Hope you are all well. The current Gerry Cross The Mersey shows are doing great business, reports Gerry’s PA Ian Ashton. The line up of the Pacemakers, Rachel Sinnetta and Gerry Marsden is certainly a winning formula. As those who have been to a recent show will have noticed, The Pacemakers have a new recruit in their line up, bassist Joe Mitchell has left. In his place we have Anthony Harty.
The current tour comes to an end on May 28th at Solihull Arts Centre and the Autumn dates commence on the 18th of August at Burgess Hall, St. Ives Cambridgeshire.
On September 30th Gerry and The Pacemakers will be setting sail from Southampton on a three day cruise entitled “Rock The Boat”. They will be on the cruise liner “Celebrity Eclipse” which will call at Zeebrugge and Cherbourg before returning to Southampton. Also on board, amongst others, will be Gary Puckett, The Searchers, Brian Poole and Chip Hawkes, The Troggs, The Merseybeats and The Fortunes.
Gerry’s dates for 2016 can be found on the tour dates page. Dates are already being pencilled in for 2017 and these will be on the web site when confirmed.
It was very sad to hear of the passing of George Martin on March 8th at his home in
Wiltshire. Gerry was inundated with calls for interviews etc., which he did for Sky News and several radio stations.
Gerry first met George Martin in December 1962. George had come up to Liverpool to see The Beatles. However, Brian Epstein (Gerry and The Beatles manager) hastily arranged a gig for Gerry and The Pacemakers at The Majestic, Birkenhead and casually invited George to cross the Mersey to see the boys whilst he was in the area. Gerry remembers and I quote ”We’d learned ‘How Do You Do It? by then; I was told by Brian that Lennon had turned it down in favour of something he’d written called ‘Please Please Me’. I was told that Adam Faith had also turned it down. After seeing us at The Majestic, George Martin told Brian that we didn’t even need a record test and that we should go to London to record the song. In January 1963 our van broke down on the journey south. It was snowing and freezing. It took us an hour to record it and George asked if we had a song that we’d written for the B side. I said certainly and we quickly recorded ‘Away From You’. Ron Richards, who George had put in charge of our recordings, was great to work with. He remembers how The Pacemakers and I arrived at the studios to record at 2.30 and by 5.30 we had completed both A and B sides….”
As they say the rest is history. ‘How do You Do It? was released on March 14th 1963 and went straight to the top of the charts. This was of course followed by ‘I Like It’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. It was the last song, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’
that George had suggested putting strings and orchestral accompaniment on it. The result a worldwide hit and a worldwide football anthem.
Although George is remembered as the fifth Beatle, his influence on artists such as Gerry and The Pacemakers, Cilla Black, Billy J Kramer was immense.
On March 1st, we also lost Tony Warren. Although known as the creator of the longest running soap opera, ‘Coronation Street’, he wrote the storyline for Gerry and The Pacemakers film ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’. It was filmed on location in Liverpool and at Elstree Studios. Gerry remembers and I quote..”I’d always been a ferry user and ferry watcher, right from my days as a van delivery boy; the ferries were and still are, a vital part of the atmosphere of Liverpool. They said I had to take part in the film and write a load of songs. Ferry Cross The Mersey was a video before videos were invented. Brian Epstein thought the film should have as many songs in it as possible, so it could be seen all over the world, as a showcase for us as performers. It enabled us to show our faces around the world in countries where we couldn’t tour”…….
If ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ is the anthem for football, then ‘Ferry Cross The Mersey’ is the anthem for Liverpool people.
This summer will be 53 years since Gerry and The Pacemakers were topping the charts for the second time with their second release ‘I Like It’ and Gerry is still touring performing all his hits. That is testimony to a great artist and great performer.
My thanks to Gerry and Ian for their help with this newsletter.
Until next time,