Gerry Marsden was seen by The Beatles as one of their main challengers in the early days of Merseybeat in Liverpool. With his group, The Pacemakers, he was signed by Brian Epstein and recorded ‘How Do You Do It’, a song which had been rejected by The Beatles, taking it to the top of the charts in the UK and doing the same with his second record, ‘I Like It’. He became the only person to have topped the UK charts with their first three records when his uniquely emotional version of a ballad from the musical ‘Carousel’ reached Number One in the autumn of 1963.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is still played before every home game at Anfield Stadium, the home of Liverpool Football Club, but those of who were lucky enough to have been there the first time it was played will never forget it.
It was mid-October 1963. We stood on the Kop to watch Bill Shankly’s Liverpool team play against West Bromwich Albion, a team from the Midlands who were nicknamed ‘The Baggies’. It was a historic moment in the rise to glory of Liverpool Football Club.
“And now for our next record.” The voice of the announcer came from the Tannoy high above our heads. “It’s the first time we’ve played this one. Into the Top Ten at Number Seven, it’s Gerry and The Pacemakers with their version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.”
The song could have been written for us. The words carried a message that reached deep into the heart of every single Liverpool supporter. Twenty-five thousand voices on the Kop were united in belief as red and white scarves were held aloft between raised arms. It was the perfect anthem for a crowd.
Gerry and the Pacemakers
The roar as the record came to an end was for Gerry and The Pacemakers. It was for Liverpool Football Club and the mighty Reds. It was for our city. Every one of us knew at that moment that we were part of the greatest football family in the world.
From that day ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was our song. Nobody was going to take it away from us. Ever. A magical genie had been let out of the bottle. Gerry Marsden had stolen the show.
His glorious anthem had transformed Anfield. The Baggies never stood a chance.
Bill Shankly and his mighty Reds were now invincible.
“Ferry ‘Cross The Mersey”
Gerry Marsden continued to live on Merseyside with his wife, Pauline, and their two daughters even after he had achieved international fame. In his self-penned hit song ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ he was clearly speaking from the heart when he sang, “This land’s the place I love; and here I’ll stay.”
He had fallen for Pauline, who ran his fan club, back in the sixties. She had previously been going out with George Harrison, but The Beatles had gone off to play in Hamburg. Gerry was a wonderful raconteur, and he would tell the story of how he spoke to George when The Beatles got home from Hamburg.
“I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you, George. The good news is that while you were away in Germany, I’ve fallen in love. The bad news is it’s with your girlfriend.”
Everyone said Gerry Marsden was a lovely man who remained unaffected by fame. Over the years he raised many millions of pounds for charity, supporting those who had been less fortunate than him in their lives.
“THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING, GERRY.”
“REST IN PEACE”
“YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE”
The story of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at Anfield is taken from the book ‘Blame It On The Beatles … And Bill Shankly’.