Skip to content

Paul McCartney Pays Tribute to His ‘Biggest’ Rival Gerry Marsden

The Beatles pose with Roy Orbison and Gerry And The Pacemakers backstage in their dressing room during a UK tour, L-R: Paul McCartney, Freddie Marsden (behind), George Harrison, Gerry Marsden, Ringo Starr (back), Les Maguire (back), John Lennon, John 'Les' Chadwick (back), Roy Orbison, 1 May 1963. (Photo by Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images)

After news of Gerry Marsden’s death broke on Sunday, Paul McCartney took to Twitter to pay tribute to the Gerry and the Pacemakers frontman.

“Gerry was a mate from our early days in Liverpool. He and his group were our biggest rivals on the local scene. His unforgettable performances of You’ll Never Walk Alone and Ferry Cross the Mersey remain in many people’s hearts as reminders of a joyful time in British music…” he wrote alongside a backstage photo from the Beatles tour with Gerry and the Pacemakers and Roy Orbison in 1963. “My sympathies go to his wife Pauline and family. See ya, Gerry. I’ll always remember you with a smile.”

See his thoughtful post below.

Marsden passed away this morning at the age of 78 after battling a heart infection. He formed the Pacemakers in 1959, and the Liverpool band became the second signed to the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. They released their debut single “How Do You Do It?” in March 1963, which soared to the top of the charts; however, their best-known song is a cover.

A few months after releasing their No. 1 single, the Pacemakers released a rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” originally from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein 1945 musical CarouselThe song ended up becoming Liverpool football club’s anthem, and Lana Del Rey recently recorded an a cappella version of it to accompany an upcoming documentary about the soccer team.

The Pacemakers originally disbanded in 1967, but five years later Marsden revived the band with a new lineup and continued to perform until he retired in 2018. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Pauline, and two daughters: Yvette and Victoria.