RIP Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers

Monday, January 4, 2021
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Liverpool musician and singer Gerry Marsden sings as he receives the freedom of the city on board the Mersey ferry which he made famous with his song Ferry Across The Mersey on April 20, 2009 in Liverpool, England. Gerry's freedom of the city is in honour of his charitable services to the city and his contribution to Liverpool life. His other hits as part of the band Gerry And The Pacemakers, included You'll Never Walk Alone and I Like It. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty I

Another legend has left the building to join that rock and roll band in heaven: Liverpool's Gerry Marsden, known and loved around the world as the frontman of Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died at the age of 78. According to his family, the singer passed away on Sunday (January 3) after a “after a short illness in no way connected with COVID-19," adding that wife, daughters and grandchildren are "devastated."

Gerry and the Pacemakers emerged from the "Merseybeat" scene with such hits as "Ferry Cross the Mersey" and "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying." The group was legendary for being the first act to hit #1 on the UK Singles Chart with their first three singles: "How Do You Do It?," "I Like It," and "You'll Never Walk Alone," the latter of which went on to become the anthem of the Liverpool Football Club in England. Interestingly enough, that feat would not be achieved again until the group Frankie Goes to Hollywood did the same with "Relax," "Two Tribes," and "The Power of Love." "Relax" came with a cover of Gerry and the Pacemakers' "Ferry Cross the Mersey" as a B-side. It also appeared on their debut album, Welcome to the Pleasuredome.

"Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool," Paul McCartney shared on social media. "He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people’s hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music...My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I’ll always remember you with a smile."

Tony Harlow, CEO, Warner Music UK, shared the following statement:

“All of us at Warner Music UK are very sad to learn that Gerry Marsden, the founder and frontman for Gerry & The Pacemakers, passed away on Sunday following a short illness.

Gerry formed the band in 1959 with his brother Fred, Les Chadwick, and Arthur McMahon (who was replaced by Les Maguire) and for much of the early sixties, the group were integral to the emerging Merseybeat sound that exploded across the globe. After being discovered by Brian Epstein (they were his second signing after The Beatles), they signed a recording contract with EMI/Columbia in 1963. Their catchy vocals and guitar-led songs earned them three consecutive UK number ones that same year with “How Do You Do It?”, “I Like It” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. The band went on to have further success with Gerry’s own compositions “I’m The One”, “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying” and “Ferry Cross the Mersey”. 

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” continues to resonate with fans old and new and, early on in the pandemic, radio stations across Europe chose to play it simultaneously in a show of solidarity around the challenges of COVID-19. And, to this day, it stands as the official anthem of Liverpool FC and Gerry’s distinctive voice can be heard before every home match. Gerry was awarded an MBE in 2003 for his services to charity, including his support for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

Warner Music UK and the whole of the Warner Music Global Catalogue team, send their deepest condolences to his wife Pauline, their two daughters Yvette and Victoria, and his friends and fans around the world.”