Gerry & the Pacemakers were an English rock and roll group during the 1960s and one of the few groups to initially challenge The Beatles in popularity. Like the Beatles, they came from Liverpool and were also managed by Brian Epstein.
Gerry Marsden formed the group in the late 1950s with his brother, Fred, Les Chadwick and Arthur Mack. They rivalled the Beatles early in their career, playing in the same areas of Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England. Mack was replaced on piano by Les Maguire around 1961. They are known to have rehearsed at Camell Laird shipping yard at Birkenhead.
They began recording in early 1963 with "How Do You Do It?", a Mitch Murray written song that both Adam Faith and the Beatles had turned down (in the latter case because they wanted to record their own material, specifically "Please Please Me"). The song became a number one hit, until being replaced at the top by the Beatles' third single, "From Me to You". Their next two singles, Murray's "I Like It" and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone", both also reached number one in the UK Singles Chart. Never before had the first three singles by a performer all reached the top spot (the feat would not be duplicated until Frankie Goes to Hollywood did it in the 1980s). "You'll Never Walk Alone" had been a favourite of Gerry Marsden's since seeing Carousel growing up (he turned down the Beatles' "Hello Little Girl" for this slot, which then became the first hit for The Fourmost), and in subsequent years it would became an anthem for the Liverpool F.C. football club and supporters.
Despite this early success, Gerry & the Pacemakers never had another number one single in the U.S. Gerry Marsden began writing most of their own songs, including "It's All Right", "I'm the One", and "Ferry Cross the Mersey", as well as their first and biggest U.S. hit, "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying". All of these represented the band's light, poppy, enjoyable sound. They also starred in a successful early 1965 film called Ferry Cross the Mersey, for which Marsden wrote much of the soundtrack.
They disbanded in October 1966. After the break up, Gerry Marsden maintained a career as a television personality, and starred in the West End musical, Charlie Girl. With a new set of Pacemakers, he has made over twice as many albums than he did in the 1960s, including one of Beatles songs. In the 1980s he returned to top the charts as part of The Crowd, and in 1989 with Paul McCartney, The Christians and Holly Johnson on remakes of two of his old hits, with the proceeds going to victims' families of the Bradford and Hillsborough football crowd disasters.
In 2001 he recorded a John Lennon tribute called "Much Missed Man", written twenty years earlier by the musician, Joe Flannery.