You’ll Never Walk Alone – The origins of Liverpool’s greatest anthem

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‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ are words which are intertwined with Liverpool Football Club and ones which became the club’s anthem in the 1960s.

It’s an iconic song and one which is easily the most famous in world football, with its introduction in the terraces taking place in the early 1960s.

The original tune was written for a musical titled ‘Carousel’, which was released in the USA in 1945 and was the source of various cover versions which would follow.

The one Liverpool hold dear was released by Gerry and the Pacemakers in 1963, a group formed and named after lead singer Gerry Marsden in a time where Liverpool’s music scene dominated the charts and included the Beatles.

Gerry and the Pacemakers’ version captured the nation and soon found itself in the UK charts, and with Anfield pumping the latest top ten hits at the stadium pre-match, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ soon became an ever-present.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2010: Liverpool supporter and singer Gerry Marsden sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" before the Premiership match against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The song placed inside the top ten prior to Liverpool’s meeting with West Brom on October 19, 1963 – and in all likelihood it was the first time it was played and sung at the game.

It would spend a total of ten weeks in the top ten, four of which were in the number one spot which meant Liverpool fans sang YNWA prior to kickoff on a handful of occasions.

It was enough to cement its place in the hearts of Reds, as long after it dropped out of the charts the Kop claimed it as their own.

An anthem to turn to in the dark times, one which looks to triumph over adversity and more than anything provides words to live by.

The song was later adopted by a number of football teams across the world, with Celtic following soon after while Borussia Dortmund, Mainz 05 and TSV 1860 Munich, among others, similarly adopted the tune.

For the Reds, it not only reverberates around Anfield prior to kick-off but is also emblazoned on the club’s crest and on Shankly’s gates.

It has the power to send tingles down your spine and see the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention such is the power of emotion it evokes.

The song made its debut during the 1963/64 season, one which saw Bill Shankly lead the club to the First Division for the first time since 1947 and by 1965 when the Reds won their first FA Cup, it had become their “signature tune.”

As Liverpool hit success in Europe, You’ll Never Walk Alone followed them on their European tour and would go on to be present during some of the club’s greatest-ever moments.

Liverpool's legendary Bill Shankly. Turning towards the Kop end of Anfield, Shankly gets an ovation from the fans who idolised him when Liverpool became League champions.

“Before every home game it’s a deafening rallying cry as if to inspire us to perform and frighten our opponents into submission,” Jamie Carragher wrote in his book titled ‘Carra: My Autobiography’.

“If we’re winning in the closing stages of a huge match, it will be sung again, this time in celebration.

“But there are other occasions the words of the song have greater meaning.”

And while it is so often used in moments of celebration, its words ring true when in need for hope, in an act of defiance and for support.

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and Liverpool Football Club have been synonymous with one another for over 57 years and its words have accompanied the Reds throughout both their hardships and triumphs.

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