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You’ll Never Walk Alone

Bristol Beacon, 2016

You’ll Never Walk Alone was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein for their musical Carousel in 1945. In the musical, the character Nettie Fowler, cousin of the female lead Julie Jordan, sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to comfort and encourage Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, is killed following an attempted robbery. Actress Christine Johnson played Nettie in the original Broadway production and sang the tune on the 1945 Original Cast Recording.

One of the earliest covers of the song was by Frank Sinatra back in 1945, but the 1960s proved to be the song’s heyday. In 1963 Liverpool singer Gerry Marsden, who had seen the Carousel film as a boy, recorded it with his group Gerry and the Pacemakers and it topped the UK charts for 4 weeks. Soon after that it was adopted as an anthem by Liverpool Football Club, and is still sung by their supporters at every match. Other notable performances from the sixties can be found by Ray Charles (1963), The Bluebelles (featuring Patti Labelle, 1964), Elvis Presley (1967) and Roy Orbison (1969).

Choral performances are not hard to find but have a tendency towards the overblown – try the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for size.