Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers fame dead at age 78

Sad news: The Daily Mirror this morning reports that Gerry Marsden has passed away at age 78 from a heart infection.

Gerry and the Pacemakers, of course, were a Liverpool band close to the Beatles and also were managed by Brian Epstein.

The band's first hit, "How Do You Do It?," penned by Mitch Murray, was originally recorded by the Beatles and intended as their first single, but the band convinced producer George Martin to go with "Love Me Do" instead. Martin later produced the Pacemakers' version of the song, which hit number 1 in England and number 10 in the U.S.

Gerry and the Beatles

Gerry and the Pacemakers also enjoyed hits with "I Like It," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "I'm the One," "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying," "I'll Be There" and "Ferry Cross the Mersey" from 1963 to 1965, as the Beatles progressed to new things and the British Invasion sound started to subside in popularity.

The band also starred in a film based the 1965 film "Ferry Cross the Mersey," an attempt to cash in on the success of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night."

"You'll Never Walk Alone," originally from the 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein musical "Carousel," became a Liverpool Football Club anthem after the Pacemakers had a hit with it and is still sung at soccer matches to this day. Of late, it's also been sung in England in tribute to National Health workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here it is, sung by Gerry: