Over Gerry and the Pacemakers
In 1962 -- mere months after he'd begun managing another Liverpool four-piece, namely The Beatles -- Brian Epstein signed a band called Gerry & the Pacemakers. Half a century later, they seem like barely a British Invasion footnote. But at first, they were going to be huge: Their first three singles -- "How Do You Do It?", "I Like It" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" -- all reached the pinnacle of the U.K. singles chart, a feat not matched until Frankie Goes to Hollywood appeared in the mid-'80s. Clean-cut and geeky looking, squeaky-clean safe and free of The Beatles' R&B roughness, they were barely a rock 'n' roll band at all; the Marsden brothers -- singer/guitarist Gerry and drummer Freddie -- were seemingly skiffle boys at heart. Nonetheless, they briefly did great at home, and pretty well in the States, where five harmless singles hit the Top 20 in 1964 and 1965. The best-remembered, "Ferry Cross the Mersey," from a popular soundtrack of the same name, is still something of a signature tune for the "Merseybeat" sound. But after 1966, the Pacemakers were no more. They broke up in October of that year, just a couple weeks after their final hit, "Girl on a Swing," charted in the U.S.