occasions. There’s more information on her cakes and sugar-crafts at her website, janeasher.com.

On April 18, 1963, The Beatles were performing live at the Royal Albert Hall and although the show was not recorded in it’s entirety, a performance of both “From Me To You” and “Twist And Shout” exist as these two were simulcasted for a live BBC radio broadcast. Jane was commissioned by the Radio Times to attend the show and interview The Beatles. It was there where she met Paul McCartney for the first time. When a photographer asked them to pose together for a picture they began to talk with each other and soon began a relationship that was to last 5 years. Jane was living in London with her parents at the time and by November of that year, Paul, invited by Jane’s mother, moved in with Jane. Several songs written by Paul were inspired by his relationship with her, including “Yesterday,” “And I Love Her” and “You Won’t See Me.” Jane moved into Paul’s new home in St. John’s Wood in 1966 and by 1967 they became engaged. Jane accompanied Paul when The Beatles traveled to India in February 1968 to study transcendental meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. On July 20, 1968 the relationship ended suddenly when Jane allegedly caught Paul in bed with another woman, an American named Francie Schwartz (referred to by Paul as “Franny”). “Franny” denies that she was “caught in the act” with Paul, however a fan has attested to seeing Paul bring “an American girl” home and that later Jane arrived and then stormed out after a few minutes and drove off. Later Jane’s mother arrived to collect her things.

Over the years, Jane has naturally been asked to talk more about her relationship with Paul but she adamantly refuses. “I never talk about that,” Jane has said as recently as a 2007 interview. “Private life is private life.”

 

Paul McCartney & Jane Asher

Paul McCartney & Jane Asher

 

Extra info: In 1971, Jane met illustrator Gerald Scarfe, best known for his artwork on Pink Floyd’s The Wall album and film. They married in 1981 and have a daughter and two sons. Jane is currently the President of Arthritis Care (the U.K.’s largest charity for arthritis) and the National Autistic Society. She is also Vice President to Autistica, another U.K. charity for autism research.

Thanks for a good question, Greig! That’s about all I’ve got. If anyone has anything to add, I welcome your comments below.


Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:

1) There is a designated form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks), but modfied to do both BROW requests and #askNat questions.

2) If you are a Facebook user, you can submit your question right on TheBeatlesRarity FB wall at www.facebook.com/beatlesrarity. If you think about it, try to remember to flag your question with “#askNat”.

3) Similarly, if you are a Google+ user, you can submit your question on TheBeatlesRarity Google+ page at www.gplus.to/beatlesrarity. Google+ supports hashtag searchability so it will be helpful if you preface your question with “#askNat” here too.

4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.


Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, films, literature or music related to this post:

1) Films on Amazon with Jane Asher – Jane Asher on video releases (Blu-Ray, DVD, etc.)

2) Losing It – bestselling novel by Jane Asher

3) The Question – bestselling novel by Jane Asher

4) The Longing – bestselling novel by Jane Asher

5) Jane Asher’s Costume Book – a book on creating over 100 costumes for children or adults by Jane Asher (you don’t need to know how to sew)

6) Jane Asher’s Calendar of Cakes – cakes made by Jane Asher for her celebrity friends

7) Beatles Music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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33 Comments

  • Lou says:

    I have the utmost respect for Jane Asher for keeping their private time together private. Nearly everyone the Beatles ever knew — including some of their own family members — have used the Beatles to cash in. Jane Asher never did. Neither did Neil Aspinell. That’s the sign of a classy person and I hope she never says a word about her time with Paul.

  • George says:

    And kudos to her for not talking. In an age where people think they have the right to be entertained with details of someone else’s private life, it is gratifying to see a person honoring and respecting the trust and confidence of another.

    That’s class.

  • George says:

    Oh, and one should note that McCartney has never broken her trust, either. She also never had reason to worry about her life being disrupted by idle gossip.

  • Andy says:

    Nonetheless, they were certainly quite “sixties-cute” together. Class, though, indeed. Lou mentioned Neil, and George brought it all to light (I hadn’t thought of it like that, but that’s perfect, and it makes the utmost sense). It’s the typical “Family Way” I reckon.

  • We live in SUCH a graceless age. I’m grateful that Jane isn’t a part of the “Kardashian-minded Entertainment Based Society ” lot that’s out there. … And I love her. :)

  • NatashaKinky says:

    It is commendable that she never has spoken of her relationship with Paul.Although I admit I’m curious, I can respect her silence.She obviously is a private person with a lot of self respect.It’s a shame Paul couldn’t keep himself true to her, but it wasn’t meant to be!They were indeed a cute couple!

  • Joan says:

    Paul McCartney has spoken of Jane. He did so in a video interview with his daughter Mary, he did so in a Fame magazine article and in a musician magazine article – just to name a few.

