The Sixties Gold Tour – headlined by Gerry and the Pacemakers – will be calling in at Gateshead Sage on 12th October.

As well as the headliners, the tour will feature The Searchers, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Love Affair vocalist Steve Ellis, and Vanity Fair. Between them, these groups have enjoyed over 50 Top 30 hits.

It will be the second time the Sixties Gold Tour has hit the road, following a very successful run of shows last year.

This tour will, however, be especially poignant to lovers of Sixties music as it will be the last major tour undertaken by Gerry and the Pacemakers, whose hits include How Do You Do It? and I Like It.

A Merseybeat band, Gerry and the Pacemakers grew up in Liverpool alongside The Beatles and played with them at the legendary Star Club in Hamburg.

Lead singer Gerry Marsden said, “I’d known the lads for years before we toured together. John was my best mate. We were always having a laugh and playing the odd prank.”

Though The Beatles were the first Liverpool band to chart, Gerry and the Pacemakers were the first to score a number one. Not only did their first single top the charts, but their next two singles did as well.

The band had six top five hits, which spent a total of 128 weeks in the charts, and led to record sales in excess of 50 million.

Of their early success, Gerry Marsden said, “When it eventually sank in, it felt fantastic and then when we realised we were the first band to ever achieve that it felt even more incredible.”

The band had initially wanted to call themselves Gerry Marsden and the Mars Bars. Gerry said, “We chose the name and my dad said he should write to Mars for permission. The letter came back with a refusal.”

“But my dad being my dad, he sent them a letter after the chart hits to let them know it was us. They sent a letter back saying we could use the name after all if we wanted to. My dad sent them a very short reply. Ha! Ha!”

Gerry and the Pacemakers were signed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein and they also worked with The Beatles’ producer George Martin, who would later be responsible for Sgt Pepper.

Gerry said, “They were both gentlemen. George was very knowledgeable about music and Brian was a great manager.”

One famous song Gerry wrote was Ferry Cross the Mersey. The band also starred in a film of the same name.

Gerry said, “The film was a great laugh to make and I got loads of mates in on it as extras, ha, ha.”

“As for the title song itself, the tune came to me one evening when I was taking my girlfriend Pauline, who is now my wife, to dinner.”

“I was driving along by the docks and the tune came to me. I found a phone box, rang me mam and got her to record me humming the tune. I had to apologise to Pauline, took her home then dashed to my house.”

“I listened to the tape recorder and 15 minutes later I had the song.”

Another track associated with Gerry and the Pacemakers is You’ll Never Walk Alone. It is the Pacemakers’ version of this song that is sung by Liverpool fans.

Gerry said, “It is a great honour for me that the fans and club took up my version as their anthem. I still get the odd goose bump even now when I hear them singing it.”

The Pacemakers split up in 1966, but Gerry put the band back together in 1974 and they have been touring ever since. Of his upcoming semi-retirement, Gerry said, “It is my farewell tour as in not doing 20 or 30 one-nighters anymore. I will keep working selective gigs, but just start to take things a little easier.”

The Sixties Gold Tour will come to Gateshead Sage on Thursday, 12th October 2017. The show starts at 7.30 pm, with tickets costing £38.20. To book, please go to http://www.sagegateshead.com/event/sixties-gold-the-more-than-50-hits-line-up/ or telephone 0191 443 4661.

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