The world has lost another great musician:
Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You’ll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of 78.
His family said he died on Sunday after a short illness not linked to Covid-19.
Marsden’s band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in 1963 became the first to have their first three songs top the chart.
But the band’s other best known hit was Ferry Cross The Mersey came in 1964.
It was written by Marsden himself as a tribute to his city, and reached number eight.
Marsden was made an MBE in 2003 for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster. . .
Gerry and the Pacemakers worked the same Liverpool club circuit as The Beatles in the 1960s and were signed by the Fab Four’s manager Brian Epstein.
Epstein gave Marsden’s group the song How Do You Do It, which had been turned down by The Beatles and Adam Faith, for their debut single. . .
While Marsden was a songwriter as well as a singer, his most enduring hit was actually a cover of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number from 1945, that he had to convince his bandmates to record as their third single.
In many interviews over the years, he explained how fate played a part in his band ever recording the song. He was watching a Laurel and Hardy movie at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema in the early 1960s and, only because it was raining, he decided to stay for the second part of a double feature.
That turned out to be the film Carousel – which featured that song on its soundtrack – and Marsden was so moved by the lyrics that he became determined that it should become part of his band’s repertoire. . .
That song topped the charts in 1963. It was often on the radio when I was driving to and from Dunedin Hospital with our baby son in 1987 and listening to it it helped me with those difficult journeys.