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“We’d thought she was blonde, because we had only ever seen her on black-and-white telly doing Juke Box Jury, but she turned out to be a redhead. So it was: ‘Wow, you’re a redhead!’
“I tried pulling her, succeeded, and we were boyfriend and girlfriend for quite a long time.”
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Jane Asher: Paul McCartney’s first love at 75
Jane Asher: Paul McCartney’s first love at home in 1964
She introduced Paul to a refined world of arts and culture. Her father was a consultant at Central Middlesex Hospital and her mother Margaret was a professor of the oboe at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
John Lennon’s partner Cynthia wrote: “Paul fell like a ton of bricks for Jane.
“The first time I was introduced to her was at her home and she was sitting on Paul’s knee. My first impression of Jane was how beautiful and finely featured she was.
“Her mass of Titian-coloured hair cascaded around her face and shoulders, her pale complexion contrasting strongly with her dark clothes and shining hair.
“Paul was obviously as proud as a peacock with his new lady. For Paul, Jane Asher was a great prize.”
Paul McCartney and Jane Asher with dog Margot in 1967
Paul said: “There were people there and food and a homey atmosphere, and Jane being my girlfriend, it was kind of perfect!”
He wrote And I Love Her there in February 1964, saying: “It was the first ballad I impressed myself with… Having the title start in mid-sentence, I thought that was clever…it was a nice tune, that one. I still like it.
“I can actually see Margaret Asher’s upstairs drawing-room. I remember playing it there.”
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JANE ASHER WITH THE BEATLES AT TEH MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR FILM LAUNCH IN 1967
“I wrote quite a lot of stuff up in that room actually. I’m Looking Through You I seem to remember after an argument with Jane. There were a few of those moments.”
The same year, 1965, he wrote We Can Work It out during a turbulent time with Jane which he admitted “might have been personal.”
Jane Asher The Beatles and their wives at the Rishikesh in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 1968
Paul’s time with her family expanded his artistic horizons and he also took music lessons with Margaret, learning the recorder, which would feature on The Fool On The Hill.
His growing fascination with classical arrangements on Beatles songs like Yesterday or Eleanor Rigby has been directly linked to his time on Wimpole Street and would extend far beyond that into elaborate experimental orchestrations on later Beatles albums.
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Accounts of why Paul and Jane split vary.
One claims she accidentally destroyed a book of lyrics but more likely is the account of her returning early from an acting job to find him in bed with American Francie Schwartz.
She left immediately and Margaret came around to collect all her belongings.
Jane Asher with Michael Caine in Alfie
“I know it sounds corny, but we still see each other and love each other, but it hasn’t worked out. Perhaps we’ll be childhood sweethearts and meet again and get married when we’re about 70.”
Although Paul was having an affair with Schwartz, some accounts claim he was surprised and that they hadn’t formally discussed the split themselves.
However, he has always spoken extremely highly of Jane and accepted responsibility for what happened.
Jane Asher with husband Gerald Scarfe in 2016
Jane Asher built a hugely successful cake business
“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.”
Jane Asher starred in An American In Paris in 2017
Jane found love in 1971 with famous illustrator Gerald Scarfe. They married in 1981 and have three children, Katie, Alexander and Rory.
As well as continuing with her acting career to this day, Jane, of course, found new fame with her cake business Jane Asher Cakes which she launched in 1990.