Gerry Marsden has died (September 24, 1942 to January 3, 2021). He was the singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers who had many hits in the 1960s as part of the “British invasion” (see the comments). They didn’t “ride the Beatles’ coattails”, the two bands came side by side out of Liverpool. The Pacemakers had six top ten hits, including three #1s.
“How Do You Do What You Do To Me?” was their first single, and a #1 hit.
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” (a Rodgers and Hammerstein song) was released in 1963, and Liverpool football fans adopted it as their anthem, even moreso after the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989. Other clubs around the world have adopted it, and others have used it in solidarity elsewhere.
“Ferry Cross The Mersey” was a huge hit in 1964, about the Mersey River and the Merseyside area. I’ve never been there, but my “parents” were both Scouses, so I grew up hearing about it.
“Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” was another hit, a memorable song about loss and optimism.
From The Guardian’s obituary:
Gerry Marsden, the lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers, known for hits including You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey, has died at 78 after a short illness.
He shot to fame in the 1960s as the leader of the Merseybeat band at a time when Liverpool was the centre of the musical universe.
Marsden’s family said in a statement on Sunday: “Gerry died earlier today after a short illness in no way connected with Covid-19. His wife, daughters and grandchildren are devastated.”
He went into hospital on Boxing Day after tests showed he had a serious blood infection that had travelled to his heart. His daughter Yvette Marbeck told the PA news agency: “My sister Vicky and myself have always been very, very proud of Dad … He was our hero, wonderful.”
She added: “It was a very short illness and too quick to comprehend really. And his heart has taken some battering over the years. He had a triple bypass, an aortic valve replacement and ironically he also had a pacemaker.
The Pacemakers topped the British charts in 1963 with their first three singles, How Do You Do It?, I Like It and You’ll Never Walk Alone, a Rodgers and Hammerstein composition from the musical Carousel. The song became the anthem of Liverpool FC, sung from the Kop at every game. The club tweeted: “It is with such great sadness that we hear of Gerry Marsden’s passing. Gerry’s words will live on forever with us. You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
Paul McCartney is among many who offered condolences:
My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I’ll always remember you with a smile. – Paul
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) January 3, 2021
By happenstance, it was ten years ago today, January 4, 2011, that Scottish singer Gerry Rafferty died (born April 16, 1947). “Baker Street” was his biggest hit, and the album “City To City” (youtube playlist) sold five million copies. It’s complete album of ten good songs, listenable beginning to end.
Rafferty was also with Stealers Wheel, co-writing “Stuck In The Middle With You” and other hits. Younger people know the song from the movie “Reservoir Dogs”, but I grew up with it on the radio.
Aaaaaand one more so I don’t have to write another music post about a missed birthday:
David Gates turned 80 last month (December 11, 1940). He was one of the soft rock kings of the early 1970s, with the group Bread and as a solo artist. His hits include “If”, “Goodbye Girl”, “Guitar Man”, “Everything I Own” and many others.
“Bread’s Greatest Hits” (youtube link)
“Goodbye Girl” (solo)