Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

GERRY and the PACEMAKERS

UK Merseybeat group. Lineup: Gerry Marsden (b 24 Sep. '42), vocals; Les Maguire (b 27 Dec. '41), piano; Les Chadwick (b 11 May '43), bass; Freddie Marsden (b 23 Nov. '40), drums: all b Liverpool except Maguire, from nearby Wallasey. Gerry and Freddie passed through skiffle groups (e.g. Mars Bars), gigged in Hamburg with Chadwick, added Maguire on return: second group after Beatles signed by Brian Epstein. Rock'n'roll background evident in albums (e.g. first, How Do You Like It? '63); singles focused on Gerry's ever-sunny disposition. Made history as first act to have no. 1 singles with first three releases: 'How Do You Do It?' and 'I Like It' (both written by Mitch Murray), syrupy and untypical Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'You'll Never Walk Alone', now a soccer anthem (all '63, all prod. by George Martin). 'I'm The One' no. 2, 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying' no. 6 '64; the last their first and biggest USA hit at no. 4 '65 (seven top 40 singles in USA altogether, nine in UK). First USA chart album called Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying; Second Album less successful; Ferry Cross The Mersey was soundtrack of film '65, with nine of twelve songs written by the group; title song was no. 8 UK/6 USA, last top ten entry. Gerry went solo '67; starred with Anna Neagle in Charlie Girl on West End stage, went on children's TV; re-formed Pacemakers occasionally for revival shows, recorded LP of Lennon/McCartney songs (ironically: 'How Do You Do It?' was first recorded, then rejected, by Beatles as follow-up to first hit 'Love Me Do'). Marsden regarded himself as an all-round entertainer, but some LP tracks plus only known live record (EP Gerry In California '65) hint at raunchy rocker behind toothsome exterior. Carried on working cabaret; back in news '83 when another Liverpool group Frankie Goes to Hollywood equalled record of three consecutive chart-toppers (first, 'Relax', had cover of 'Ferry Cross The Mersey' on flip); then re-cut 'You'll Never Walk Alone' '85 with show-biz friends as the Crowd to raise money for families of victims of horrific fire at Bradford City Football Club: record made no. 1.