A Rockapaedia Obituary
Gerry Marsden died aged seventy-eight on 3rd January 2021 at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside, after being diagnosed with a blood infection in his heart.
Gerry was not survived by his older brother, Freddie, who co-founded and played drums in Gerry and the Pacemakers and who died in 2006. He was, however, survived by a wife, Pauline, and two daughters, Yvette and Victoria.
Gerry Marsden was born at in Toxteth, Liverpool and his interest in music began at an early age. He remembered standing on top of an air-raid shelter singing "Ragtime Cowboy Joe", and getting a great reception from onlookers.
Gerry and the Pacemakers formed in nineteen fifty-nine and they were the second group signed by manager Brian Epstein after his first being the Beatles, and remained among his favourite artists. Their first single was "How Do You Do It?" in nineteen sixty-three which was recommended by George Martin after it was initially offered to the Beatles. This was the first number one hit for the Pacemakers and it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and was released on EMI's Columbia label.
Gerry and the Pacemakers second number one was "I Like It", followed by "You'll Never Walk Alone", both released later in 1963. The group's 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", all released in 1964. A musical film, Ferry Cross the Mersey, considered to be their version of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night, was co-written by Coronation Street creator and writer Tony Warren, and was released in 1965.
The Pacemakers disbanded in October 1966 and after leaving the group, Gerry Marsden maintained a low-key career on television, including a regular slot on children's television in The Sooty Show. He also starred in the West End musical 'Charlie Girl' alongside Derek Nimmo and Anna Neagle, replacing another pop singer, Joe Brown. A new song, "Liverpool", was added to the score to tie in with Gerry Marsden's Liverpool accent.
Gerry Marsden returned to number one in the charts twice during the 1980s with re-recordings of two of his old hits, with all profits going to charity. In 1985 after the Bradford Football Club stadium tragedy in which 56 people were killed, he formed a group called the Crowd, which included other musicians, singers, and radio disc jockeys, to produce a new version of "You'll Never Walk Alone".
On 18th April 1989, three days after the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool Football Club fans died, he joined forces with Paul McCartney, the Christians, Holly Johnson, and his 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, co-written with former Melody Maker editor Ray Coleman. In 1990, he recorded the song "Red White and Blue", with The England Supporters Club. Then in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he released a version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" in tribute to the National Health Service.