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Gerry & The Pacemakers

As unfathomable as it seems from the distance of over 40 years, for a few months, Gerry & the Pacemakers were the Beatles' nearest competitors in Britain. Managed (like the Beatles) by Brian Epstein, Gerry Marsden and his band burst out of the gate with three consecutive number one U.K. hits in 1963, "How Do You Do It," "I Like It," and "You'll Never Walk Alone." If the Beatles defined Merseybeat at its best in early 1963, Gerry & the Pacemakers defined the form at its most innocuous, performing bouncy, catchy, and utterly lightweight tunes driven by rhythm guitar and Marsden's chipper vocals. Compared to the Beatles and other British Invasion heavies, they sound quaint indeed. That's not to say the group was trivial; its hits were certainly likable and energetic and are fondly remembered today, even if the musicians lacked the acumen (or earthy image) to develop their style from its relentlessly upbeat and poppy base.

Marsden formed the group in the late '50s featuring himself on guitar and lead vocals, his brother Fred on drums, Les Chadwick on bass, and Arthur Mack on piano (to be replaced in 1961 by Les Maguire). They worked the same Liverpool/Hamburg circuit as the Beatles, and ran neck and neck with their rivals in local popularity. They were signed by Epstein in mid-1962 (the first band to do so besides the Beatles), and began recording for the EMI/Columbia label in early 1963, under the direction of producer George Martin. Their first single was a Mitch Murray tune that Martin had wanted the Beatles to record for their debut, "How Do You Do It?" The Beatles did record a version (found on the Anthology 1 release), but objected to its release, finding it too sappy, and in any case were more interested in recording their own, gutsier original compositions. It suited Marsden's grinning, peppy style well, though, and went to number one before it was displaced from the top spot by the Beatles' third 45, "From Me to You."

The Pacemakers would never vary much from the clattering guitar-dominated pop of their first singles, turning again to Mitch Murray for the follow-up, "I Like It," and remaking an old pop standard for their next effort, "You'll Never Walk Alone." It's not universally known that Gerry Marsden actually wrote much of the band's material, and he penned most of their subsequent hits, including "It's All Right" (their gutsiest and best performance) and "I'm the One." He also wrote "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'" (sharing credits with the rest of the group) and "Ferry Cross the Mersey," ballads that Martin embellished with light string arrangements, which may (or may not) have helped prepare the producer for deploying strings on Beatles tracks starting in 1965.

Like the Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers got to star in their own film, Ferry Cross the Mersey, although this wasn't nearly as successful as A Hard Day's Night. By 1965, in fact, their popularity in Britain was seriously declining, although they held on a bit longer in the States, where (in common with several other groups) some of their back catalog belatedly made the hit parade many months after it was first issued in the U.K. Like virtually all of the other Liverpool groups, the Pacemakers proved unable to evolve on the same plane as the Beatles or the best other British bands. Never the hippest of acts image-wise, with their conservative suits and short hair, they were rapidly becoming outdated, sticking to the same basic feel-good formula that had seemed fresh in 1963, but was utterly passé by 1966. That's the year they had their last American Top 40 hit, "Girl on a Swing"; they disbanded in October. Gerry Marsden became a popular cabaret and children's TV entertainer, sometimes performing with the Pacemakers on the oldies circuit. He also contributed vocals to British chart-topping revivals (not with the Pacemakers) of "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "Ferry Cross the Mersey" in the 1980s. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: You'll Never Walk Alone (The Emi Years 1963 -1966)

