Books by Gerry Marsden

Released: Nov. 15, 1994

A lighter-than-air autobiography by the leader of Liverpool's second-greatest '60s pop band. Marsden, lead singer of Gerry and the Pacemakers—foremost practitioners, with the Beatles, of his city's once-celebrated ``Merseybeat'' sound—whips through his life with the speed of a greatest-hits medley: He was kept in a suitcase beneath hall stairs during London air raids; as an infant he was enchanted by his father's ukelele playing; he brawled with mates in the Dingle, the Irish working-class neighborhood where he came of age. An engaging stage presence with a somewhat thin voice, Marsden came up at a time when 240 Liverpool bands were competing for a place in the suddenly global pop scene. In 1963, the Pacemakers scored three number-one British hits in a row—a feat still unmatched. Marsden's rendition of Rogers and Hammerstein's ``You'll Never Walk Alone'' has become the official song of Liverpool's soccer team, his ``Ferry Cross the Mersey'' a kind of Liverpool anthem. Accounts (written with Coleman, The Man Who Made the Beatles, 1989) of friendships with the Beatles (Marsden purloined his wife, Pauline, from George Harrison) and of early days honing his sound in Hamburg are the book's most interesting. Following the death of manager Brian Epstein, whom he describes as a lovable ``honest fool,'' Marsden starred in two musicals before reforming the Pacemakers and becoming the staple of '60s nostalgia shows. Marsden's tone is fittingly modest, and he seems intent on proving he's still a hometown boy—unlike the Beatles, who ``went for the arty clique.'' A closing passage suggests both Marsden's philosophy and his book's limitations: ``Sixties...songs were happy, the music simple and the lyrics nice to listen to. We didn't try to change the world.'' (16 pages b&w photos; discography) Read full book review >