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")