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.

YNWA

  6 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 […]

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