Friday, February 26, 2021

Gerry Marsden, and Morgan White, Jr.

This weekend, on his Boston radio talk show (Saturday, 9 p.m. to midnight, WBZ-AM), my friend Morgan White, Jr. will be focusing on the 1960s British invasion.  His guest will be longtime Boston radio personality Stu Fink, who is currently co-host of a syndicated "country oldies" program; he has appeared many times as a guest of Morgan on WBZ. 

On Saturday, Morgan and Stu will discuss such groups as The Dave Clark Five, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and, of course, The Beatles.

The program can be heard at this link:

I've been meaning to write about Gerry Marsden, of Gerry and the Pacemakers, since his death, in January.  He was 78. 

Gerry and the Pacemakers' hits included "Ferry Cross the Mersey," "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," and "How Do You Do It?" 

"Ferry Cross the Mersey"--written by Mr. Marsden--remains, I think, one of the most beautiful songs of the 1960s.  







I've been a fan, since childhood, of Mr. Marsden's singing style.  He had, too, a very likeable and friendly demeanor, as a performer--and I always liked the distinctive way he held his guitar: he held it up high--higher than was typical of other guitarists.

Here are a couple of videos of live performances by Gerry and the Pacemakers, from YouTube.   

The first is "How Do You Do It?," the group's first hit, from 1963. (It has a nice backbeat, by the way, from drummer Freddie Marsden, Gerry Marsden's older brother.)

Here, too, is a performance of "Ferry Cross the Mersey," which was a hit in the United States in 1965.  Note that one of the young dancers, in the audience, bumps into Mr. Marsden's microphone, not long after the start of the song.

Gerry Marsden was from Liverpool, and his group was part of what was known as the Merseybeat sound. The group's manager was Brian Epstein, who also managed The Beatles--and the above-noted hits by the Pacemakers were produced by Beatles producer George Martin.  I was not aware, until reading about Mr. Marsden, after his death, that "How Do You Do It?" reached the top of the charts, in the United Kingdom, a few weeks before The Beatles had their first number one U.K. hit, "From Me to You."

Mr. Marsden died in Merseyside, England, an area which includes Liverpool.

(Photo from video, above:  Gerry Marsden, with the Pacemakers, performing "Ferry Cross the Mersey")

Monday, February 22, 2021


Today, the U.S. passed the extraordinary milestone of one-half million deaths, due to the coronavirus.  

On January 19th, the day before the inauguration--only thirty-four days ago--we had reached 400,000 deaths.

This evening, President Biden spoke to the nation from the White House, to honor the half-million people who have died, to offer comfort to those who have experienced such terrible loss during the past year--and to offer solace to the country at large.

His remarks were moving. It is clear--as was evident before he became President--that one of Mr. Biden's most significant attributes is that, unlike his predecessor, he feels and understands--deeply--that which has taken place since early 2020.  He grasps, deeply, the realms of tragedy, calamity, loss, grief--and understands, profoundly, not unlike a pastor, the significance of consolation, and remembrance.  

Mr. Biden said, in part:

"While we've been fighting this pandemic for so long, we have to resist becoming numb to the sorrow. We have to resist viewing each life as a statistic or a blur or ‘on the news.’ And we must do so to honor the dead, but equally important, care for the living, those left behind."

He said: “For those who have lost loved ones, this is what I know: They’re never truly gone. They’ll always be part of your heart."  

He said that for him, "the way through sorrow and grief is to find purpose. I don’t know how many of you have lost someone a while ago and are wondering, ‘Is he or she proud of me now? Is this what they want me to do?’ I know that’s how I feel. And we can find purpose – purpose worthy of the lives they lived and worthy of the country we love.

"So today, I ask all Americans to remember: Remember those we lost and those who are left behind."

After he spoke, the President, along with Jill Biden, and Vice President Harris and Douglas Emhoff, observed a moment of silence outside of the White House, at the front of the South Lawn.  Memorial candles were situated on the ground near them--in front of, and then covering, each of the two stairways leading up to the White House balcony. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The virus

As of today, there have been been more than 450,000 deaths in the U.S., due to Covid-19.  

50,000 deaths have occurred in the past fifteen days; the country reached 400,000 deaths on January 19th.