You'll Never Walk Alone

Last updated

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Genre Show tune
Composer(s) Richard Rodgers
Lyricist(s) Oscar Hammerstein II

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel . In the second act of the musical, Nettie Fowler, the cousin of the protagonist Julie Jordan, sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" to comfort and encourage Julie when her husband, Billy Bigelow, the male lead, falls on his knife and dies after a failed robbery attempt. It is reprised in the final scene to encourage a graduation class of which Louise (Billy and Julie's daughter) is a member. The now invisible Billy, who has been granted the chance to return to Earth for one day in order to redeem himself, watches the ceremony and is able to silently motivate the unhappy Louise to join in the song.


The song is also sung at association football clubs around the world, where it is performed by a massed chorus of supporters on matchday; this tradition developed at Liverpool F.C. after the chart success of the 1963 single of the song by the local Liverpool group Gerry and the Pacemakers. [1]

"You'll Never Walk Alone" has rapidly become the world-wide anthem to show support for and encouragement to medical staff, first responders, those impacted by, under restrictions or in quarantine because of the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic.


Christine Johnson, who created the role of Nettie Fowler, introduced the song in the original Broadway production. [2] Later in the show Jan Clayton, as Julie Jordan, reprised it, with the chorus joining in.

In the film, it is first sung by Claramae Turner as Nettie. The weeping Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones) tries to sing it but cannot; it is later reprised by Julie and those attending the graduation.

Subsequent history

Besides the recordings of the song on the Carousel cast albums and the film soundtrack, the song has been recorded by many artists, with notable hit versions made by Roy Hamilton, [3] Frank Sinatra, Roy Orbison, Billy Eckstine, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Lee Towers, Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Johnny Maestro and The Brooklyn Bridge, Olivia Newton-John and Doris Day. Progressive rock group Pink Floyd took a recording by the Liverpool Kop choir, and "interpolated" it into their own song, "Fearless", on their 1971 album Meddle .

From 1964 through 2010, Jerry Lewis concluded the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day MDA Telethon by singing the song. [4] After the end of a concert by the rock band Queen, the audience spontaneously sang this song, according to lead guitarist Brian May, [5] and this helped to inspire the creation of their songs "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You". Italian-American tenor Sergio Franchi sang a notable version accompanied by the Welsh Men's Choir on the 9 June 1968 telecast of The Ed Sullivan Show. [6] He also covered this song in his 1964 RCA Victor album The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi.

In 1990 at the Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa concert at Wembley Stadium, London, the audience spontaneously broke out into a mass rendition. Mandela turned to Adelaide Tambo who accompanied him onto the stage and asked what the song was. She replied, "A football song".

American singer Barbra Streisand performed this song in a surprise appearance at the close of the 2001 Emmy Awards, in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks. [7] To mark the first anniversary of the attacks, Renée Fleming sang the song at the Concert for America. [8] Fleming sang the song again at the Inauguration of Barack Obama on January 20, 2009. [9]

In 2010, the song was sung during the Last Night of the Proms, with the choir at the Royal Albert Hall in London joined by crowds of the public from Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland; Caird Hall, Dundee; Hyde Park, London; Salford, Greater Manchester; and Wales, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Oscar Hammerstein II. [10]

It has been the song of the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps song since 1954, where they first performed it as a part of their first field show in 1954. Challenged by the Rosemont Cavaliers singing "Over the Rainbow" in 1957, the corps responded with "You'll Never Walk Alone", and it has been the official corps song ever since.

Punk band Dropkick Murphys covered the song for their 2017 album 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory . Vocalist/bassist Ken Casey said in a December 2016 interview discussing the reason behind their version. "As you may know, opiate overdoses are an epidemic in America now particularly in (the Boston) area. I've been to thirty wakes in two years, three this week, one being my cousin, Al's lost a brother in law. It's hit home close to us. I was leaving one of the wakes and this song came on and as I was listening to the lyrics it summed up exactly how I was feeling. Sad, but knowing there is hope. You never have to be alone. I hope you like our version".

Lee Towers has been performing the song from an aerial work platform at the start of every Rotterdam Marathon since 1995.

Sporting anthem

Liverpool F.C.

