Thirty years ago, a charity version of “Ferry Cross the Mersey” (*) was released in aid of those affected by the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 95 Liverpool fans the previous month (a 96th, Tony Bland, died in 1993 as a consequence of that disaster). The song was recorded by Liverpool artists The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman. The single held the #1 spot in the UK chart for three weeks and the Irish chart for two weeks.
“Ferry Cross the Mersey” is a song written by Gerry Marsden. It was first recorded by his band Gerry and the Pacemakers and released in late 1964 in the UK and in 1965 in the United States. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching number six in the United States and number eight in the UK. The song is from the film of the same name and was released on its soundtrack album. In the mid-1990s a musical theatre production also titled “Ferry Cross the Mersey” related Gerry Marsden’s Merseybeat days; it premiered in Liverpool and played in the UK, Australia, and Canada.
The Hillsborough disaster was a fatal crush of people during an FA Cup semi-final football match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, on 15 April 1989. With 96 fatalities and 766 injuries, it remains the worst disaster in British sporting history. The crush occurred in the two standing-only central pens in the Leppings Lane stand, allocated to Liverpool supporters. Shortly before kick-off, in an attempt to ease overcrowding outside the entrance turnstiles, the police match commander, chief superintendent David Duckenfield, ordered exit gate C to be opened, leading to an influx of even more supporters to the already overcrowded central pens. (Wikipedia)
(*) Opmerkzame lezers zullen opmerken dat op de hoes van de single (zie bovenstaande afbeelding) “cross” wordt voorafgegaan door een afkappingsteken. Dit is echter een fout, schrijft Wikipedia en ik ben het daar volledig mee eens: “The song is often misspelled as ‘Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey’, but according to the song’s lyrics, the track is correctly titled ‘Ferry Cross the Mersey’. ‘Cross’ is not a contraction of the preposition ‘across’ but rather an imperative verb: ‘Ferry, cross the Mersey!’ In the US, the title was rendered on all 45s – even reissues from decades after the original release – as ‘Ferry Across The Mersey’.”