"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. In the second act of the musical, Nettie Fowler, the cousin of the female protagonist Julie Jordan, sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" to comfort and encourage Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, the male lead, kills himself to avoid capture during a failed robbery. It is reprised in the final scene to encourage a graduation class of which Louise (Billy and Julie's daughter) is a member. The now invisible Billy, who has been granted the chance to return to Earth for one day in order to redeem himself, watches the ceremony and is able to silently motivate the unhappy Louise to join in the song.
The song is also sung at association football clubs around the world, where it is performed by a mass chorus of supporters on match day; this tradition began at Liverpool Football Club in the early 1960s and has continued to be a signature tradition to present day.
Christine Johnson, who created the role of Nettie Fowler, introduced the song in the original Broadway production. Later in the show Jan Clayton, as Julie Jordan, reprised it, with the chorus joining in.
Besides the recordings of the song on the Carousel cast albums and the film soundtrack, the song has been recorded by many artists, with notable hit versions made by Roy Hamilton, Frank Sinatra, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, and Doris Day. Progressive rock group Pink Floyd took a recording by the Liverpool Kop choir, and "interpolated" it into their own song, "Fearless", on their 1971 album Meddle.
From 1964 through 2010, Jerry Lewis concluded the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon by singing the song. After the end of a concert by the rock group Queen, the audience spontaneously sang this song, according to guitarist Brian May, and this helped to inspire the creation of their songs "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You". Italian-American tenor Sergio Franchi sang a notable version accompanied by the Welsh Men's Choir on the June 9, 1968 telecast of The Ed Sullivan Show. He also covered this song in his 1964 RCA Victor album The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi. American singer and songwriter Barbra Streisand sang this song in a surprise appearance at the close of the 2001 Emmy Awards, in honor of the victims of the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the onboard computer Eddie sings this song in an attempt to calm the crew of the Heart of Gold as their imminent destruction approaches in the form of a missile.
In 2010, this was sung during the festivities of the Last Night of the Proms, with the choir at the Royal Albert Hall joined by crowds of the public from Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland; Caird Hall, Dundee; Hyde Park, London; Salford, Greater Manchester; and Wales, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Oscar Hammerstein II.
|"You'll Never Walk Alone"|
|Single by Gerry and the Pacemakers|
|from the album How Do You Like It|
|Recorded||July 2, 1963, Abbey Road Studios|
|Label||Columbia (EMI) (UK)
Laurie Records (US)
|Gerry and the Pacemakers singles chronology|
In the United Kingdom, the song's most successful cover was released by Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963, after the band's producer George Martin suggested that they record it as a follow up to their hit "I Like It," peaking at number one in the singles chart for four consecutive weeks.
The song quickly became the anthem of Liverpool Football Club and is invariably sung by its supporters moments before the start of each home game. The words "You'll Never Walk Alone" also feature in the club crest and on the Shankly Gate entrance to Anfield, their home stadium.
According to former player Tommy Smith, lead vocalist Gerry Marsden presented Liverpool manager Bill Shanklywith a recording of his forthcoming cover single during a pre-season coach trip in the summer of 1963. "Shanks was in awe of what he heard. ... Football writers from the local newspapers were travelling with our party and, thirsty for a story of any kind between games, filed copy back to their editors to the effect that we had adopted Gerry Marsden's forthcoming single as the club song." Shankly later picked the song as his eighth and final selection for Desert Island Discs on the eve of the 1965 FA Cup Final.
Marsden himself told BBC Radio how, in the 1960s, the disc jockey at Anfield would play the top-ten commercial records in ascending order, with the number one single transmitted last, shortly before kickoff. Spectators would sing along, but unlike with other hit singles, once "You'll Never Walk Alone" dropped out of the top-ten, instead of disregarding the song, supporters continued to sing it.
The song was later adopted by Scottish team Celtic F.C., Dutch teams Feyenoord, FC Twente and SC Cambuur, Germany's Borussia Dortmund, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Mainz 05, 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Alemannia Aachen, FC St Pauli, SV Darmstadt 98 Eintracht Braunschweig, Belgium's Club Brugge, Japan's F.C. Tokyo,Spain's CD Lugo. and the Marist St. Pats MSP 80/80 Blues. In Ice Hockey, the song has been adopted by German Deutsche Eishockey Liga side Krefeld Pinguine.
A special recording of the song was made in solidarity with Bradford City following the Valley Parade fire in 1985, when 56 spectators died and many more were seriously injured. The song was performed byThe Crowd, featuring Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney and Rolf Harris, among others.
Some years later, after witnessing a rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Anfield in 2007, the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, said he felt inspired to seek lyrics to his country's wordless national anthem, the Marcha Real, ahead of Madrid's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
The song is also the corps song for the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps of Madison, Wisconsin.