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Single by Gerry and the Pacemakers
from the album How Do You Like It
B-side "It's All Right"
ReleasedOctober 1963
Format 7"
Recorded2 July 1963
Studio EMI Studios, London [11]
Genre Merseybeat, baroque pop
Label Columbia (EMI) (UK), Laurie Records (US)
Composer(s) Richard Rodgers
Lyricist(s) Oscar Hammerstein II
Producer(s) George Martin

In the UK, the song's most successful cover was released in 1963 by the Liverpudlian Merseybeat group Gerry and the Pacemakers, peaking at number one on the UK singles chart for four consecutive weeks. Sung by Liverpool fans in 1963, the song quickly became the football anthem of Liverpool F.C., which adopted "You'll Never Walk Alone" as its official motto on its coat of arms. The song is sung by its supporters moments before the start of each home game at Anfield with the Gerry and the Pacemakers version played over the public address system. [1] [12] [13] In 2013, the 50th anniversary of the song being sung on the Kop, Simon Hart of The Independent writes, "Five decades on, the pre-match, scarfs-raised, sing-it-loud ritual is as much a part of Liverpool's fabric as their red shirts, its words written in wrought iron on the gates of their stadium." [1]

According to former player Tommy Smith, lead vocalist Gerry Marsden presented Liverpool manager Bill Shankly with a 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." [14] The squad was subsequently invited to perform the track with the band on The Ed Sullivan Show with Marsden stating, "Bill came up to me. He said, 'Gerry my son, I have given you a football team and you have given us a song'." [1]

The 'Shankly Gates' entrance to Liverpool's home stadium Anfield Shankly Gates.jpg
The 'Shankly Gates' entrance to Liverpool's home stadium Anfield

Shankly picked the song as his eighth and final selection for the BBC's Desert Island Discs on the eve of the 1965 FA Cup Final. [15] As Liverpool fans sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Wembley during the 1965 FA Cup Final win over Leeds, commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme referred to it as "Liverpool's signature tune". [16] Marsden told BBC Radio how, in the 1960s, the disc jockey at Anfield would play the top ten commercial records in descending order, with the number one single played last, shortly before kickoff. Liverpool fans on the Kop would sing along, but unlike with other hit singles, once "You'll Never Walk Alone" dropped out of the top ten, instead of disregarding the song, supporters continued to sing it. [17] [18] In retirement, as his granddaughter Karen Gill recollects, Shankly would get out the gramophone and “put the record on and play it, so we would hear it in the house.” [1]

In his commentary on the memorial service following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, Peter Jones recited the lyrics, which were then sung by a cathedral choir. Aretha Franklin's recording of the song was played by John Peel in his first show following the disaster, when he became too upset to carry on broadcasting for a period. In 2019, during a Take That concert at Anfield, lead singer and Liverpool fan Gary Barlow brought out a guest vocalist, Gerry Marsden – who had come out of retirement for the performance – and they sang the club's anthem “You'll Never Walk Alone”. [19]

Other teams

The song was adopted by Scottish team Celtic after a 1966 Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Anfield, and is now sung by Celtic fans prior to every home European tie, [1] [16] [20] and later by Germany's Borussia Dortmund who Liverpool went on to play in the cup final. [1]

The song has also been adopted by Dutch team FC Twente after it was officially given to them by the Anfield stadium speaker George Sephton during the last game in the Diekman stadium, before moving to the new Arke Stadion. [21] Today, Twente fans sing the song before every home game. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, Feyenoord and SC Cambuur have adopted the song as well.

Additional football teams which now use the song include 1. FSV Mainz 05, TSV 1860 Munich, Belgium's Club Brugge KV and KV Mechelen, Japan's F.C. Tokyo, [22] Spain's CD Lugo, [23] Greece's PAOK and Indonesia's Bali United. [24] In ice hockey, the song has been adopted by German Deutsche Eishockey Liga side Krefeld Pinguine and Croatian Medveščak Zagreb.

A special recording of the song was made in solidarity with Bradford City following the Valley Parade fire in 1985, when 56 spectators died and many more were seriously injured. The song was performed by The Crowd, which was a supergroup featuring Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney and others, and spent two weeks at number one in the UK.

