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 film’s world premiere.
Penned by Gerry Marsden, the man who – as you might’ve guessed – put the “Gerry” in “Gerry and the Pacemakers,” “Ferry Cross the Mersey” was arguably the most Liverpool-centric song to hit the US and UK top-10 until the Beatles released their “Strawberry Fields Forever” / “Penny Lane” single a few years later. (For those who don’t 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 “Merseybeat.”) The song was released as a teaser for Gerry and the Pacemakers’ film, which was titled Ferry Cross the Mersey as well, and if you’re 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 Day’s Night? It was not. Was it a quick and easy way to capitalize on Gerry and the Pacemakers’ 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 band’s 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 Invasion…and, blimey, that ain’t half bad!
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