Disc 1

1. How Do You Do It?

2. Away From You

3. It's Happened To Me

4. I Like It

5. Pretend

6. Jambalaya

7. Summertime

8. The Wrong Yo Yo

9. I'll Be There (First Version)

10. Slow Down

11. Here's Hoping

12. Where Have You Been All My Life?

13. Maybelline

14. You'll Never Walk Alone

15. Don't Ever Stray

16. Hello Little Girl

17. Don't You Ever

18. It's All Right

19. You Can't Fool Me

20. A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues

21. You're The Reason

22. Chills

23. I'm The One

24. You've Got What I Like

25. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

26. Show Me That You Care

27. She's The Only Girl For Me

28. Why Oh Why

29. Think About Love

30. I'll Be There (2nd Version - No Strings)

31. Give Me All Your Love (No Strings)

32. Come Back To Me (No Strings)

Disc 2

1. Ferry Cross The Mersey

2. It's Gonna Be Alright

3. I'll Wait For You

4. Fall In Love

5. Baby You're So Good To Me

6. This Thing Called Love

7. My Love Forever

8. It's Just Because

9. Rip It Up

10. Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

11. When Oh When

12. What'd I Say

13. I'll Be There (2nd Single Version)

14. My Babe

15. Skinny Minnie

16. It'll Be Me

17. Reelin' And Rockin'

18. You Win Again

19. I Count The Tears

20. You You You

21. Now I'm Alone

22. Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Live)

23. My Babe (Live)

24. Away From You (Live)

25. What'd I Say (Live)

26. Give Me All Your Love (With Strings)

27. Come Back To Me (With Strings)

28. Dreams

Disc 3

1. Hallelujah I Love Her So

2. Tomorrow

3. I'll Make It All Up To You

4. Walk Hand In Hand

5. Today I'm In Love

6. La La La

7. Without You

8. Girl On A Swing

9. The Way You Look Tonight

10. Fool To Myself

11. The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine

12. On A Wonderful Day Like Today

13. Tonight

14. Strangers In The Night

15. Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)

16. See You In September

17. Pretty Flamingo

18. The End Of The Rainbow

19. Guantanamera

20. Looking For My Life

21. Anyone At All

22. Introduction (Live)

23. Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Live)

24. I Like It (Live)

25. My Babe

26. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying (Live)