Some years later, after witnessing a rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Anfield in 2007, the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, said he felt inspired to seek lyrics to his country's wordless national anthem, the Marcha Real, ahead of Madrid's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games. [25] [26]

During the 2014 Hong Kong protests, legislator Tam Yiu Chung quoted the song during a Legislative Council of Hong Kong meeting, to salute the Hong Kong Police, [27] who had received widespread criticism for using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters. More than 2,000 Liverpool Football Club fans in Hong Kong condemned his inappropriate use of the song, comparing his support of the police action to the police actions in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, where South Yorkshire Police were found to have distorted facts relating to the unlawful killing by negligence of 96 Liverpool supporters. [28] [29] [30]

On 13 March 2016, after Borussia Dortmund's 2–0 win against 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga, supporters of both teams performed the song to commemorate a Dortmund fan who died from a cardiac arrest in the stands during the game. [31]

Recorded versions

Related Research Articles

Liverpool F.C. Association football club in England

Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. The club has won six European Cups, more than any other English club, three UEFA Cups, four UEFA Super Cups, one FIFA Club World Cup, eighteen League titles, seven FA Cups, a record eight League Cups, one Football League Super Cup and fifteen FA Community Shields.

Gerry and the Pacemakers British band

Gerry and the Pacemakers were an English beat group prominent in the 1960s Merseybeat scene. In common with the Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein, and were recorded by George Martin.

Anfield Football stadium, home of Liverpool F.C.

Anfield is a football stadium in Anfield, Liverpool, Merseyside, England, which has a seating capacity of 54,074, making it the seventh largest football stadium in England. It has been the home of Liverpool F.C. since their formation in 1892. It was originally the home of Everton F.C. from 1884 to 1891, before they moved to Goodison Park after a dispute with the club president.

Bill Shankly Scottish footballer and manager

William Shankly was a Scottish football player and manager, who is best known for his time as manager of Liverpool. Shankly brought success to Liverpool, gaining promotion to the First Division and winning three League Championships and the UEFA Cup. He laid foundations on which his successors Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan were able to build by winning seven league titles and four European Cups in the ten seasons after Shankly retired in 1974. A charismatic, iconic figure at the club, his oratory stirred the emotions of the fanbase. In 2019, 60 years after Shankly arrived at Liverpool, Tony Evans of The Independent wrote, “Shankly created the idea of Liverpool, transforming the football club by emphasising the importance of the Kop and making supporters feel like participants.”

Football chant song or chant usually sung at association football matches by fans

A football chant or terrace chant is a song or chant usually sung at association football matches by fans. The chants can be simple, consisting of a few loud shouts or spoken words, but more often they are short song verses and sometimes longer songs. They are typically performed repetitively, sometimes accompanied by handclapping, but occasionally they may be more elaborate involving musical instruments, props or choreographed routines. They are often adaptations of popular songs, using their tunes as the basis of the chants, but some are entirely original. Football chants are most often used by fans to encourage the home team or express their pride in the team, and they may be sung to celebrate a particular player or manager. Fans may also use football chants to slight the opposition, and many fans sing songs about their club rivals, even when they are not playing them. Sometimes the chants are spontaneous reactions to events on the pitch.

Gerry Marsden British musician

Gerard Marsden MBE is a retired English musician and television personality, best known for being leader of the Merseybeat band Gerry and the Pacemakers.

Ferry Cross the Mersey single

"Ferry Cross the Mersey" is a song written by Gerry Marsden. It was first recorded by his band Gerry and the Pacemakers and released in late 1964 in the UK and in 1965 in the United States. It was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching number six in the United States and number eight in the UK. The song is from the film of the same name and was released on its soundtrack album. In the mid-1990s a musical theatre production also titled Ferry Cross the Mersey related Gerry Marsden's Merseybeat days; it premiered in Liverpool and played in the UK, Australia, and Canada.

Fearless (Pink Floyd song) song by Pink Floyd

"Fearless" is the third track on the 1971 album Meddle by Pink Floyd. This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album, Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.

The Crowd was a charity supergroup formed specifically to produce a charity record for the Bradford City stadium fire, in which 56 people died on 11 May 1985. The group consisted of singers, actors, television personalities and others.

Music of Liverpool

Liverpool has a lengthy tradition of music both classical and pop. It is well known for The Beatles. Its pop and rock music scene has also been important in the development of a number of other bands and artists since the 1950s.

