LIVERPOOL, UK (CelebrityAccess) — Sir Gerry Marsden, founder and frontman of the influential British rock band Gerry and the Pacemakers has died. He was 78.
His passing was announced on Sunday by his friend and longtime colleague, radio host Peter Price, who said that Marsden died from a heart infection.
“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,” Price said in a post on Twitter. “Sending all the love in the world to Pauline and his family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
A native of Liverpool, Gerry and the Pacemakers became the second band signed by famed British music entrepreneur Brian Epstein, whose first signing was The Beatles.
The Pacemakers scored their first number one hit with their debut single “How Do You Do It” which was originally written with the Beatles in mind.
Gerry and the Pacemakers went on to record a series of hits, including “I Like It,” “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying,” and “Ferry Cross The Mersey.”
The band’s hit “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was selected anthem for his hometown football club, Liverpool FC.
“Gerry’s voice accompanied our biggest nights. His anthem bonded players, staff and fans around the world, helping create something truly special,” Liverpool FC said in a statement. “Sung in times of both celebration and commiseration, Gerry’s interpretation of You’ll Never Walk Alone will forever be inextricably linked to the club he loved.”
Despite their initial success, the popularity of the Merseybeat sound was transitory and amid declining popularity, the group dissolved in 1967.
Following the dissolution of the Pacemakers, Marsden became a popular cabaret performer and children’s TV entertainer.
In 1973, Marsden reformed the Pacemakers with Liverpool musicians Jose McLaughlin, Billy Kinsley and Pete Clarke and the recast group became only Merseybeat band to perform on BBC Radio John Peel Show.
In 2018, the recording of the appearance was released by Parlophone as Gerry and the Pacemakers Live at the BBC.
The reformed group also released a new single “Remember (The Days of Rock and Roll)” but it failed to chart.
In the 1980s, Marsden returned to the charts twice after recording benefit songs following two separate British stadium tragedies – the Bradford Football Club stadium tragedy and the Hillsborough disaster.
In both cases, Marsden re-recorded some of his old hits with a new all-star cast of musicians, including Paul McCartney, The Christians, and Holly Johnson, among others.
Marsden was later recognized by the British crown for his contributions in the wake of the two tragedies and made a Member of the British Empire in 2003.
Marsden would continue to tour on the oldies circuit with the Pacemakers until he announced his retirement in 2018.
In 1993, Marsden released his autobiography, I’ll Never Walk Alone, which he co-wrote with Ray Coleman, former editor of British music magazine Melody Maker.