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GERRY MARSDEN,
1942-2021

Gerry Marsden, leader of Gerry and the Pacemakers, who followed The Beatles out of Liverpool during the British Invasion, died Sunday in Merseyside, England. He was 78.

The cause of death was a heart condition.

Gerry and the Pacemakers scored three #1 singles in the U.K. in 1963: “How Do You Do It?,” “I Like It” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” the Rodgers & Hammerstein song from 1945’s Carousel that became the Liverpool Football Club’s anthem.

Within 13 months of The Beatles' taking America by storm, in February 1964, Gerry and the Pacemakers scored three hits in the U.S.: “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” (#4 in July), “How Do You Do It?” (#9 in September) and their most enduring song, “Ferry Cross the Mersey" (#6 in March 1965). 

Marsden formed Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1959. During their club days in Hamburg and Liverpool, the group was as popular as The Beatles. Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed them after inking the Fab Four, securing a deal for them with Columbia Records. “How Do You Do It?” was pitched to and rejected by The Beatles (who would go on to record a version after it topped the U.K. chart).

Marsden also followed in Lennon & McCartney’s footsteps as a writer, penning many of the Pacemakers' songs, including  “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.” 

After the band’s breakup in 1967, Marsden worked in children’s television and performed in a musical, Charlie Girl, on London’s West End.

He assembled a new version of The Pacemakers in 1972, touring over the years with different lineups. He received the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2003. Marsden announced his retirement from performing in 2019.

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