Today’s music video is You’ll Never Walk Alone from the Musical Carousel, and sung here in this clip by the English band Gerry And The Pacemakers.
This video was posted to You Tube by Liverpool F.C. Armenia
Today’s featured song was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein for their Musical Carousel in 1945. It was recorded over the years by a number of big name artists, but probably the biggest hit came in late 1963 when it was recorded by one of the bands that led the British Invasion, Gerry And The Pacemakers, with their front man Gerry Marsden.
This version has a couple of things about it that make it stand out as an enduring song to this day, and especially this version.
Gerry Marsden was signed up by Brian Epstein at the same time as The Beatles, in early 1963. The band had been around for a few years, and Epstein was looking to build up a stable of artists and bands. Both Gerry’s band and The Beatles came from the same city Liverpool, home of what became known as the Mersey Beat, named after the River that flows through Liverpool.
There were huge plans for the bigger of these two bands, The Beatles, and Gerry’s band was always going to play second fiddle to them, but, surprisingly, Gerry And The Pacemakers became a Monster band and achieved something that The Beatles didn’t, when their first three Singles rocketed to Number One, the first band to achieve this distinction, something not equalled for a further 20+ years.
Gerry And The Pacemaker’s first single was How Do You Do It, a song rejected by the popular singer Adam Faith, and also offered to, and actually recorded by The Beatles. However, The Beatles wanted to release one of their own songs as their first Single, so the Gerry Marsden song was released as that band’s first Single, and it went all the way to Number One, while The Beatles song did not get to Number One.
Gerry’s second song was I like It, which also rocketed up the charts to reach Number One.
Today’s featured song was their third Single and it also made it to Number One giving the band the distinction of having their first three Single releases to reach Number One. In fact, the band almost had their first 4 Singles reach that exalted height when their fourth Single actually looked like it also might reach Number One, before finally stalling at Number 2.
While The Beatles went on to become the Monster band, Gerry And The Pacemakers have this rare distinction of beating The Beatles at their own game at the start, something that Gerry always fondly ribs his good friend Paul McCartney about to this day.
This featured song for today was always a favourite of Gerry’s from when he first heard it as a boy from Carousel, and now, with an established band and two Monster Number One’s backing him up, this was his chance to release his version of this wonderful song.
The timing for the release of this song was actually fortuitous for Gerry as well. It was released in late 1963 as the Football Season started in England.
Now, here, where I mention football, this is actually Soccer. The all covering word ‘football’ covers many codes. In Victoria of Australia, it means Australian Rules Football. In Sydney and Brisbane in Australia, it relates to Rugby League football. In new Zealand and other Countries it relates to Rugby Union football. In the U.S. it relates to football played at the NFL level, so where I say football, that is an all encompassing word, and here it is football in England, which means Soccer, as it is called in most other places to differentiate this version of football from others.
The year this song was released, 1963, saw the resurgence of probably the most famed of all English football clubs, Liverpool, the football club that Gerry Marsden supported as his favourite team.
Gerry actually pitched the song to the club hierarchy on a coach before the song was released, and it provided the germ of an idea for the Club’s management that perhaps they might use the song.
Trying to drum up crowds for their games, and appeal to a wider and younger base, at a time when youth were finding things to do other than the traditional Saturday afternoon at the football, Liverpool FC Management started to play the Top Ten hits from the Hit Parade in the lead up to kick off for their home games at Anfield.
The club was having a good start to the season, and most weeks, they would feature in the main game broadcast live on Radio. This song shot up the charts and was the last song played in the reverse countdown of the Top Ten hits played before the game, and just prior to kick off for the main game, the live radio cross picked up on this song and the crowd, virtually all of them, were singing along with song that was so popular at the time. The same happened every subsequent week, the voices getting louder, so the song became associated with Liverpool Football Club. Even after the song started to fall from Number One, the crowd ignored the played song and sang this one instead at the top of their voices.
Then, when TV started covering the games, a new TV football program, The Big Match covered Liverpool as their first televised game, and again right at the start, just before kick off, the crowd sang this song.
It became associated very quickly with the club, and in fact from that day forward has been the anthem for the club and is sung prior to kick off at every home game for Liverpool.
The title of the song has even been included on the crest for the club, and has also been further immortalised with the addition of this song title over the Shankly gates at the entrance to the club ground at Anfield.
As well as Liverpool, it has now become an anthem for a plethora of clubs all across the World.
To this day, it is still Gerry Marsden’s favourite song, and why wouldn’t it be.
While The Beatles went on to become a Monster band, Gerry And The Pacemakers had a relatively short career as a top flight band, and in fact they split up in 1966 after barely three years.
Those first three songs were their only Number Ones, and while they had four other songs in the Top Ten, they faded quite quickly. They were never much of a hit in the U.S. where their biggest hit was Don’t let The Sun Catch You Crying, which peaked at Number 4 on the National Charts.
Gerry Marsden still does concerts and tours to this day, and always plays this song, far and away his biggest hit, and most probably would not have been such a huge hi without the Liverpool Football Club, and timing.