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Gerry Marsden, frontman of Gerry and the Pacemakers, dead at 78

Gerry Marsden
(Image credit: David Redfern / Getty Images)

Gerry Marsden, who shot to fame in the 1960s as singer with Gerry and the Pacemakers, has died at the age of 78.

The news was confirmed in a tweet by DJ and family friend Pete Price, who said, "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”.

Marsden was best known for the hit singles the Pacemakers released in the early 1960s, when they became the first band to reach the top of the UK singles chart with their first three releases: How Do You Do It?, I Like It and the evergreen You'll Never Walk Alone.

Originally from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, Marsden's version of You'll Never Walk Alone was adopted by Liverpool FC as a terrace anthem in 1963, and has been associated with the club ever since, with the song title becoming the club's official motto and added to its coat of arms. You'll Never Walk Alone has also been adopted by other groups of fans across Europe, including those of Celtic FC and Borussia Dortmund. 

In 2013 Marsden told the Liverpool FC website, "I remember being at Anfield and before every kick off they used to play the top 10 from No.10 to No.1, and so You'll Never Walk Alone was played before the match. I was at the game and the fans started singing it. They were singing my song and it was great! 

"When it went out of the top 10 they took the song off the playlist and then for the next match the Kop were shouting 'Where's our song?' So they had to put it back on. Now, every time I go to the game I still get goose pimples when the song comes on and I sing my head off."

Other hits by the Pacemakers included I'm The One, Don't Let The Sun Catch Your Crying, and another Liverpudlian anthem, Ferry Cross The Mersey.    

Marsden, who was awarded an MBE in 2003 for services to charity, returned to the top of the UK chart twice in the 1980s with charity singles: in 1985 with a new version of You'll Never Walk Alone in the wake of the Bradford Football Club stadium fire, and in 1989 after the Hillsborough Disaster with a re-recording of Ferry Cross The Mersey