It’s been sung at Anfield for as long as most of us can remember. In all of football, no other song is as heavily associated with one club and its legacy.
But how did Liverpool fans come to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in the first place?
Let’s take a look at the origins of one of the beautiful game’s most iconic tunes.
Where is You’ll Never Walk Alone from?
‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ dates back to 1945, when it was written for the musical Carousel by esteemed writing partnership Rodgers and Hammerstein. The song is performed by a character named Nettie as she comforts her friend Julie following the death of her lover, Billy, after he stabs himself in the aftermath of a failed robbery. But I’m sure you picked up on all of that from the lyrics, right?
How did You’ll Never Walk Alone become associated with Liverpool?
In 1963, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers, a Mersey Beat group who, like the Beatles, were managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin.
Former Liverpool defender Tommy Smith recalls the band’s lead singer, Gerry Marsden, presenting then-manager Bill Shankly with a recording of the song prior to its release. Smith wrote: “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.”
The Liverpool squad went on to be invited onto the Ed Sullivan Show to perform the song alongside Gerry and the Pacemakers, forever intertwining the club and the song. In no time at all, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was adopted by the Liverpool faithful as an unofficial anthem of the club. Shankly is reported to have told Marsden: “Gerry, my son. I have given you a football team and you have given us a song.”
While it was common for songs to be adopted by the Liverpool fans and discarded once they dropped out of the charts, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ possessed unusual staying power – perhaps due to the intense support of Shankly. Today, you can find the words etched into the gates upon entering Anfield, plastered all over club merchandise and, of course, chanted by every fan in the stadium in the moments leading up to kick-off.
‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ will always be known as Liverpool’s song, but it’s more than that – it is an anthem of football, a paean to the emotions that this game can make us feel, and an ode to unity in the face of hardship. What started as nothing more than one song out of a dozen in a musical has taken on a new life, finding immortality in the process.
This article is brought to you by Expedia, the Official Travel Partner of Liverpool Football Club.
In episode one of Expedia’s activity centred around fan experiences of iconic football moments, we look at Liverpool legend, Jerzy Dudek, and a group of five diehard fans re-live their life-changing trip to Istanbul in 2005 to watch the Reds complete the greatest comeback in UEFA Champions League history against AC Milan.
Expedia’s ‘Nothing beats being there’ episode one on the miracle of Istanbul coming soon.