Why Liverpool Football Fans Sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ by Gerry and the Pacemakers

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

There is an anthem that resounds through Anfield, the home of Liverpool Football Club. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is sung en masse by a stadium full of Reds supporters before the start of every home game.

The song was written by Oscar Hammerstein II and composed by Richard Rodgers for their 1945 musical, Carousel. But how did a show tune from an American musical make its way across the Atlantic to become the iconic rallying song of an English sports team?

A song of hope and camaraderie during hardship, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” spawned many a cover. One of those covers was a 1963 version by the famed local group, Gerry and the Pacemakers. Their song saw the most success of all the iterations, earning them a chart-topping tune and a place in hometown football history.

Around the time of Gerry and the Pacemaker’s release, a Liverpool player, Tommy Smith, showed the single to the team’s manager, Bill Shankly. Shankly was “in awe of what he heard,” according to Smith. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was adopted as the new club song not long after that first listen.

The song has lived on as Liverpool’s anthem for decades with other English football teams incorporating the tune during their games, as well. But “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has since developed a new meaning and is now a song of remembrance for the Liverpool club. After the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 in which 96 fans lost their lives, the lyrics are even more profound as they resound throughout the stadium. Liverpool fans, even those long since gone, will never walk alone.

The Lyrics

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark

At the end of a storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
For 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

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

Pink Floyd included a haunting sample of a crowded stadium singing the anthem on their 1971 song “Fearless.” Listen for it at the end.

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