Gerry and the Pacemakers were a British beat music group prominent during the 1960s. In common with the Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein and recorded by George Martin. They are most remembered for being the first act to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart with their first three single releases. This record was not equalled for 20 years, until the mid-1980s success of fellow Liverpool band Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Gerry Marsden formed the group in 1959 with his brother, Fred, Les Chadwick and Arthur McMahon. They rivalled the Beatles early in their career, playing in the same areas of Hamburg,Germany and Liverpool. McMahon (known as Arthur Mack) was replaced on piano by Les Maguire around 1961. They are known to have rehearsed at Cammell Laird shipping yard atBirkenhead. The group's original name was Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars, but they were forced to change this, when the Mars Company, producers of the chocolate Mars Bar, complained.
The band was the second to sign with Brian Epstein, who later signed them with Columbia Records (a sister label to the Beatles' label Parlophone under EMI). They began recording in early 1963 with "How Do You Do It?", a song written by Mitch Murray, that Adam Faith had turned down and one that the Beatles chose not to release (they did record the song but insisted on releasing their own song, "Please Please Me"). The song was produced by George Martin and became a number one hit in the UK, the first by an Epstein Liverpool group to achieve this on all charts, until being replaced at the top by "From Me to You", the Beatles' third single.
Gerry and the Pacemakers' next two singles, Murray's "I Like It" and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone", both also reached number one in the UK Singles Chart, the latter recorded instead of the Beatles' "Hello Little Girl", which went on to become the first hit for the Fourmost. "You'll Never Walk Alone" had been a favourite of Gerry Marsden's since seeingCarousel growing up. It quickly became the signature tune of Liverpool Football Club and, later, other sports teams around the world. To this day, the song remains a football anthem, there and elsewhere, inspired by Gerry Marsden's rendition rather than the Broadway original.The group's New York arrival in 1964.
Despite this early success, Gerry and the Pacemakers never had another number one single in the UK. Gerry Marsden began writing most of their own songs, including "It's Gonna Be All Right", "I'm the One", and "Ferry Cross the Mersey", as well as their first and biggest US hit, "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying", which peaked at No.4, and which Gerry Marsden initially gave to Deccarecording artist Louise Cordet in 1963. She recorded the song (Decca F11824), but without commercial success. The song, written by all bandmembers, has also been covered by Les Carle, the Lettermen, Jackie DeShannon (This Is Jackie DeShannon album, 1965), José Feliciano, Dr. John, Rickie Lee Jones, Gloria Estefan (Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me album) among others.
They also starred in an early 1965 film called Ferry Cross the Mersey (sometimes referred to as "Gerry and the Pacemakers' version of A Hard Day's Night"), for which Marsden wrote much of the soundtrack. The title song was revived in 1989 as a charity single for an appeal in response to the Hillsborough football crowd disaster, giving Marsden – in association with other Liverpool stars, including Paul McCartney and Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Holly Johnson – another British number one.
In the US, their recordings were released by the small New York City record label Laurie in 1963, with whom they issued four singles during 1963 without success (as listed below). When the Beatles broke through in January 1964, Laurie's next regular single release of "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" became a big hit and during 1964 Laurie coupled "How Do You Do It?" with "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Laurie 3261) and "I Like It" with "Jambalaya" (Laurie 3271) with some success.
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In the United States, a different series of Gerry and the Pacemakers' singles was issued, as their Laurie Records label created more albums, and at least two singles, which were never issued in Britain. This was a standard practice at the time; it also happened with the Beatles and the Dave Clark 5.
|Release date||A-side||B-side||UK Singles Chart||Billboard Hot 100|
|March 1963 (UK)
April 1963 (US)
|"How Do You Do It?"||"Away From You"||1||-|
|May 1963 (UK)
June 1963 (US)
|"I Like It"||"It's Happened To Me"||1||-|
|October 1963 (UK)
December 1963 (US)
|"You'll Never Walk Alone"||"It's Alright"||1||-|
|January 1964 (UK)
June 1964 (US)
|"I'm the One"||UK: "You've Got What I Like"
US: "It's Alright"
|April 1964 (UK)
May 1964 (US)
|"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"||UK: "Show Me that You Care"
US: "Away From You"
|July 1964||"How Do You Do It?" (Reissue)||"You'll Never Walk Alone"||n/a||9|
|September 1964||"I Like It" (Reissue)||"Jambalaya"||n/a||17|
|September 1964 (UK)
June 1965 (US)
|"It's Gonna Be Alright"||UK: "It's Just Because"
US: "Skinny Minnie"
|December 1964 (UK)
January 1965 (US)
|"Ferry Cross the Mersey"||UK: "You, You, You"
|March 1965||"I'll Be There"||UK: "Baby You're So Good To Me"
US: "You, You, You"
|September 1965||"You'll Never Walk Alone" (Reissue)||"Away From You"||n/a||48|
|October 1965||"Give All Your Love to Me"||"You're the Reason"||n/a||68|
|November 1965 (UK)
December 1965 (US)
|"Walk Hand in Hand"||"Dreams"||29||-|
|February 1966 (UK)
March 1966 (US)
|"La La La"||"Without You"||-||90|
|June 1966 (UK)
September 1966 (US)
|"Girl on a Swing"||UK: "A Fool to Myself"
US: "The Way You Look Tonight"
|October 1966||"The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine"||"Looking for My Life"||-||-|
|April 1970||"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" (Reissue)||"Away From You"||-||-|
|April 1974||"Remember (The Days of Rock and Roll)"||"There's Still Time"||-||-|
|Release date||Title||UK Albums Chart||Billboard 200|
|October 1963||How Do You Like It?||2||n/a|
|July 1964||Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying||n/a||29|
|November 1964||Gerry and the Pacemakers' Second Album||n/a||129|
|February 1965||Ferry Cross the Mersey †||19||13|
|February 1965||I'll Be There!||n/a||120|
|May 1965||Gerry and the Pacemakers' Greatest Hits||n/a||44|
|December 1966||Girl on a Swing||n/a||-|
|July 1979||The Best of Gerry and the Pacemakers||n/a||-|
|1981||Ferry Cross the Mersey (live album)||n/a||-|
|1982||20 Year Anniversary Album||-||n/a|
|June 1984||The Very Best of Gerry and the Pacemakers||-||n/a|
† – Soundtrack, includes other artists