Two for Tuesday: Gerry & the Pacemakers

We continue our theme of the British Invasion with a group that came from Liverpool, played in Hamburg early in their career, was managed by Brian Epstein, and was recorded by George Martin. No, not the Beatles, the other guys, Gerry & the Pacemakers.

Guitarist and vocalist Gerry Marsden formed the band in 1959 with his brother Fred on drums, Les Chadwick on bass, and Arthur McMahon (known as Arthur Mack) on keyboards. Mack left in 1961 and was replaced by Les Maguire. They were the second band signed by Brian Epstein.

“How Do You Do It?” was their first record. The song had first been offered to Adam Faith, who turned it down, and The Beatles, who recorded it but never released it (it’s on their Anthology 1). It became a hit for Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1963, reaching #1 on the Pop chart in the UK and #3 in Australia, but didn’t chart in the US until it was re-released in July 1964, when it reached #9 on the Hot 100.

“I’ll Be There” (not the same song as the one by the Jackson 5) was released in March 1965; it followed “Ferry Cross The Mersey.” It reached #15 in the UK, #14 in the US, and #9 in Australia.

By 1966, the band’s popularity had waned, and the band split in October of that year, leaving a lot of recorded material unreleased. Gerry Marsden began performing again in 1974, and continues to this day; his brother Freddie died in 2006. The current band has a website, and a lot of their material is available on YouTube.

Back again next week with another band from the British Invasion. For now, that’s Gerry & the Pacemakers, your Two for Tuesday, March 31, 2015.