Morgen zal het al 15 jaar geleden zijn dat Freddie Marsden, drummer van Gerry & the Pacemakers, de groep van zijn twee jaar jongere broer Gerry, overlijdt op 66-jarige leeftijd. Ik heb zijn “obituary” in The Independent gelezen (van de hand van Spencer Leigh) en het is best een interessant verhaal…

“In late 1962, Gerry and the Pacemakers were the second band to be signed up by Brian Epstein – the Beatles were the first. When the Beatles rejected Mitch Murray’s light-hearted How Do You Do It, Epstein told the record producer George Martin that he had just the group to do it. The single went to No l, as did its cheeky follow-up, I Like It. Having seen Paul McCartney’s success around the Liverpool clubs with Over the Rainbow, Gerry and the Pacemakers wanted a similar, emotional show-stopper and they picked You’ll Never Walk Alone from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. With George Martin’s arrangement, they became the first UK beat group to record with strings. They also became the first act to reach No l with their first three singles.”
Dit vind ik een interessante opmerking: tijdens hun live-optredens zongen The Beatles dus blijkbaar een versie van Judy Garlands “Over the rainbow”! Dat zou ik wel eens willen horen, als daar een bootleg-versie van zou bestaan…
De geschiedenis van Gerry & the Pacemakers is werkelijk totaal intertwined met die van The Beatles. Zo volgden zij hen op in de Top Ten Club in Hamburg, maar ook in de Liverpoolse Cavern wisselden ze elkaar af. Bijgevolg: Freddie Marsden had his 21st birthday party in the Dingle with the Beatles as guests. It is sometimes reported that he was considered as a possible replacement for the Beatles’ drummer Pete Best after Best was sacked in August 1962, but “that’s rubbish,” he told me. “Look at my high forehead (zie inderdaad op bovenstaande foto). I could never have had a Beatle haircut for a start. I considered myself a very basic drummer. I laid the beat down and didn’t do anything fancy. I knew my limitations and I stuck with the strong off-beat and it seemed to work. We were nice and tight. Ringo was definitely more technical than me.”
In 1968 Gerry Marsden replaced Joe Brown in the West End musical Charlie Girl, and effectively broke up the group. Freddie never criticised his brother publicly but I always sensed some resentment. “We were left without a singer and instead of looking for another one, we called it a day,” he said. Freddie Marsden became a telephone operator for £14 a week but later opened the Pacemaker driving school in Formby. Although he was always courteous to his fans, he never returned to music.

Een gedachte over “Freddie Marsden (1940-2006)

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