You’ll Never Walk Alone – Lyrics and History


Liverpool fans on The Kop were one of the first groups of supporters to sing popular songs at football matches, and one of the first songs they adopted for the club was You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The song was written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, who wrote it for their musical Carousel in 1945. It was performed in the musical by the aptly named character – Nettie Fowler. The lyrics were written by Hammerstein, with Rodgers composing the music.

The famous version by Liverpool beat combo Gerry and the Pacemakers, was released in 1963 and adopted by The Kop not long after. The video below shows fans singing the song at the FA Cup final between Liverpool and Leeds United in 1965. If you watch the video fully you can distinctly hear the travelling Kop’s version of the song, and commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme comments that it is Liverpool’s signature tune.

When you walk through a storm, 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 a 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

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


Who sang it first? Liverpool or Celtic?

There is much discussion between Liverpool and Celtic fans about which group of fans first adopted the song as their own, but it is widely accepted that The Kop were the first group of fans to perform it on the terraces thanks to the local connection with Gerry and the Pacemakers, and the story that the group presented their version of the song to Bill Shankly.

From Wikipedia:
The song quickly became the anthem of Liverpool Football Club and is invariably sung by its supporters moments before the start of each home game.[11] The words “You’ll Never Walk Alone” also feature in the club crest and on the Shankly Gates entrance to Anfield, the home stadium.

According to former player Tommy Smith, Gerry Marsden presented Liverpool manager Bill Shankly with a tape recording of his forthcoming cover single during a pre-season coach trip in the summer of 1963. “Shanks was in awe of what he heard. […] Football writers from the local newspapers were travelling with our party and, thirsty for a story of any kind between games, filed copy back to their editors to the effect that we had adopted Gerry Marsden’s forthcoming single as the club song.”

There was also an article on The Guradian website which states that Liverpool fans were more than likely the original source of the song, again due to the Gerry and the Pacemakers connection. And the fact that a group of Scottish football fans might not be so aware of the musical Carousel (their stereotype, not mine!)

From The Guardian:
The song, originally written by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1945 for the Broadway musical Carousel, only became a terrace favourite after it was covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers in November 1963. Almost immediately – as footage from Panorama in 1964 shows – Liverpool supporters adopted it.

As Paul Fields points out: “Before the early 60s football fans made noise and occasionally chanted something brief (like Play Up Pompey!) but it was the Kop that started singing popular songs of the day (mainly Merseybeat songs such as Gerry and the Pacemakers’ You’ll Never Walk Alone) and later started to adapt the lyrics of songs to celebrate the team and its players.

“If any Celtic fans still claim that they sang it first, it would have to predate Gerry’s version. Now can you really see thousands of working class Glaswegians in the 50s/early 60s spontaneously joining in a sing-along from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical?” No, us neither.

Finally, here is the video for the Gerry and the Pacemakers version.


  64 Responses to “You’ll Never Walk Alone – Lyrics and History”

  1. […] wie man sie heute kennt, liegen in den 1960er Jahren (vgl. Kopiez/Brink 2010: 65 ff.; siehe auch hier). Fußballanhänger im KOP, der Stehtribüne des 1. FC Liverpool, sangen (vermutlich […]

  2. […] And football. Jakob would not let me come home without a Luis Suarez jersey. Liverpool FC is back on the rise, with the most exciting team in decades. YNWA. […]

  3. […] Liverpool fans refused to let her walk alone and they tweeted her a direct message which read, “@Gorgxous_ Just to let you know that we […]

  4. I would like to hear the song, it was used by our pasted on the radio broadcast each airing at Green Pastures Christian Mins. Inc. In the 80’s.

  5. I think this song has a place in every true English man and scots mans heart it belongs to us all.

  6. you will never walk alone

  7. What a great song

  8. Come on liverpool win the fa cup

  9. […] […]

  10. Excellent win lads keep it up!!!

  11. I’m black and a Nigerian, also a Liverpool fan but I see this song as an epitome of strength and courage to everyone living or dead. For the kop, YNWA!!

  12. your never win again

    • Your English is appalling, please don’t embarrass yourself further.

  13. I am a strong Liverpool supporter from Cape Town , South Africa. I believe the YNWA ANTHEMS should be played often during the liverpool games irrespective as the ANTHEM is mentally uplifting and gives u added at the worst of times.Colin Permall, Northpine , Brakenfell, South Africa – The Fairest Cape of the World. 10th August 2015

  14. […] Britain, in general, is known for its obsession with football, but the North is where the feel action takes place. The North of England is where some of the giants of world football ply their trade, such as Liverpool and Manchester United. On show are some the best players on the planet in some of the most iconic stadiums, which makes it a truly unforgettable experience. You will never forget the first time you hear the ‘Kop’ sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. […]

  15. Looking for the actress who played in this movie “You’ll never walk Alone” I believe sometime in the 50’s I saw it

  16. Who cares who sang it first. Whether Celtic or Liverpool. What’s the problem?? It means something to both sets of fans. I support Celtic and when we start to sing this song it sends shivers down my spine. I feel a sense of belonging. In a way united (not Man Utd or Dundee Utd lol). This and fields of athenry are my favourite. It brings the atmosphere to light at park head, even when we are awful hah!

