#882: 1963, Gerry and the Pacemakers, You’ll Never Walk Alone

by Ray_North on April 16, 2014

I was going to keep this song to one side, on the off chance that Liverpool won the title, but then I heard Gerry Marsden singing it at Anfield on the 25th Anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy and I thought that it was more pertinent to celebrate that event with this song.

People forget that Gerry and the Pacemakers got to Number 1 with their first three singles and when this was released in 1963 they were deemed to be the best band in Liverpool, and, as such, the leaders of the Merseybeat invasion of US and the rest of the world.

But, of course Gerry Marsden, isn’t John Lennon. What he is though, or perhaps, more accurately what this song is, is a wonderful example of everything that makes Liverpool a wonderful unique place. When, Liverpool drew Celtic in the 1964 European Cup, a journalist asked Bill Shankly what it felt like to be part of a battle between England and Scotland, to which Shankly replied that he had no idea what the journalist was talking about, because Liverpool was very different to England. As ever, Shanks was dead right. Liverpool is different. It is a wonderful, decaying, mishmash of a city, overwhelmed occasionally by sentiment, effused by wit, brimming with talent. The people are razor sharp and tough as boots. They love their music and they love their football because they love the things that bring them together and the things that make them unique.

The reason Hillsborough hurts so much is that it was the death of ordinary young innocent people who were doing something that most Scousers have done at some point – go and watch a football match; the reason Liverpudlians are so angry, is because they were painted in such a vile and inaccurate way by the press, the London press – a press that was and still is, in cahoots with the Tories and the upper-middle-classes and those who don’t understand that to truly support and love and feel kin with others in football or in music is a source of pride.

Before every game at Anfield, the crowd raise their scarves and sing this song – we have sung it in triumph and we have sung it in tragedy and the feeling of togetherness when we sing it is truly amazing – it is one of the reasons that the 96 who died so tragically at Hillsbrough will never ever be forgotten.

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