News

Gerry Marsden dies aged 78

The world bids farewell to the Liverpool pop legend

Gerry Marsden, of 1960’s Merseybeat group Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died after a short illness.

Like The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers were managed by Brian Epstein and actually did better than the Fab Four initially, chalking up three UK number one hits from their first three singles.

Their debut was ‘How Do You Do It?’ – which was ultimately rejected by The Beatles, because they wanted to write their own material (it can be heard on Anthology 1) – and the third 45, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ became an anthem for Liverpool Football Club.

In 1984 another Liverpool band, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, matched this achievement of three number ones from their first three singles and even covered another Gerry and the Pacemakers’ single, ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’, for the 12-inch of their debut, ‘Relax’.

Gerry and the Pacemakers split up in 1967, although reformed with an altered line-up in 1972, but the band’s achievements in the early sixties assured them, and Gerry himself, of legendary status.

23 responses to Gerry Marsden dies aged 78

  1. Howard Keese says:

    One of my favorite bands as a kid in the U.S. I have nothing but pleasant memories of listening to his music. Always loved “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” and “Ferry Across The Mersey”.

    • Woodsey Niles says:

      I share your memories of that era. I love those songs too. To me Marsden was the voice of the 1960s British Invasion. He sounded like England.

  2. Greg H. says:

    Very sad to read today about Gerry’s passing. The music of Gerry and the Pacemakers is as moving to me now as when it was originally released. I was backstage with the Searchers doing photos for an article when Gerry came in the room for a conversation with the band…without a doubt, an absolute thrill for me-especially since this was in the US.

  3. Stuart S says:

    My earliest memory of Gerry was probably when working with Sooty!

    RIP Gerry

    YNWA.

  4. Frank C says:

    I always loved his performance – back/forth with Chuck Berry – on “The TAMI Show”.
    Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

  5. Seanl says:

    Nice tribute Paul to a guy who was a real gent and will be forever be fondly remembered as part of the Mersey beat scene.
    YNWA

  6. Dennis Mosen says:

    Farewell legend done some magical records timeless songs you’ll never walk alone will still be playing in 50 years anthem better than this rubbish these so called pop stars are putting out today thanks for memories Gerry rip

  7. Hedley says:

    Paul

    A lovely touch to remember Gerry Marsden and his chums the Pacemakers.

    For those interested in that period in the early 60s or are just nostalgic for Friday evenings with Keith Fordyce and Cathy McGowan, I cannot recommend highly enough the recent Andy Neill publication – “Ready, Steady, Go! The Weekend Starts Here: The Definitive Story of the Show That Changed Pop”

    It was a time when the control of music was prised away from the BBC and the very distant evening broadcasts from Radio Luxembourg. Gerry made it on to the show, Cliff Richard did not. From the Kingsway and on to Wembley, RSG and artists such as Gerry Marsden ignited musical influences on a very willing audience. The Stones, the Who the Small Faces, Dusty, the Motown Review . RSG was here, the pirates were coming

    Rest in peace Gerry and thank you

  8. MelodicMusicIsTheBestMusic says:

    Very sad about Gerry Marsden RIP…as well as having Brian Epstein as their manager they also had George Martin producing their songs so another Beatles connection there.
    Exactly 10 years ago today 4th January 2011 we lost another Gerry the legend that was the singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty.
    Anyone who’s into their classic American rock might not know that Alto Reed (born Thomas Neal Cartmell0) died of colon cancer 30th December aged 72 a legendary saxophonist in Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band and had toured and been an integral part of the band since 1972…RIP Alto.

  9. Colin Harper says:

    A good fellow gone. I’ve always been intrigued by Gerry’s guitar position – in his 60s heyday it was practically up around his neck – a really naff look. In later years, he played it in a ‘normal’ position, level with the hips. I wonder when he decided on the change?

    As an aside, it’s (Mahavishnu) John McLaughlin’s birthday today (79).

  10. CDM says:

    Gerry’s self-composed ‘Don’t let the sun catch you crying’, released as a single in April 1964, was arguably as sophisticated as anything the Fab 4 had issued at that moment in time with George Martin’s subtle arrangement. Paul Carrack’s cover version is worth hearing. Along with ‘Ferry’, Gerry composed two classic songs which will be forever remembered.

