Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Gerry & The Pacemakers on The Ed Sullivan Show

On April 11th 1965, exactly two years after their first single topped the UK charts, Gerry & The Pacemakers made their final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show .

Gerry and The Pacemakers were part of the British Invasion of the early 60’s.  Like The Beatles, they were from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein, and played many of the same clubs and bars.  Originally called Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars, after the group’s founder, the band changed their name following a dispute with the Mars candy bar company.

They began recording in 1963 with the song, “How Do You Do It?”  which quickly rose to number one on the UK Singles chart.  The band’s cover of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” had been a favorite of Gerry’s since he Saw “Carousel” growing up. It soon became the signature song of the Liverpool Football Club.  Today, the song remains a football anthem thanks in part to Gerry & The Pacemakers.  They also starred in an early 1965 film called Ferry Cross the Mersey (sometimes referred to as “Gerry and The Pacemakers’ version of A Hard Day’s Night”), for which Marsden wrote much of the soundtrack.

On April 11th they took to The Ed Sullivan Show stage for the last time and sang “It’s Gonna Be Alright.”  The performance was intercut with clips from the film. After a break, Gerry & The Pacemakers returned  to the stage and sang their film’s theme song, “Ferry Cross The Mersey.” At the end of the ballad, they closed with a country-styled tune “Why, Oh, Why.”

By late 1965, overshadowed by The Beatles’ fame, Gerry & The Pacemakers’ popularity was fading rapidly in both the UK and US. In 1966 they disbanded, and although their career was short lived, they were one of the groundbreaking bands of the British Invasion and will forever have a place in rock n’ roll history.