Gerry Marsden – interviewed by Brian Matthew – BBC Pop Profiles – 1964 – BBC Transcription Service – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Just because 2020 ended with a sigh of relief, doesn’t mean the pang of loss stops or gets any easier. Case in point: Gerry Marsden, who left us earlier today via natural causes related to heart disease.
If you are of a certain age, the name Gerry Marsden or Gerry and The Pacemakers may not ring any bells and will no doubt draw blanks at their mention.
But if you are of another “certain age’, the name Gerry Marsden and Gerry and The Pacemakers trigger a flood of feelings and images from a time long since gone – from a decade further away with each year -indeed, from another century. Back to days of youth and new discoveries.
Gerry and The Pacemakers were part of that Tsunami of music which turned much of the world on its rhythmic ear in the 1960s. The Beatles weren’t the only participants in that series of earth-shaking events; bands and artists who scored single hits and extended careers all sprang from that initial movement, that invasion of sounds which took over our airwaves and record stores and filled us with music we could not get enough of. The flood of new music was relentless, until roughly 1968. By that time the British Invasion so prevalent in 1964 had dwindled – the bands and artists were fewer in number; the music itself changed. And even though bands like Gerry and The Pacemakers were still around, their impact was overshadowed by newer groups, newer sounds. They had been overtaken by a second wave; a wave of Psychedelia. And most of the bands from that formative period were relegated to playing cabarets and later, oldies shows – singing their initial hits over and over to an audience knee-deep in nostalgia.
Here is an interview, conducted sometime between late 1963 and early 1964 by the BBC’s Brian Matthew as part of the Pop Profiles Series done for the BBC Transcription Service.
The British Invasion’s initial impact can never be given short-shrift. There was a time you couldn’t turn on your radio and not hear a new song by a new band that just so happened was from England – and that, for a time, seemed like all music was coming over the Atlantic. It was, if you were a teenager during those years, an embarrassment of musical riches and you no doubt carried them with you for decades after.
And so hearing the news today of Gerry’s passing brings that flood of memories back – good memories, exciting memories. Days when all things were possible and the world was your oyster and it was all amazing.