- 04 Jan 21
“My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I’ll always remember you with a smile. – Paul”
Paul McCartney has led a number of tributes paid to his long-time friend and fellow Merseyside singer Gerry Marsden, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 78.
Marsden's band Gerry and the Pacemakers were behind hits 'You’ll Never Walk Alone', 'Ferry Cross The Mersey', 'I’ll Be There', 'How Do You Do It?' and 'I Like It', died hospital over the weekend.
He played the same Liverpool/Hamburg music club circuit as McCartney in the Beatles and numerous other groups during the early 1960s.
“Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool," McCartney tweeted. "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."
Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool. 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... pic.twitter.com/t1COAIwZVM
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) January 3, 2021
Former Beatle Ringo Starr also paid tribute to Marsden, and sent “peace and love” to all his family.
'You’ll Never Walk Alone' became a football anthem for Marsden's home club of Liverpool, and has remained hugely emotive to the fans ever since. Oscar Hammerstein II originally wrote the song, which was composed by Richard Rodgers for their musical Carousel - released in the USA in 1945.
Kenny Dalglish, who was Liverpool’s manager at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, tweeted:
“Saddened to hear the news of Gerry Marsden’s passing today. 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' is an integral part of Liverpool Football Club, and never more so than now. RIP Gerry, our thoughts are with Pauline and his family.”
Marsden went into hospital on St Stephen's Day after tests showed he had a serious blood infection that had travelled to his heart. Marsden had suffered previous heart scares including a triple bypass, an aortic valve replacement, and he also had a pacemaker.
His daughter Yvette Marbeck told the PA news agency:
“My sister Vicky and myself have always been very, very proud of dad. He has always been a good man. He had his feet on the ground. He made us laugh every single day. He was our hero, wonderful.”
Singer-songwriter Elvis Costello posted a link to the song 'Away From You', commenting:
“I was saddened by Gerry Marsden’s passing. His voice will always lead the way at Anfield, in times of celebration or lament. YNWA. He (and his brother, Freddie) wrote some great tunes.”
In 1962, Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed Gerry and the Pacemakers, and their first three releases reached number one in 1963 – 'How Do You Do It', 'I Like It' and 'You’ll Never Walk Alone'.
The original lineup included Gerry’s brother Fred Marsden on drums, Les Chadwick on bass, and Arthur Mack on piano. In 1961, Les McGuire replaced Mack.
The group split in 1967 and Marsden pursued a solo career before the band reformed in 1974 to tour the world – a tour they later repeated.
Later in life, he worked as a cabaret performer and children’s television entertainer. In 2003, Marsden was made an MBE for services to charity. His brother and fellow Pacemaker Fred died in 2006.
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 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/5W4yspmLRV
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 3, 2021