Gerry & The Pacemakers Biography

Gerry Marsden (Gerard Marsden, 24 September 1942, Liverpool, Lancashire, England; guitar/vocals), Freddie Marsden (b. Frederick John Marsden, 23 October 1940, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, d. 9 December 2006, Southport, Lancashire, England; drums) and Les Chadwick (b. John Leslie Chadwick, 1 May 1943, Liverpool, Lancashire, England; bass) formed the original Pacemakers in 1959. Two years later they were joined by Les Maguire (b. Leslie Charles Maguire, 27 December 1941, Wallasey, Cheshire, England; piano) and having completed highly successful spells in German beat clubs, became the second group signed to Brian Epstein’s management stable. The effervescent ‘How Do You Do It’, rejected as unsuitable by the Beatles, gave the more pliant Pacemakers a number 1 hit. Further chart-toppers ‘I Like It’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ (both 1963) followed in quick succession, earning the group the distinction of becoming the first act to have their first three releases reach number 1. The latter song, taken from the musical Carousel, was later adopted as the anthem of Liverpool Football Club.

Although the group’s sole UK album revealed a penchant for R&B, their singles often emphasized Gerry Marsden’s cheeky persona. The exceptions included two excellent in-house compositions ‘Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying’ (1964) and ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ (1965), the theme song to the Pacemakers’ starring film. A follow-up release, ‘I’ll Be There’, was the quartet’s final Top 20 entry and in 1967 Gerry embarked on a solo career. He remained a popular figure in television and on the cabaret circuit, but regained the national spotlight in 1985 following the Bradford City Football Club fire tragedy, when a charity recording, credited to the Crowd and featuring an all-star cast, took a new version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ to the top of the UK chart for the second time. Another re-recording of an earlier hit for charity, ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’, this time for the victims of the Hillsborough crowd disaster, involving supporters of Liverpool FC in 1989, reached number 1. Gerry Marsden is still very active gigging with various versions of the Pacemakers.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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