    Jane Asher was recently named one of the 100 Most Beautiful Actresses of All-time.

    She’s actually still stunning. I just her interview with photos in Good Housekeeping mag. UK edition

    • Lou says:

      Well of course he’s spoken of her, when asked. But he hasn’t really said much of anything about her. Which is as it should be.

      They were not meant to be. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I recall an interview with Marianne Faithful where she talked about how they weren’t well-matched as a couple. Sure, they looked gorgeous together. But that doesn’t mean they were compatible. And they both went on to very long happy marriages.

  • Stacia says:

    That reminds me – my local NPR rock station interviewed Peter Asher when he was in town a couple weeks ago. I missed his shows unfortunately, but heard a bit of this on the air.

    http://www.thecurrent.org/feature/2013/01/29/peter_asher_interview

  • Lennonista says:

    When they broke up in 1968, Jane was quoted as saying: “Perhaps we’ll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we’re about 70.” A few years after Linda passed, I was kind of rooting for it to happen…

  • BeatleDan says:

    Didnt she throw a bunch of his song idea’s/lyric sheets away when she was spring cleaning? Maybe thats why they split up! :-)

  • carol says:

    Nice article on Jane. You mentioned the song ‘Yesterday’ as being inspired by Jane. I always thought it was about the passing of his mother.

    • Happy Nat says:

      In no way am I saying it wasn’t Carol. However, I’m giving Jane the obvious credit of influencing Paul’s state of mind at the time he wrote it. As close as they were, and although sometimes in an indirect way, she was an still inspiration to him. Thanks for reading!

  • Clare Kuehn says:

    Luv u Nat. Another reason for Jane’s silence: JohnLennon new repro of drawing. Beatles history revised – John wanted it out: http://youcanknowsometimes.blogspot.ca/2013/03/off-topic-new-paul-is-dead-clue-from.html

  • carol says:

    The photos of the ears are an interesting point. Haven’t heard that one before. But I think ears would look different depending on what angle your head is, the lighting and position of the camera when the photo is taken, and definitely would change as you age as everything else on your body does!

  • carol says:

    Wow Clare, lots of info on your pages! What if Paul had some kind of ear problem and had to have surgery? Might explain the odd appearance.

    • Clare Kuehn says:

      Thanks.

      The bulge is all along; the shadow next to it. They are false. If he had ear surgery and covered up scars, or any kind of surgery and covered up scars, it continued through the early 70s, with other images showing the same.

      Also, the real ears don’t match but are almost NEVER shown in closeup.

      Also, the teeth don’t match (space for the teeth, palatally, not just fixing with dentistry). James Paul had remarkably crunched teeth — small palate. Regular dentistry would not fix, without major surgery and historically we know that wasn’t done: he was not in a head brace for 1 year for cosmetic palate surgery.

      The heights don’t match.

      Etc.
      In fact, though in some angles they gain a similar look, in others they radically diverge8, from late 1966. By early 1968, the filler was better, but the bone structure is still straighter. Point is: you may or may not see it, but he is a 5th Beatle.

      However: fine: maybe he had some weird scars. And wore false ears constantly in the late 60s early 70s to cover it.

    • Clare Kuehn says:

      Oh Nat — sorry. Actually I just saw your comment. Fine. No more. I replied to Carol. I’ll leave it at that. Happy Beatles Love 2 U. Sorry.

  • briligdave says:

    very interesting as always. She clearly sticks to her word “..them’s my private thoughts, Alfie.”

  • R2016 says:

    Well, he didn’t write “Yesterday” about Jane, but he did write it while living in her house. Common misconception.

    • Happy Nat says:

      That’s a fair statement, and I don’t disagree. I don’t really give Jane any actual credit for the song, it’s just when you live with someone over time, certain things about them rub off on you and influence your frame of mind and even your dreams (“Yesterday came from a dream). Frame of mind at the time a song is written is also a big influence in how it turns out. So it’s not necessarily true, but possible, that “Yesterday” could have come out a little differently, if Paul’s environment was different, or if Jane wasn’t around, making her indirectly responsible in a very small way. I don’t think the song is “about” her at all. His mood to write this kind of song may have been influenced by her though – since he was with her, and she was his sweetheart. This is something that you can agree or disagree with, but the truth is that at this point, it’s impossible to know.

  • Clair says:

    Jane and Paul obviously aren’t right for each other in my mind. But that’s just me :)

  • Lili says:

    Jane and Paul forever. Quite honestly, I loved Linda until a few months ago. JaneXPaul all the way, and I still root for them. Thing is, Linda, as much as a great person as she was, was also a pothead, like Paul. Paul needed less insanity, and more stability. Jane offered that; Yet they weren’t together. Oh well. The one that got away ;-;

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