1989 FA Cup Final

The 1989 FA Cup Final was the final of the 1988–89 FA Cup, the top football knockout competition in England. The match was a Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton, played at Wembley Stadium, London, on 20 May 1989. Liverpool won 3–2 after extra time, with goals from John Aldridge and two from Ian Rush. Stuart McCall scored both Everton goals. The final was played only five weeks after the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans were killed in a crush, and before kick-off there was a minute's silence and the teams wore black armbands as a sign of respect. Gerry Marsden, lead singer of Gerry & the Pacemakers, led the crowd in a rendition of his hit "You'll Never Walk Alone", which had become synonymous with Liverpool Football Club.

Roy Hamilton American musician

Roy Hamilton was an American singer. By combining semi-classical technique with traditional black gospel feeling, he brought soul to Great American Songbook singing.

How Do You Do It? original song written and composed by Mitch Murray

"How Do You Do It?" was the debut single by Liverpudlian band Gerry and the Pacemakers. The song reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on 11 April 1963, where it stayed for three weeks.

"Climb Ev'ry Mountain" is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. It is sung at the close of the first act by the Mother Abbess. It is themed as an inspirational piece, to encourage people to take every step toward attaining their dreams.

<i>Ferry Cross the Mersey</i> (film) 1965 film by Jeremy Summers

Ferry Cross the Mersey is a 1965 musical film featuring Gerry and the Pacemakers. It is frequently considered to be their version of the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night.

Stephen F. Kelly is an English author and broadcaster, born in Liverpool, England in June 1946 and educated at Park High Grammar School for Boys Birkenhead. He is the author of many books, mostly on football and in particular on Liverpool Football Club. He has written a number of biographies of football managers including Bill Shankly, Sir Alex Ferguson, Kenny Dalglish and Gerard Houllier as well as an oral history of Liverpool Football Club. He was one of the first writers in Britain to explore sport through oral history, not only with The Kop but also with his oral history of Manchester United Football Club, Red Voices, and a further book on Liverpool, The Bootroom Boys. His other books include a novel, Mr Shankly's Photograph which tells the story of a young boy growing up in Liverpool during the 1960s with a fascination for Liverpool Football Club, the Cavern and The Beatles. His study of life in Britain during the 1950s, "You've never Had It So Good' was published in April 2012. His most recent book,'British Soldiers of the Korean War: In Their Own Words' is an oral history of the Korean War between 1950–53 and is published by the History Press. He was appointed Honorary Visiting Professor at the University of Chester in 2012.

Spirit of Shankly

Spirit Of Shankly (SOS) is an unofficial supporters' union for fans of Liverpool F.C.. Named after former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, although the union was formed in early 2008 by disgruntled fans opposed to the former Liverpool F.C. ownership of Tom Hicks and George N. Gillett, Jr., it quickly developed into a cooperative representing its members on a whole range of issues such as ticketing, travel and community and regeneration issues. Its ultimate aim is to seek fan ownership of LFC in the long term.

"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" is a song written by Gerry Marsden, Freddie Marsden, Les Chadwick and Les Maguire, the members of British beat group Gerry and the Pacemakers. It was first recorded and issued as a single by Louise Cordet in February 1964. Shortly after Cordet's version failed to chart, the song was recorded by Gerry and The Pacemakers themselves in April 1964. The Gerry and The Pacemakers recording became an international hit, and remains one of their best known singles.

Gary Howard British actor and musician

Gary William Howard is a British musician and actor. Formerly best known as a member of the a cappella group The Flying Pickets, in more recent years he is known for his roles in the film Gosford Park and the television sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

