Gerry + “Ferry” = One of the Defining Songs of the British Invasion
54 years ago this month, Gerry and the Pacemakers released the single which served as the title track for their lone feature film, and before the month was out (in 1964), the lads had also enjoyed the opportunity to attend said filmâs world premiere.
Penned by Gerry Marsden, the man who â as you mightâve guessed â put the âGerryâ in âGerry and the Pacemakers,â âFerry Cross the Merseyâ was arguably the most Liverpool-centric song to hit the US and UK top-10 until the Beatles released their âStrawberry Fields Foreverâ / âPenny Laneâ single a few years later. (For those who donât know, the Mersey River flows from Liverpool into the Irish Sea, and so now you have an explanation for why they used to refer to the sound of artists from that vicinity as âMerseybeat.â) The song was released as a teaser for Gerry and the Pacemakersâ film, which was titled Ferry Cross the Mersey as well, and if youâre curious as to what sort of motion picture adventure the lads got themselves involved in, we can help satisfy that curiosity.
Was Ferry Cross the Mersey on the same level as A Hard Dayâs Night? It was not. Was it a quick and easy way to capitalize on Gerry and the Pacemakersâ success while also emulating the efforts of their four slightly more fab Liverpudlian friends? Absolutely. But not only did the film fail to do their career any damage, thankfully, but it served to deliver one of the bandâs most iconic singles, one which still receives regular airplay on oldies stations around the world, and effectively secured their longstanding reputation as the second most popular band to emerge from Liverpool during the British Invasionâ¦and, blimey, that ainât half bad!
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