Gerry & The Pacemakers
|Gerry Marsden vocals, guitar
Leslie Maguire piano
Les Chadwick bass guitar
Freddie Marsden drums
Gerry Marsden, who worked for British Railways after leaving school, played guitar first in a skiffle group in the Fifties, then in various rock groups, often with his brother Freddie. Eventually he formed his own group, the Mars-Bars, who had a modest success in the Liverpool area but broke up after six months. In 1959'he and Freddie were joined by Les Chadwick on bass to form a trio, and called themselves the Pacemakers. Like the Beatles and many other groups of the time, they were offered work in Hamburg, and had a successful two-month residency at the Top Ten Club. Returning to England, they were joined by Les Maguire on piano, and played many dates in Liverpool and the North, often with the Beatles.
They signed a management contract with Brian Epstein in June 1962, and six months later Parlophone A and R man George Martin saw them performing at Birkenhead and chose them to record a new song by Mitch Murray, 'How do you do it?' He had originally wanted the Beatles to do this song, but they had sabotaged the session, preferring to do their own material. The Pacemakers however were glad of the chance to record it; it entered the Top Twenty in March 1963 and was soon at No. 1. Gerry and the Pacemakers therefore became the second Liverpool group to make a national impact.
When their next single, another Mitch Murray song in the same breezy style, and their third, the old Rodgers Fr Hammerstein ballad 'You'll never walk alone', both made No. 1, the group became the only artists ever to achieve this position with their first three records. Even the Beatles had not managed this!
Gerry and the Pacemakers were featured in a film which slightly belatedly attempted to exploit Liverpool mania - 'Ferry Cross the Mersey' (1965), and the theme song (written by Gerry Marsden) was their sixth Top Ten single in January 1965. It was also their last. Their next, 'I'll be there', made No. 12; after that, the group continued to be successful, but went increasingly after the family audience, a process which culminated in Gerry going solo as a children's television and musical comedy performer.