Gerry Marsden: best songs with Gerry and the Pacemakers, including You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Across the Mersey

The singer died after a short illness which was ‘in no way connected with Covid-19’, his family said

Gerry Marsden, best known as the leader of Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died at the age of 78.

The lead singer of the sixties band, who found fame with their version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, died in hospital on Sunday (3 January) after a short illness.

Friend and broadcaster Pete Price confirmed the news on Instagram, writing: “It’s with a very heavy heart, after speaking to the family, that I have to tell you the legendary Gerry Marsden MBE… has sadly passed away.

Gerry Marsden in 1965 (Photo: Stanley Bielecki/ASP/Getty Images)

“I’m sending all the love in the world to Pauline and his family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

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Tributes paid as Gerry And The Pacemakers star Gerry Marsden dies

Here is everything you need to know.

Who were Gerry and the Pacemakers?

Marsden performing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before a Liverpool vs. Blackburn Rovers match at Anfield in 2010 (Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Gerry and the Pacemakers formed in Liverpool in the late 1950s, and were the second band to be signed up by Brian Epstein – the first being The Beatles.

Epstein got involved with the band in 1962, and just a year later, The Pacemakers’ first three singles reached number one.

The first – ‘How Do You Do It?’ – was recommended to the band by The Beatles’ George Martin after it was initially given to the Fab Four.

The group's second number one was ‘I Like It’, which was followed by their version of ‘You'll Never Walk Alone’.

Gerry and The Pacemakers in 1964. L-R: (back) Les Maguire, Les Chadwick (and front) Freddie Marsden, Gerry Marsden (Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns)

The song, originally from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, became a football anthem for Marsden’s home club of Liverpool.

The track enjoyed a resurgence during the coronavirus pandemic after a cover of the song featuring the spoken words of Captain Sir Tom Moore reached number one in April 2020.

1964 would see the band repeat similar successes with singles including ‘It's Gonna Be Alright’, ‘I'm the One’ and ‘Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying’.

What were Marsden’s best songs?

Gerry and the Pacemakers split in the late 60s.

After a short low-key acting career on television and in the West End, Marsden pursued a solo career before the band reformed in 1974 to tour the world – a tour they later repeated.

But Marsden topped the UK charts again in his own right in the 1980s with re-recordings of old hits, which were released with all profits going to charity.

In 1985, he recorded a new version of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ alongside a group he had formed called The Crowd, which included other musicians, singers and radio DJs. Proceeds went to the families of the victims of the Bradford Football Club stadium fire, which killed 56 people.

In 1989, just days after the Hillsborough disaster, Marsden teamed up with Paul McCartney and production trio Stock, Aitken & Waterman on a new version of ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’.

Marsden was awarded an MBE for his charity work in 2003.

Was his death Covid-19 related?

Price added on Instagram that Marsden had suffered “a short illness which was an infection in his heart”.

Marsden went into hospital on Boxing Day after tests showed he had a serious blood infection that had travelled to his heart.

It was a short illness but Marsden had suffered previous heart scare including triple bypass, an aortic valve replacement and ironically he also had a pacemaker.

He married wife Pauline in 1965, and the couple had two daughters.

Marsden’s family later issued a statement saying: “Gerry died earlier today after a short illness in no way connected with Covid-19. His wife, daughters and grandchildren are devastated.”