Meet The Singer: Gerry Marsden

By Bill Harry  

January 3 1963

Gerry MarsdenTrying to coax Gerry Marsden to talk about himself is as difficult as learning to the play the guitar with your feet. He'll answer every question with another question, smile, grin, start talking about cheese-on-toast or Russians. But when it's all over, Gerry will have revealed that he's the most happy-go-lucky personality on the Merseyside scene, that he doesn't take life too seriously, and he likes people.

Gerry, now 20 years old, started in show business when he was 14. He joined a youth club band called the Red Mountain Boys (Did Gerry have his tongue in his cheek when he said this?) and later formed a skiffle group Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars. His fellow musicians were brother Freddie, Dixie Dean (washboard) and Jim Tobin (bass). Bookings around this time included a week at the Pavilion in a 'Dublin To Dingle' show, three weeks in variety at the Empire, and appearances at the Hope Hall.

When Dixie and Jim left, the Marsden boys were joined by Les Chadwick and for six months they continued as the Gerry Marsden Trio. Pianist Arthur McMahon joined them and the group became Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Arthur 'Mack' left the group, who continued as a trio for another six months before being joined by Les Maguire.

Although Gerry maintains that the group hasn't really attained much, they have been voted into Mersey Beat's Top Ten for the past two years, have made four trips to Germany, have played in numerous towns and cities such as Manchester, Fleetwood, Rhyl, Morecambe, Crewe, Northwich and have provided musical backing for numerous stars including Fats Domino, Craig Douglas, Joe Brown and Danny Williams and will shortly be recording for the Columbia label.

Liverpool-born, hazel-eyed Gerry is a handyman at heart, who likes fixing shelves and sink units and making bookshelves. He is also quite expert at putting together a good song. When he has some spare time he will sit at the piano and work on a few songs - and he has already written over two dozen numbers; however, he rarely uses his own numbers in his act, although he would like to record some of them.

Apart from 'dabbling at the piano', Gerry is learning to play alto sax.

We wonder if it is possible for him to attain his professional ambition, which is (there goes that tongue in the cheek again!) "to make as much money as Elvis Presley."
Photo by Ulrich Schiller

Editor's note: Yes, there was a group called the Red Mountain Boys. Within four months after this article appeared, Gerry & the Pacemakers were No. 1 in the British charts with 'How Do You Do It.' I963 proved to be an incredible year for the band with them attaining three chart-toppers with their first three releases. Gerry did prove himself an accomplished songwriter with the classic Liverpool anthem 'Ferry 'Cross The Mersey.'

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