  11. kid992 says:

    Glad you put this up Paul. Of course Merseybeat groups were always slightly overshadowed by you know who. We did have to wait a long time to hear The Beatles version of “How Do You Do It?”. It had been said before the Anthology that it was an unenthusiastic version I merely thought it was a different take, but Gerry’s was the better version. But then the Beatles version of Arthur Alexander’s “Anna Go To Him” was better than Gerry’s version of Arthur Alexander’s “Where Have You Been All My Life” ( but nothing beats the original of that amazing song)

    They were all listening to the same stuff. I think the Liverpool fans sang “She Loves You” on the terraces(see YouTube) before they ever sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” So Gerry won there as well. I remember reading about Bruce Reynolds saying how they all sang along to “I Like It” on the radio as they counted out a million pounds in their hide out.

    “You’ll Never Walk Alone” of course is sung around the world. Steven Gerard was quite clearly taken aback by the sight of 95000 people singing the song at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. To write a love song to your hometown as good as “Ferry Cross The Mersey” is very special(FGTH version is terrific as well).

    Great man great songs

  12. David Ratchford says:

    Sad sad news ! Thank s alot Gerry . Rip matey !!

  13. David Rubin says:

    I met Gerry at a Beatles Fest a few years ago and he was a real human being. Nice, friendly, talked up a storm. A real nice guy. He songs will live on with “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Ferry Cross The Mersey”.
    He will be missed.

    I think you missed a passing. Len Barry of The Dovells passed away on Nov. 5th. The big hits were The Bristol Stomp and 1-2-3. Great songs.

    So sad as we get older and love this music more and more, our true hero’s seem to pass much faster than we ever thought. And the saddest part is wondering who will be next.

    I MISS THEM ALL

    • Woodsey Niles says:

      “Ferry Across the Mersey” was the first song that conjured up romantic images of England in my adolescent American mind at the time. Between this song and the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” I fell in love with everything English and was ready to move to Carnaby Street. I knew nothing of the grim, industrial, post WW2 areas of England. I thought it was all winding rivers, pastoral landscapes, fish & chips and the legend of Stonehenge.

      The baby boomers are the first generation to have to collectively mourn the passing of its rock & roll heroes. I’m afraid it started long ago. We’ve lost the great Little Richard but God bless Jerry Lee Lewis. May he live to be 100. He’s the last of a dying generation.

  14. Craig Hedges says:

    Rest in peace Gerry

  15. Chris Squires says:

    The post about streaming / charts, I felt, was rather apt when this sad news came out. Doing the treble when the treble mattered.

    I remember when they were on Noel’s Christmas Presents and the Pacemakers had set up in someone’s back garden to play a concert for a big fan who had sacrificed a lot to help his extended family, including of course the man’s brother…. It was a lovely piece of TV schmaltz and where my wife first coined the phrase that she “wouldn’t open the curtains if Rod Stewart was playing in the garden”…..

    Doing what matters, when it matters is a mark of a legend.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Haha I like that phrase!

    • Fogarrach says:

      That is all very well,

      But what would you say if you saw joe pasquale in your garden?

    • Kevin from Edinburgh says:

      Hi Chris,

      I remember that show, but think it was the Hollies (‘He ain’t heavy…..’). Maybe they did that twice, with different acts! Noel’s parties are a while ago now.

      As for Gerry…..well, I’m 55 now, so he’s been around my whole life. He seemed a really nice, ‘genuine’ sort of bloke. Someone else I never knew, and whose recordings I don’t own, but in a way, I’ll miss him. RIP.

      • Chris Squires says:

        Checks internet….. checks brain, (takes longer) dang. You are right. How the brain plays tricks. Spent my life remembering it was Gerry. Wonder who was lead that day then…

        slinks off in shame……..

    • Happy Man says:

      If I saw Gerry in my back garden I’d hand him a glass of Champagne. Like losing another part part of my youth. Moving and sad.

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