Hope everyone is well and enjoying the fine weather that we are having in the U.K.
As I put pen to paper, Gerry and The Pacemakers are taking a well earned break after five months touring the U.K. with their hugely successful ……….
GERRY CROSS THE MERSEY
This tour commenced at The Forum Theatre in Billingham late January and completed its run at The Civic Hall in Bedworth, Warwickshire at the end of May, having covered most parts of the country. I was fortunate to meet up with the boys at Billingham on the opening night and also at the Kings Hall Ilkley in May.
Both as always were great nights and it was nice to meet up with Wendy and Marion Brown at Billingham who have followed Gerry since their teenage years.
At Ilkley, it was great to hear Gerry sing ‘My Home Town’, a song that he had recorded back in 1976 and featured in his act into the 80’s. The song based on Gerry’s home town of Liverpool, applies to anyone who is a long way from home.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, these shows are always different, with different songs mixed with all the hits. If Gerry hadn’t been a successful singer/songwriter he could have been (and is) a stand up comedian.
The Pacemakers ( Tony, Steve, Nick and Joe) as always are brilliant musicians, plus spot on with their harmonies. The way they interact with Gerry is great and you can tell they are enjoying themselves and this comes across to the audiences who embrace them.
HILLSBOROUGH ANNIVERSARY 2014
The twenty fifth anniversary of Hillsborough took place in April at Anfield.
Twenty five thousand people were in attendance at the Memorial Service, together with the entire playing squad of Liverpool Football Club. Amongst the many moving speeches, two were given by the Merseyside managers, Brendan Rogers and Roberto Martinez. On the television coverage of the day, Gerry could be seen sitting on the front row with his p.a. Ian Ashton, grandson Thomas, former Liverpool mayor now MP Steve Rotherham and Leigh MP Andy Burnham, who was welcomed back after being heckled five years previous.
Gerry closed the service singing ‘Walk Alone’ as 96 red balloons were released in memory of those who tragically lost their lives.
THE GREATEST MERSEYSIDERS OF ALL TIME 2014 POLL
This poll was recently run by The Liverpool Echo and our Gerry came in at No 29 which is a great feat and testimony to a man who has always remained faithful to his roots. He has always lived on Merseyside except for the time he was appearing in ‘Charlie Girl’ in London’s West End in the late 60’s.
He is involved in many charities and has raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years for them. For this sterling work he received the M.B.E. from the Queen in 2003.
As I have mentioned many times you can take Gerry out of Liverpool and across the globe, but you’ll never take Liverpool out of Gerry.
SIXTIES GOLD TOUR 2014
After last years phenomenal success the line up is exactly the same. Billed as :-
‘Together Again by Popular Demand’ it stars:- Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, P.J. Proby, Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes and The Fortunes.
Again it visits most parts of the U.K. mainland starting in Salisbury at the City Hall on September 30th and running through to December 2nd where it ends its run at the Symphony Hall Birmingham. The tour takes in forty one venues, some accommodating two shows. Be sure to get your tickets early for the best seats. All the dates can be seen on the tour dates page.
EPSTEIN GUEST HOUSE
This Beatle and Merseybeat themed hotel was the former family home of the Epsteins. Brian Epstein became the most famous pop manager in musical history and a statue in his honour has been installed at the hotel.
Gerry went along in the spring to have a look around. A video was made which can be seen on Youtube. Gerry was interviewed and spoke of Brian. He mentioned how he first met Brian in his record shop NEMS (North End Music Stores). Gerry and many of the Merseybeat groups would go into Brian’s shop and ask him for records by American rock and rollers e.g. Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino etc.
When Gerry returned to Liverpool after a residency in Hamburg, he met Brian in The Cavern along with The Beatles, Brian said that he had signed The Beatles and found them a record contract. Brian said he would like to sign and manage Gerry and his Pacemakers. Gerry was over the moon, as it meant a recording contract.
Gerry said Brian was a lovely guy, polite, charming and a true gentleman. Brian said that one day Gerry would be in the West End. Sadly, Brian never saw this, but his focus was spot on.
The Epstein Hotel is on Anfield Road, Liverpool and is owned by Patrick Dugan.
BBC ONE SHOW
During April the BBC One Show, hosted by Chris Evans, introduced us to their music personality Carrie Grant who took us to Merseyside to tell us the story behind Ferry Cross The Mersey. She introduced the article by saying that the first group to have their first three records at No 1 was not The Beatles but Gerry and The Pacemakers in 1963. In 1964 Gerry Marsden wrote and recorded Ferry Cross The Mersey. Brian Epstein had just released The Beatles film ‘A Hard Days Night’ and he told Gerry that he was next for a feature film. The film was written by Tony Warren (who initially wrote Coronation Street). All the songs for the film were written by Gerry including the title track Ferry Cross The Mersey.
Gerry is seen on the famous ferry with Carrie and tells her how the tune came into his head whilst taking his girlfriend Pauline out for dinner one night. He stopped the car, went to a phone box, called his Mum and asked her to put the tape recorder next to the phone, start it, and he sang down the phone. He went straight back home and wrote the song Ferry Cross The Mersey. The meal that night never happened, but as Gerry says, we’ve had many a meal on that song since.
The song which is about Liverpool people, became a huge hit both in the U.K., the U.S.A. and the rest of the world. In 1989 it, was recorded by Gerry with help from Paul McCartney, Holly Johnson and The Christians to help the families of the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy. It reached No 1 in the charts of May 1989. It is amazing to think it is 50 years since Gerry wrote and recorded it and is still performing the song to this day. Again the clip from the BBC One Show can be see on Youtube.
One of Gerry’s early guitars can be seen on show at the Liverpool Museum, Pier Head Liverpool.
We wish Gerry a Happy Birthday for September 24th when he will be 72.
Also on the same day it will be Pacemaker leader Tony Youngs 54th Birthday.
We send them both our best wishes.
Gerry and The Pacemakers made their debut at The Cavern on October 5th 1960.
Their final date at The Cavern was July 3rd 1963. This was probably fulfilling a contract as by then they had conquered the No 1 chart position twice. !!!!!!!
October 11th 1965 Gerry marries long time girlfriend Pauline Behan at St.Marys Church Woolton, Liverpool. We wish them all the best for their 49th Wedding Anniversary.
Finally I would like to thank Gerry and Ian Ashton for their help in producing this newsletter.
Until Next Time,