The story behind Liverpool Football Club and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’
4 years ago
Football anthems. There’s some funny ones about, but whatever the tune, they’re the choruses which unite devoted fans with their football heroes. LFC’s You’ll Never Walk Alone has got to be one of the most famous, but what’s the story behind this particular out-pouring of support from heart to pitch?
An anthem of triumph over adversity, You’ll Never Walk Alone was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for their 1945 musical, Carousel.
The track regained popularity with the release of the 1956 film of the same name, and us Scousers being big fans of a few scoops and a neighbourhood sing-a-long, Broadway soundtracks always proved popular.
One of the founding fathers of Merseybeat, a young Gerry Marsden was also a fan, and after catching a rerun of the movie one afternoon, persuaded his band The Pacemakers to include it in their live set. Brian Epstein and George Martin were equally unsure of releasing the track as a single, but on 16 October 1963, it became the band’s third consecutive Nº 1 hit.
Meanwhile, over at Anfield, the Top Ten was played over the PA before the start of every LFC game. For four weeks, which included the assassination of JFK, this poignant anthem was the last song playing out as the team headed onto the pitch, and being a hit song from a Liverpool group secured its popularity.
However, many Liverpool fans cite their defeat in the FA Cup semi-final against Leicester in April 1963 as the first time they recall singing the anthem. That’s not too baffling when we remember the track was not only part of a hit movie soundtrack, but had inspired cover versions by Doris Day in September ’62, and featured on the 1963 album The Concert Sinatra by Old Blue Eyes, himself.
During the club’s 100th year in the 1992-93 season, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was added to the club’s crest along with The Shankly Gates, but interest in the song doesn’t end with LFC.
In 2017, Jurgen Klopp appeared in a subtitled documentary, You’ll Never Walk Alone, which traced the origins of the song to a play written in Budapest in 1909, which Rodgers and Hammerstein used as the basis for the plot of Carousel, before successfully adapting it for Broadway success.
One thing’s for sure, as far as Liverpool’s concerned, the song is forever engrained in the history of the city, and the future of LFC.
You’ll Never Walk Alone Trivia:
- The song is a total genre-buster with cover versions by Johnny Cash, Elvis, Placido Domingo, Barbra Streisand & Tammy Wynette amongst others.
- While Celtic fans claim LFC fans adopted their anthem to welcome Bob Paisley in the 1970s, Gerry’s chart position shows those time-lines are a decade out.
- You’ll Never Walk Alone is also chanted by ice hockey fans in Germany and Croatia.
- Gerry Marsden last sang the song live at Anfield when he joined Gary Barlow and Take That on stage for their 2019 gig.
- The Kop’s rendition of YNWA against Chelsea in 2005 is considered the loudest it’s ever been sang.
- Liverpool fans sang it at half time in Istanbul and inspired that famous comeback.