Oscar’s Dream – World Peace

Occasionally, interesting items arrive in my inbox pertaining to the Rodgers and Hammerstein impact on society.  The following is such an example.  This is from  the one and only Gordon Porth – a consummate musician – who is featured on our At Home with Oscar – A Hundred Million Miracles CD.  If nothing else, be sure to watch the youtube link.  Imagine everyone singing together in world-wide harmony. This is Oscar’s dream come true. Enjoy.

Dear J,

Here’s a link to a youtube video of 1000s singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
(Unfortunately, due to copyright laws, the link is blocked. However, if you youtube You’ll Never Walk Alone, you’ll see numerous versions.)
I understand that the tradition started in Liverpool back in the 60s when “Gerry and the Peacemakers” made a hit recording of the song.
Eventually, the tradition of singing at rugby games spread to NZ as I mentioned.  The following story is an interesting account of the “first” singing at a game. Enjoy! G

For over 40 years now, the question as to who sung YNWA first, has been raised time and time again. Was it Liverpool or Celtic fans? Was it Liverpool fans or Gerry Marsden? This is my attempt to put the record straight, once and for all time.

The most difficult thing as usual, has been trying to find a time line, that would ring my memory bells. So back to 1963 we go.
The Beatles were singing “From Me to You” and Gerry of Pacemakers fame was singing “I Like It”. We had just moved from Calthorpe Street (by the park) to Condor Close (by the Martket) both in Garston. JFK was alive and kicking and addressing the Laos problem. Andy Pandy and Ted were busy inventing roasting with a little torment called Looby Lou.

Zooney on Fireball XL5 was doing his impression of a ‘monkey on mogadon’ or weed. Jimmy Young was hosting The 625 Show and This is Your Life was prime time entertainment. Telly finished at 11.15pm.

My best mate was Gary Hughes, my school girlfriend was Julie Evans from Brunswick Street, and my Street girlfriend was Elizabeth Reid. Time set, now for the exercise.

I’ve heard the question many times, “What would make football supporters sing a song from a musical in 1945”?Answering a question with another; what would make a pop group, with two original Number 1 records do the same?

Gerry and The Pacemakers had already hit the top with “How do you do it” and “I Like it”. Ask yourselves this, what then possessed them to release a Rogers and Hammerstien hit from 1945?

The answer, they were aware of its growing popularity with over half the population of Liverpool and were sure of its success.

The 1962/63 season saw my first visit to Anfield as told in “As thick as two short planks”. By the first week in March, Liverpool had already been beaten in the league by Leicester City, home and away. It would not be long before Leicester were called our “bogey team” for the first time.

Therefore it should not surprise many to know, that when Liverpool drew Leicester in the FA Cup semi finals, it was met with sighs and gasps. The game was to be played at Hillsborough, the traditional semi-final venue.

Once again Leicester were to prove to be too much for the newly promoted outfit from Anfield, however considering it was Liverpool’s first season back in the top flight, they had gained a lot of respect from league and Cup opponents and surely it wouldn’t be too long before both trophies adorned the newly extended trophy cabinet … “build it and they will come”.

The Liverpool fans who travelled to Hillsborough that day, approximately 25,000 of the 65,000 gate saw Shankly’s Liverpool lose narrowly 1-0. The crowd included a very young Gerry Flaherty who went to the games with his mate Billy Brod. As the players were heading off the pitch, the fans were applauding their efforts.

Now, Liverpool fans have always included at least ONE comedian, you know him, the one that stands up in a game and either cracks the funniest comment of the day or starts singing his own song. Today was such a day.

In the pissing down rain amidst claps of thunder, our version of Tommy Trinder kicked in. “When you walk through the storm …

Amongst the giggles from most, others realised the humour and joined in, “Hold your head up high …

And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on,
with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone”

I have it on good authority that the singing stopped at this point and the balance of,

Walk on, walk on,
with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Was added later.

Time line: 27th April, 1963

The final game at home that year, saw Liverpool batter Birmingham 5-1 and with minutes left of the game, I assume it was the same bunch of Kopites that had travelled to Hillsborough, started up the song once again. Only this time even more joined in.

Time Line : 8th May, 1963

The season ended with a 0-0 draw and two away defeats, but a new song had been born on the Terraces of English Football.

Time Line: 28th September 1963

Both Gerry and Billy saw Liverpool beat Everton 2-1 with a brace of goals scored by the not so prolific Ian Callaghan but neither can remember the song being sung before or after the game.

However, on the 5th October 1963, the day after Gerry & The Pacemakers released “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, the song was sung as Liverpool stuffed five passed a hapless Villa (Sir Roger grabbing two and Cally amongst the scorers again).

Memories may be fading in the lads’ twilight years, but they recall the record being played again (and sung to again) the following Wednesday night in a 3-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Anfield. Thus the second link to Hillsborough.

From this time the song was sung before and after the game and was well established as a Kopites favourite. On the 2nd November with the song now having reached number 1, Liverpool once again entertained Leicester (second link to the Foxes), but the game ended in what was becoming a familiar result, a 1-0 loss.

I only mention this, due to this being the first game where fans began to hold or wave their scarves to the tune.

So let’s return to the original questions, but this time with enough bullets to sink a battleship. Was it the Celtic fans who first sung “You’ll never walk alone”?

Was it like SHITE!!

Did Gerry Marsden bring “You’ll Never Walk Alone” into the Hallowed Halls of Anfield ?

NO! It was Gerry Flaherty and other travellers to Hillsborough in April 1963.

“And you can take that to the bank”

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