Gerry Marsden (September 24, 1942 – January 3, 2021) was an English musician and television personality, best known for being leader of the Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers.
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.
Gerry 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.
Gerard Marsden MBE was born in Toxteth, Liverpool, to Frederick Marsden and Mary McAlindin. His interest in music began at an early age and he remembered standing on top of an air-raid shelter singing “Ragtime Cowboy Joe,” and getting a great reception from onlookers.
Gerry Marsden’s band Gerry and the Pacemakers was the second group signed by legendary Beatles manager Brian Epstein, and remained among his favourite artists. Their first single was “How Do You Do It,” which was recommended to them by George Martin after it was initially given to the Beatles, was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, released on EMI’s Columbia label, and was their first number one hit.
Gerry and the Pacemakers second number one was “I Like It”, followed by “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Other singles included “It’s Gonna Be Alright”, “I’m the One”, “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” and “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.
After leaving Gerry and the Pacemakers, Gerry Marsden had a low-key career on television, and starred in the London Theatre musical “Charlie Girl” alongside Derek Nimmo and Anna Neagle.
Gerry Marsden returned to number 1 in the charts twice during the 1980s with charity re-recordings of two of his old hits. In 1985 after the Bradford Football Club stadium tragedy in which 56 football fans were killed, he formed a group called the Crowd to produce a new version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” On 18 April 1989, three days after the Hillsborough football disaster in which 96 Liverpool Football Club fans ultimately died as a result of their injuries, he joined forces with Sir Paul McCartney, the Christians, Holly Johnson and record production trio Stock, Aitken & Waterman on a new version of “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.
In 1993, Gerry Marsden published his autobiography, “I’ll Never Walk Alone”, which was co-written with former Melody Maker magazine editor Ray Coleman.
In 2003, Gerry Marsden was made Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services supporting the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
In September 2003, Marsden had triple bypass heart surgery at Broad Green Hospital in Liverpool, and in 2016 had a second heart operation. Gerry announced his retirement in November 2018.
Gerry Marsden died on January 3, 2021 at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, aged 78, following a heart infection.
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