Guide to British Music of the 1960s

September 2005

CD Review

Gerry & the Pacemakers - The Definitive Collection

Gerry & the Pacemakers had a series of hits that started in 1963 and ran through the 1965. Their brief chart career included three number one singles and a number of classic and fondly-remembered songs. Gerry & the Pacemakers were managed by Brian Epstein and his NEMS company but, unlike the Beatles, succeeded in reaching number one with each of their first three single releases. The fourth release, I'm the One, went to number two.

By a stroke of luck, the Beatles passed on releasing their version of How Do You Do It, the song that George Martin had lined up for them as a follow-up to Love Me Do. This was fortunate for both bands. The Beatles recorded a passable version of the song and this saw the light of day on Anthology 1 but their lack of enthusiasm helped convince George Martin that they should record one of their own songs. Please Please Me made the major breakthrough for the Beatles. At the same time, Gerry & the Pacemakers recorded their version of How Do You Do It, arguably superior to the Beatles' version. This entered the charts about two months after Please Please Me and rose to reach number 1.

The two subsequent releases, I Like It and You'll Never Walk Alone also reached the top spot and showed that, at the time, Gerry & the Pacemakers were certainly on a par with the Beatles in terms of chart success. The former was written by Mitch Murray who had already proved his writing credentials with How Do You Do It. The latter came from the musical South Pacific and was quickly adopted as an anthem by supporters of Liverpool Football Club.

Although the fourth single, I'm The One, was a strong track it stalled at number two and the band was unable to reach the very top of the charts again, especially now that the initial buzz of Merseybeat had gone. However, it was the Searchers who had prevented the fourth number one with their Needles & Pins.

Ferry Cross the Mersey was the title track for the film of the same name. This was the band's final top ten entry in December 1964. The band starred in the film, playing a group winning a talent contest. The only top ten single was Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying. This showed that Gerry Marsden was a good ballad singer as well as the more upbeat tracks.

The last top twenty hit was a cover of Bobby Darin's I'll Be There. By this time the Merseybeat era has passed and it was only the band who had managed to transform their sounds, most notably the Beatles, that continued with chart careers.

The remaining tracks on this CD are an excellent showcase of Gerry & the Pacemakers' Merseybeat sound. These show that, while their chart career may have been short-lived, they were probably the city's number two band after the Beatles. 

Release Date: 1995

Essential Tracks:

  • How Do You Do It
  • I Like It
  • Ferry Cross the Mersey

Track Listing:

  1. How Do You Do It
  2. Away From You
  3. I Like It
  4. It Happened To Me
  5. Pretend
  6. Hello Little Girl
  7. You'll Never Walk Alone
  8. It's All Right
  9. You're The Reason
  10. I'm The One
  11. You've Got What I Like
  12. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
  13. Show Me That You Care
  14. It's Gonna Be Alright
  15. It's Just Because
  16. Ferry Cross the Mersey
  17. You You You
  18. I'll Wait For You
  19. I'll Be There
  20. Give All Your Love To Me
  21. Walk Hand in Hand
  22. Dreams
  23. La La La
  24. Girl on a Swing
  25. Fool to Myself

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