- The Adicts
- Alfie Boe ("Onward") (2007)
- Alicia Keys (Hurricane Katrina disaster relief, 2005)
- André Hazes
- André Rieu (2009 Maastricht concert)
- Aretha Franklin (1972, on the live album Amazing Grace)
- The Bachelors
- Barbra Streisand
- Barry Manilow & Cilla Black (1993)
- Bela B. & the Tikiwolves feat. Gary'o'Wolf (official FC St. Pauli Stadionhymn, 1992)
- Bernadette Peters
- Billy Eckstine (1960): Live album No Cover, No Minimum, recorded in Las Vegas. Production was by Teddy Reig. The album was originally released by Roulette Records, but is also available on the Blue Note label.
- Bryn Terfel (1996) – Something Wonderful: Bryn Terfel Sings Rodgers and Hammerstein
- Charice (2008)
- Celtic Woman (Believe 2011)
- Chris de Burgh (2008)
- Christy Gibson (Thai Language Version) (2001) – Soo Yod Kao
- Christine Johnson on the Carousel Original Cast Album (1945)
- Claramae Turner on the Carousel film soundtrack (1956)
- The Crusaders (1966)
- David Campbell (2010)
- David Phelps on the album Classic (2012)
- David Whitfield
- Die Toten Hosen (2000, Bayern ep)
- Dionne Warwick (1967, On Stage and in the Movies album track)
- Doris Akers (1963)
- Doris Day (on the You'll Never Walk Alone album) (1962)
- Dudu Fisher (2006)
- Elvis Presley (1968 single release)
- Frank Sinatra (1945) (1963)
- Frankie Vaughan (1979)
- Gene Vincent (1958) (Gene Vincent Rocks and the Blue Caps Roll album track)
- Gerry & The Pacemakers (1963)
- Hayley Westenra (2001)
- Jackie Wilson (1965)
- John Barrowman (2010) (John Barrowman album track)
- John Farnham (1998) - The Spirit of Christmas (compilation album)
- Johnny Cash (2003)
- Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae (1963)
- Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge (1969)
- Joseph Calleja (Last Night of the Proms, 2012)
- Joyce DiDonato (2012)
- Juan Diego Flórez (Live 8 – Berlin) (2005)
- Judy Garland (1960)
- Katherine Jenkins (2005)
- Kevin Rowland (1999)
- Kiri Te Kanawa with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (1990) – Songs of Inspiration
- Lee Greenwood
- Lee Towers (1976)
- The Lettermen (1964)
- Liverpool FC (1977) (FA Cup single: A-side - "We Can Do It" / "Liverpool Lou" B-side - "We Shall Not Be Moved" / "You'll Never Walk Alone")
- Los Fastidios
- Louis Armstrong (1954) in a medley with Tenderly
- Mahalia Jackson
- Malena Ernman (2013)
- Malcolm Vaughan (1959)
- Mario Lanza (1952 and 1956)
- Maureen Forrester on the Carousel MCA Classics album (1987)
- Melanie Chisholm (2012)
- Michael Ball (1996) – The Musicals
- Michael Crawford (1987)
- Mormon Tabernacle Choir (1971)
- Nina Simone (1959)
- Olivia Newton-John (1989) – Warm and Tender
- Patricia Neway in the soundtrack of the 1967 television adaptation of Carousel (1967)
- Patti Labelle & The Blue Belles (1964)
- Patti LaBelle (1980's)
- Pink Floyd (1971) – "Fearless"
- Pips, Chips & Videoclips (Dernjava album, 1995)
- The Priests (2009)
- Perry Como (1956)
- Ray Charles (Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul album track, July 1963)
- Regine Velasquez (2004)
- Renée Fleming (2003)
- The Righteous Brothers (1965)
- Robson & Jerome (1996)
- Roy Hamilton (1954)
- Samuel Ramey (1989)
- Sergio Franchi recorded on 1964 RCA album, The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi
- The Shadows (Reflection album track, 1990)
- Shirley Bassey (1962, single B-side to "Ave Maria")
- Shirley Jones recorded it on the original movie soundtrack of Carousel and again on her 1989 album Silent Strength
- Sissel Kyrkjebø (2004)
- Smoking Popes
- Steven Houghton (1997) – Steven Houghton
- Susan Boyle (Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs from the Stage, 2012)
- Tammy Wynette
- The 465 CT Transit driver with Máiréad Nesbitt on the Violin during EWR's Arrivals Ceremony (2013)
- The Three Tenors (1998)
- Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (2009) – Paradise Blue
- Tom Jones (1969)
- Vocal Majority (1997) – How Sweet the Sound
- Wayne Hussey and Julianne Regan (2011) (in support of Liverpool F.C.'s disability charity,Respect 4 All)