<p>Marsden with his MBE for services to charity at Buckingham Palace in December 2003. He helped raise more than £35m for good causes</p>

Gerry Marsden death: Gerry and the Pacemakers star passes away aged 78

Gerry Marsden death: Gerry and the Pacemakers star passes away aged 78

Gerry Marsden death: Gerry and the Pacemakers star passes away aged 78

Gerry and the Pacemakers star Gerry Marsden, whose Sixties hits include “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Ferry Cross The Mersey” and “I Like It”, has died aged 78.

Broadcaster Pete Price announced the news on social media with a loving tribute to his friend, who died after he suffered an infection in his heart.

He wrote: “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.”

A statement issued by Marsden’s family said: “Gerry died earlier today after a short illness in no way connected with Covid-19. His wife, daughters and grandchildren are devastated.”

Mr Price’s reference to the song Marsden later become most known for, and which Liverpool Football Club has since adopted as its official anthem, was echoed by the team itself. 

Minutes after the announcement came, the Premier League champions’ official Twitter account shared two posts. In the second, the club wrote: “Gerry’s voice accompanied our biggest nights. His anthem bonded players, staff and fans around the world, helping create something truly special.”

“You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the tweet added, followed by a red heart emoji.

Marsden formed the group in 1959 with his brother Fred, Les Chadwick, and Arthur McMahon. At a time when Liverpool was emerging as the musical capital of the world, the Pacemakers were the most serious early rivals to The Beatles. 

The groups first played together in early 1961, during a four-month stint in Hamburg. On their return to Merseyside they became regulars at the city’s Cavern Club and shared the same manager in Brian Epstein. 

Between March and October of 1963 the first three Gerry and the Pacemakers singles – “How Do You Do It?”, “I Like It” and the soon-to-be ubiquitous football anthem taken from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical Carousel – all topped the British charts. 

In keeping with their close-knit relationship, the first of those hits had been recorded by The Beatles in 1962, but rejected by them and given to Marsden’s band by the producer, George Martin.

“Ferry Cross the Mersey”, released in late 1964, reached No 8 in the UK. However, in 1989, Marsden topped the charts with a new version of the song recorded with fellow Merseyside artists The Christians, Holly Johnson and Paul McCartney in aid of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

He re-recorded the track in April last year, in tribute to the NHS during the pandemic.

Johnson, the Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer, tweeted: “So sorry to hear about the passing of Gerry Marsden what a Liverpool Legend. So glad I met him.”

Liverpool mayor Steve Rotherham also paid tribute, saying: “Lost too many good friends in 2020, so was glad to see the back of it. Was notified of the death of another of my great friends this morning. Devastated.”

Meanwhile, Liverpool West Derby’s Labour MP, Ian Byrne, shared a picture of the Anfield gates, upon hearing the news. “RIP Gerry Marsden,” he tweeted. “YNWA.” 

Over the course of his life, Marsden helped raise more than £35m for charity, including with the recordings he made with other artists after the Bradford City stadium fire in 1985 as well as the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989.

He was awarded the MBE in 2003 and six years later was given the freedom of the city of Liverpool for his charitable works for the city and for his contribution to Liverpudlian culture.

He is survived by his wife Pauline and their two daughters, Yvette and Victoria.


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