Screaming kids in the early and mid 1960s, the British Invasion had arrived. The Beatles are the best known band to reach shore, but there were other groups that captivated Americans and sent songs up the chart.
A couple of weeks ago, Chad Stuart of Chad & Jeremy, passed away at age 79. Between 1964 and 1966, the duo had seven top 10 hits, including “A Summer Song”. These lads had longish hair and gentle harmony vocals as they played their acoustic guitars. Their music was folk in nature, sweetened with pop melodies. Stuart never stopped performing even after fame went away, including the occasional reformation of Chad & Jeremy.
In the early 1960s, Gerry and Pacemakers were The Beatles biggest rival, not The Rolling Stones. Recording for EMI, produced by George Martin and represented by Brian Epstein, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Beatles had a lot in common. The Pacemakers’ first hit was a song The Beatles declined to record, “How Do You Like It” which became a number one hit in 1963. The Beatles wanted to record their own material.
Gerry Marsden and the Pacemakers came from Liverpool, just like The Beatles, as a part of the Merseybeat Sound. The Pacemakers scored several other big hits like “You’ll Never Walk Alone” “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.”
The Pacemakers broke up in 1967 and Marsden went solo. He continued performing music and did some acting. Paul McCartney said Marsden was “a mate from our early days in Liverpool” and that his group were “our biggest rivals” on the local scene. Gerry and Chad were a part of our youth, playing energetic and emotional tunes for the soundtrack of our lives. The list of those balladeers is shrinking with time.