  17. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  18. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  19. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  20. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  21. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  22. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  23. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  24. All I know is that it’s sung at the end of Pink Floyd’s “Fearless”

  25. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  26. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  27. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  28. Guy who first sung it in association with football is now in his 90s was Hughie McDevitt (formerly Castlemilk; now Stonehouse). He and his friend Frank (accordian) used to sing the song around Bridgeton area a few years after it released as music hall song. It became popular in clubs and bars so they made it their farewell song at end of night. As they became popular they supplimented their income playing during the weekend in the late 1950s early 60s and regularly sung in afternoon sessions for the punters who then went on to the games (this included workers from Liverpool who stayed in Glasgow working on housing and roads projects; some stayed in Maryhill)….anyhows one day a group of Celtic supporters came back after the game at Parkhead and told Hughie and Frank that they had been signing their song at the game (this was long before Gerry and the Pacemakers released their version)…..around same time workers from Liverpool also adopted song too but it was sung well before the Pacemakers version. The auld fella now lives a few doors away from me and still plays.

  29. I’m a united fan and I think I have the answer to you’ll never walk alone back in those days there were not many player songs but prior to games pop music was played and Liverpool and Everton sang every song with gusto as this was in the charts for a few weeks it must have become a favourite and you lot never seemed to get fed up of it think the funniest thing with it was the 71 cup final when Arsenal had no song of there own had good old Arsenal written for that final

  30. They’ll be singing “walk out walk out” on Saturday lol

  31. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  32. This is why we have the largest fan base in the world!

  33. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  34. […] 5.Why do Liverpool fans sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’? […]

  35. I heard a rummour that it was sung at Old trafford way before it was sung at Evertons old ground (Anfield), for the Munich air crash in 1958. This was years before Liverpool won anything silver. YNWA – Old Trafford 1958, ha ha LOL!

  36. […] […]

  37. […] […]

  38. […] […]

  39. […] […]

  40. my dentist ( Pennsylvania, USA) has a Liverpool F.C. banner in his office. Several years have passed since i first read it., the motto, Y.N.W.A. Has struck a cord. YNWA will be my first ink

  41. Author of book on BvB Dortmund relates history of how the song travelled to Germany … including via an Ipswich hard rock version and the alternative club team St Paulli.

  42. […] Families of the victims showed their relief outside court by singing the Liverpool football club anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone“. […]

  43. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” — Mahatma Gandhi

  44. I have always loved this song it has played a big part in my life and my relationship with my Lord

  45. #YES
    Good song

  46. This song brings me both tears and pride whenever played!
    I lost a scouse mate and my Gran this year. They had this as their song. It put me at peace saying goodbye, for now, untill we would meet again someday. My fav song forever.
    Of course, I support the mighty ‘Pool too!

  47. Used to get Scotsport as a kid in Scotland, highlights of Scottish Saturday matches and one English game – there is no way Celtic fans were singing this first.

  48. Our Val loved Liverpool FC with a passion. Many tears will fall for her every time this song is heard. RIP my dear friend.

  49. […] Walk on, walk on With hope in your heart And you’ll never walk alone You’ll never walk alone […]

  50. The most sacred team song in sport; and may the Good L-rd bless our team, our fans, our hard workers, our great manager, our team heritage and alumni and all who sing YNWA……and that team is and will always be our Reds…..Liverpool forever…

  51. […] […]

  52. Steve Ritchie has just sung Liverpool’s YNWA @TheFBAs Football Blogging Awards at Old Trafford. home of Man Utd.

  53. I’m an American who has become a European football fanatic. Most of the matches televised here in the States are the top clubs – so we see Liverpool often. For some reason, and perhaps it’s because it was my Mother’s favorite song, I cry every time the Liverpool fans sing before the matches. It is a beautiful song, and the story of how it came to be Liverpool’s theme is very interesting. I was wondering about the history. Thanks everyone for the informative comments.

  54. Oh, what a shame I never knew this!……..I have been an LFC supporter as long as I can remember, 1950-51, because my father`s brother married a Liverpoodlian lady in 1942, and I often visit my cousin there. We have kept in touch all the time since. Unfortunately, my uncle were torpedoed and killed by the Germans in a convoy from Liverpool to New York, March 1943……….Maybe this song and lyric has been latent
    in my soul since then….. I love it anyhow, and often visit Anfield!!……….Roar Eikhaug, Bergen Norway.

  55. The singing of YNWA is very moving when sung at every Lpool game; it brings a lump in the throat.One of football’s great experiences.

  56. The song was written by Rogers and Hammerstein for their musical Carousel and taken over by the Liverpool FC, no mention ever seems to be made of the two amazing people who wrote the music and lyrics! What a laugh!!!

  57. […] 1965 – one of the earliest versions  […]


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