George Sephton is a stadium announcer, matchday DJ, and after dinner speaker, known primarily for his work at Anfield for home fixtures of Liverpool Football Club. He is popularly known as The Voice of Anfield, and is England's second longest-serving stadium announcer, behind Peter Gilham of Brentford.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Hart, Simon (October 25, 2013). "Anfield's 50 years of never walking alone". The Independent. Retrieved April 6, 2015. Gerry and the Pacemakers’ version hit No 1 in October 1963, it was picked up by the Kop and the game’s greatest anthem was born
  2. "You'll Never Walk Alone (original version 1945)". Youtube. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  3. 1 2 Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 3 - The Tribal Drum: The rise of rhythm and blues. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles . University of North Texas Libraries.
  4. "Milestones: Retiring: Jerry Lewis", Time magazine, May 30, 2011, p. 17
  5. Interview with Tom Browne for BBC Radio One, broadcast Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 1977
  6. "SOFA Entertainment - Ed Sullivan Show".
  7. Streisand's stage fright spiked with thought of terror, By Edna Gundersen, USA Today, December 12, 2001
  8. Scott Simon (April 28, 2018). "'Carousel' Returns To Broadway". Weekend Edition Saturday . NPR. Retrieved April 30, 2018.: "SIMON: ... 'You'll Never Walk Alone' - you sang this at the Obama inauguration too, didn't you? FLEMING: Yes, and also the 9/11 memorial a year after the attacks."
  9. Gallo, Phil (January 18, 2009). "We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration". Variety . RBI. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  10. "Last Night: Last Night of the Proms, Royal Albert Hall, London". The Independent. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  11. "Gerry's Datebook".
  12. Nik Brumsack. The story of 'You'll Never Walk Alone',, April 14, 2014.
  13. Liverpool vs. Leeds United on YouTube, F.A. Cup Final, BBC, 1965. "The song was covered by Liverpool group Gerry & The Pacemakers in 1963. At this time, supporters standing on the Spion Kop terrace at Anfield began singing popular chart songs of the day. The mood was captured on camera by a BBC Panorama camera crew in 1964. One year later, when Liverpool faced Leeds in the cup final, the travelling Kop sang the same song and match commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme commended the 'Liverpool signature tune'." Paul Coslett, “You'll Never Walk Alone”. BBC Online. June 9, 2008.
  14. Smith, Tommy. Anfield Iron, Bantam Press, p. 68-69
  15. “Bill Shankly, Desert island Discs”. BBC. Monday 26 April 1965.
  16. 1 2 Why Liverpool fans sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. FourFourTwo . Retrieved 10 October 2016
  17. Cavanagh, John. "The History of You'll Never Walk Alone", BBC Songlines, 2006.
  18. Morgan, John. "The Other Mersey Sound", BBC Panorama, 1964.
  19. "Take That and Gerry Marsden bring Anfield to a standstill with heartwarming You'll Never Walk Alone". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  20. Aldred, Jessica. Liverpool or Celtic: who Walked Alone first? The Guardian. March 12, 2003.
  21. Whyatt, Chris. McClaren's new charges BBC. August 13, 2008.
  22. Nagatomo tells Japan "You'll never walk alone", The mainichi Daily News. March 2011.
  23. anfieldcarro (June 30, 2011). ""You´ll never walk alone" polo Anfield Carro PUNTO PELOTA" via YouTube.
  24. Chants, North Side Boys 12. "Bali United YNWA". Youtube. Youtube. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  25. Liverpool fans inspire Spain to write words to anthem, Reuters. June 5, 2005
  26. Spain to add lyrics to wordless national anthem, NBC News. June 26, 2007.
  27. Legistrative Council Record.
  28. 香港特別行政區立法會 (October 16, 2014). "立法會會議 (2014/10/16) - IV. 立法會休會待續議案 - 根據《議事規則》第16(2)條動議的立法會休會待續議案 (第五部分)" via YouTube.
  29. "利迷聯署強烈譴責:譚耀宗勿侮辱YNWA - Yahoo奇摩新聞".
  30. Hong Kong Legislative Council Record 08:07:18 - 08:07:35
  31. Whaling, James (March 13, 2016). "Borussia Dortmund fan dies from heart attack during Bundesliga match against Mainz". Daily Mirror . Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  32. John The Punk. "Welcome to The Adicts Official Website!". Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  33. "Cilla Black Discography: You'll Never Walk Alone (duet with Barry Manilow) – Single" . Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  34. "Richard Rogers: You'll Never Walk Alone - Last Night of the BBC Proms 2012". BBC YouTube channel. September 8, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  35. "Stages — Josh Groban". iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
  36. "Joyce contributes to highly anticipated new recording: Rogers & Hammerstein at the Movies". August 22, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  37. Recorded for Capitol Records Archived April 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Judy Garland with Orchestra conducted, by Norrie Paramor, August 3, 1960.
  38. It's Raining In My Heart (LP/MC) (Goud & Platina) 1976
  39. "You'll Never Walk Alone". Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  41. Columbia Catalog Number DB4816"
  42. "You'll Never Walk Alone". (Liverpool FC's Channel). Retrieved December 27, 2011.