27. Slow Down (Live)

28. I'm The One (Live)

29. Away From You (Live)

30. A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues (Live)

31. How Do You Do It (Live)

32. What'd I Say (Live)

Disc 4

1. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

2. Ferry Cross The Mersey

3. It's Gonna Be Alright

4. This Thing Called Love

5. Reelin' And Rockin'

6. Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

7. Rip It Up

8. You Win Again

9. I'll Be There (2nd Version)

10. You You You

11. Give Me All Your Love (New Mix)

12. Dreams

13. Hallelujah I Love Her So

14. I'll Make It All Up To You

15. Walk Hand In Hand

16. Today I'm In Love

17. La La La

18. Without You

19. Girl On A Swing

20. The Way You Look Tonight

21. A Fool To Myself

22. The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine

23. On A Wonderful Day Like Today

24. Tonight

25. Strangers In The Night: Fremde In Der Nacht

26. Who Can I Turn To

27. See You In September

28. Pretty Flamingo

29. The End Of The Rainbow

30. Guantanamera

31. Looking For My Life

x

Track List: Introduction To Gerry & The Pacemakers

1. Ferry Cross The Mersey

2. I Like It

3. You'll Never Walk Alone

4. How Do You Do It?

5. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

9. I'll Be There

10. She's The Only Girl For Me

12. Unchained Melody

x

Track List: A's, B's & EP's

1. How Do You Do It?

2. Away From You

3. I Like It

4. It's Happend To Me

5. You'll Never Walk Alone

6. Jambalaya

7. Chills

8. Shot Of Rhythm And Blues

9. I'm The One

10. You've Got What I Like

11. You Can't Fool Me

12. Don't You Ever

13. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

14. Show Me That You Care

15. Summertime

16. Where Have You Been All My Life

17. It's Gonna Be Alright

18. Maybellene

19. Ferry Cross The Mersey

20. You You You

21. I'll Be There

22. Baby You're So Good To Me

23. Walk Hand In Hand

24. Dreams

x

Track List: The Best Of Gerry & The Pacemakers: The Definitive Collection

1. How Do You Do It?

2. Away From You

3. I Like It

4. It's Happened To Me

5. Pretend

6. Hello Little Girl

7. You'll Never Walk Alone

8. It's All Right

9. You're The Reason

10. I'm The One

11. You've Got What I Like

12. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying

13. Show Me That You Care

14. It's Gonna Be Alright

15. It's Just Because

16. Ferry Cross The Mersey

17. You You You

18. I'll Wait For You

19. I'll Be There

20. Give All Your Love To Me

21. Walk Hand In Hand

22. Dreams

23. La La La

24. Girl On A Swing

25. Fool To Myself

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Gerry and the Pacemakers version of "Youll Never Walk Alone " is superbly sublime.
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In 63 I was only 10 but I still love them now as much as then...
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Saw them in San Diego i I think 1965. I loved them then and still do. They are simply the best.
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Never let the sun catch you crying
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Serenity in those recordings.
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Feel good music which we need more
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Yes, they put out some really great tunes & not enough recognition for their very wonderful & magical talents
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I believe. It was summer of 63 played constantly by the pool I was 13 loved this group.
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I just love their music!
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Not enough recognition for this band. I understand they never really evolved like the Beatles. but they have some of the very best songs at a time when when many amazing other all time classics came out. Magic stuff, magic vocals and song writing. Wish I grew up in the sixties! 38 but love it!
Report as inappropriate
We don't care what your name is boy we will never turn you away so ferry cross the Mersey
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My very first album I ever bought.
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hjohnalva
great group will always stand test of time
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Magic great memories !!!thxsGerry 40yr strong!!!!!!
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pablit.dumal o
you are right Deb.. lots of memories..
Report as inappropriate
Always makes me think back in time and smile.
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One of the greatest voices in music.
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alanfrankel3 5 5 1
Pure joy
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t_heath
These guys were really fun to listen to, and they still are
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Still sounds so good after all these years!!
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Where HAVE you been ?
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I adore them and their music. Great group great music. My favorites of theirs has always been Ferry Cross the Mercey and Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin, (great advice). But again I love ALL their music!!
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allen_ladd_s c
This song -- 50 years golden.
Report as inappropriate
Gerry Marsden great vocal great song!
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Saw them live in the UK-great memory
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love this song
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Greatest songs raised up listening born 1946
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mfisher1249
Oh why not some silliness from such a light time!
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I love the house of the rising sun
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1185649676
I always thought it was Gerry Rafferty head of the Pacemakers.
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ccaltevogt
I LOVE Gerry and the Pacemakers, and I'm 11!!
Report as inappropriate
Gerry and Pacemaker were better vocal group that the Beatles they just not gain popularity in Britain or the world
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YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE!
Report as inappropriate
lsicklertock
The author is pretty dismissive in their bio, but they were a major force in pop music and a big part of the British Invasion. So didn't Gerry get a bunch of royalties when 'Ferry 'Cross the Mersey' was the B side of Frankid Goes to Hollywood's 'Relax'?
Report as inappropriate
zydecomark
Well done Gerry...!
Report as inappropriate
Smart guy - Gerry Marsden held onto the publishing rights. Dave Clark did the same and they both very wealthy as a result.
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tstanton618
Well, did he stay at the Ferry?
Report as inappropriate
awilliamson2 6
don't let the sun catch you crying,one of best songs ever.
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I just Luv this group\, Gary Mardsen has a great voice, and this is a great Luv making song!!!!
Report as inappropriate
They were right up there with all of the other BRITISH GROUPS!
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kkatlake
They will always be one of the great 60's groups; I love their easy listening music!
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They don't make 'em like this anymore
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mlstax
They''ll never be outdated to me. I still enjoy them.
Report as inappropriate
kpalmer64
A classic and classy group!
Report as inappropriate
iluvmccartne y
The best song by Gerry and the Pacemakers is Don't Let the Sun Catch You Cryin'.
Report as inappropriate
Ahhhh.....sw e e t memories.
Report as inappropriate
gypsyinlb
Still love them after all these years.
Report as inappropriate
rwitman21
Fun music and a great reminder that The Beatles didn't spring fully formed into the pop charts, or that they were the whole of Liverpool's music scene. In fact, my boss is a Yorkshirewom a n who was working as a nurse in the Dingle(the slum where Ringo grew up) back then, and we still give her grief for admitting that, at the time, she and her friends thought The Pacemakers would be the big breakout band, not The Fab Four.
Report as inappropriate
Wow, Gerry and the Pacemakers.. . . . w h a t a sound. My fav, "You'll Never Walk Alone"....wh a t a wonderful cover of that song! Gerry will be sorely missed, but his sound will live on forever. Wow!
Report as inappropriate
stevef1112
well, who'da thunk it?
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