Gerry Marsden, the lead singer of sixties pop group Gerry and the Pacemakers is dead at 78. He had suffered from heart problems for several years and the irony was not lost on him when he was fitted with a pacemaker a few years ago. Earlier he had undergone triple bypass surgery. The official cause of death was an infection of the heart.
Like the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers were a Liverpool pop group who were also signed by Beatles Manager Brian Epstein. For a while in 1964 and 1965 they were seen as rivals to the Fab Four, but the hits stopped coming and the group disbanded in 1967, Gerry was a fixture on TV and the West End stage. But he quit showbusiness in November 2018.
Gerry’s death was announced on Twitter on Sunday by radio presenter and close friend Pete Price
Pete, 74, tweeted: ‘It’s with a very heavy heart after speaking to the family that I have to tell you the Legendary Gerry Marsden MBE after a short illness which was an infection in his heart has sadly passed away’ ‘Sending all the love in the world to Pauline and his family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.’
In Liverpool Gerry And The Pacemakers achieved fame for their chart-topping hit, You’ll Never Walk Alone, in 1963, which led to the band’s local football club, Liverpool FC, adopting it as one of their traditional chants. The song was written by Rogers and Hammerstein in their 1945 musical Carousel and was covered by many singers besides Gerry and the Pacemakers. Elvis Presley recorded it as did Roy Hamilton in 1954.
It is still sung by masses of fans to this day and was used across 2020 across the UK and Europe as an anthem of support for medical staff, first responders, and those in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gerry also had success with hits including I Like It, How Do You Do It, and Ferry Across The Mersey – the latter being a nod to Mersyside, where the band originated.
The band were the first ever act to reach number one in the UK charts with their first three single releases, a few months before the Beatles made it to the top of the charts.
He received an MBE for Services to Liverpudlian charities at Buckingham Palace in 2003, joined alongside two of his bandmates.