The story of a song and a city

FullSizeRenderThis is Phil Tucker’s collection of music magazines featuring his favourite band Gerry and the Pacemakers, which he has uploaded to the People’s History of Pop.

“Being a teenager in the 60’s, pop music was high on the agenda and in 1963, when Gerry and The Pacemakers came to national acclaim, I was hooked by their music and in particular, Gerry’s personality.”

The national acclaim the band enjoyed in ’63 was in no small part due to The Pacemakers’ latest hit, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Not only did it set the record as a third consecutive number 1 – a feat that would only be equalled in the 1980s by Frankie Goes to Hollywood – but the song was immortalised as Liverpool Football Club’s anthem.

Liverpool supporters were one of the first to sing popular songs at football matches. “There was an atmosphere at the Kop,” remembers George Sephton, long-standing stadium announcer for the club. “You had to get there 2.5 hours before the game if you were standing to ensure you got in. So people would entertain themselves by singing along to songs.”

The stadium DJ would play the top 10 hits, but when YNWA finally left the charts and the DJ took the record off his playlist, Liverpool fans chanted, “where’s our song?”

“I don’t think [the lyrics] relate to football, I think they relate to people,” mused Gerry Marsden in an interview with Liverpool FC in 2013.

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

and don’t be afraid of the dark…

The song summed up Liverpool’s triumph over adversity when it hit number one in 1963. The fifties had been marred by economic depression and eight years in the Second Division. But by 1963, the football club was poised to win the First Division title and the Merseybeat boom was putting Liverpool back on the map. YNWA became the soundtrack to success and the song was played before and after every game that season.

Since that year, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ has embodied the highs and lows of the club. From the Hillsborough Disaster in 1989 to the Istanbul European Cup final in 2005, it has become the story of a city, an anthem of tragedy and triumph.

Do you have memories of singing along to Gerry and the Pacemakers in the Kop in 1963?

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