My Legends of Pop Music – Part Six – Gerry & The Pacemakers

If I get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands.  I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.

So, in a sort of chronological order, my sixth legends are Gerry & the Pacemakers

You’ll Never Walk Alone” Is not just a song. It’s an anthem for hope, for life, for victory and never give up.  My word we need this in these times of political idiocy.

Some brief notes first, courtesy of Wiki: Gerry & the Pacemakers

Gerry and the Pacemakers were a British beat group prominent in the 1960s Merseybeat scene. In common with The Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein, and were recorded by George Martin.

They were the first act to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart with their first three single releases: “How Do You Do It?“, “I Like It” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone“. This record was not equalled for 20 years, until the mid-1980s success of fellow Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Another of their most famous songs, “Ferry Cross the Mersey“, refers to the River Mersey, which flows past Liverpool.

Gerry Marsden formed the group in 1956 with his brother Fred, Les Chadwick, and Arthur McMahon. They rivalled the Beatles early in their career, playing in the same areas of Hamburg and Liverpool.  McMahon (known as Arthur Mack) was replaced on piano by Les Maguire around 1961. The group’s original name was Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars, but they were forced to change this when the Mars Company, producers of the chocolate Mars bar complained!

The band was the second to sign with Brian Epstein, who later signed them to Columbia Records (a sister label to the Beatles’ label Parlophone under EMI). They began recording in early 1963 with “How Do You Do It?“, a song written by Mitch Murray. The song was produced by George Martin and became a number one hit in the UK, the first by an Epstein-managed Liverpool group to achieve this on all charts. “How Do You Do It?” was also reluctantly recorded by the Beatles (they eventually convinced Martin to let them release their song “Love Me Do” as a single instead).

Gerry Marsden was quoted as saying: The Beatles and ourselves (The Pacemakers) – we let go when we get on-stage. I’m not being detrimental, but in the south, I think the groups have let themselves get a bit too formal. On Merseyside, it’s beat, beat, beat all the way. We go on and really have a ball.

By late 1965, their popularity was rapidly declining on both sides of the Atlantic. They disbanded sometime in early to mid-1967, with much of their later recorded material never released in the UK. Gerry Marsden became a popular cabaret and children’s TV entertainer. He reformed the Pacemakers in 1972 with prominent Liverpool musicians Jose McLaughlin, Billy Kinsley and Pete Clarke.

In April 1973, this second version of the group became the only Merseybeat band to ever record for the John Peel Show on BBC Radio. The tracks from that show have now been included on the album Gerry and the Pacemakers Live at the BBC, released on Parlophone Records in October 2018. Since then, Marsden occasionally toured with various line-ups of the band on the oldies circuit.

Drummer Freddie Marsden died on 9 December 2006 in Southport, age 66.

On 15 March 2017, Gerry Marsden collapsed onstage due to a sore knee while performing at a concert in Newport, Wales. After being helped offstage, Marsden did not return, but was quoted as saying the incident was “nothing serious”.

Gerry Marsden announced his retirement on 29 November 2018, in order to spend more time with family, but, on 6 June 2019, to commemorate Liverpool’s win against Tottenham he surprised Take That fans by singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at their show at Anfield.

Original bass player Les Chadwick died on 26 December 2019.

Gerry Marsden died on 3 January 2021.

A full list of his songs is here:   Discography – Gerry and the Pacemakers

The featured track is “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.

Gerry & The Pacemakers “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” recorded from the Ed Sullivan show

Gerry and the Pacemakers “How Do You Do It” – live version

Gerry & The Pacemakers “I Like It” – again from the Ed Sullivan show

Gerry & The Pacemakers – “I’ll be there” – Live and introduced by Brian Epstein himself.

Gerry The Pacemakers – “Pretend” – Live and some boogie woogie on the keyboards.

Gerry The Pacemakers “Give All Your Love to Me” – lovely song this

Gerry The Pacemakers “Walk hand in hand with me” – Great karaoke song

Gerry and The Pacemakers – Girl On A Swing (Rare HD footage from 1966)

Gerry and The Pacemakers – Live in Canada, 2013 (full uncut show!) 1 hour 11 minutes of joy.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Featured Image: “gerry and the pacemakers, the very best of,” by badgreeb RECORDS – art -photos is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

© Phil the ex test manager 2021