The Story of... 'You'll Never Walk Alone', Liverpool FC's anthem

26 June 2020, 11:53 | Updated: 26 June 2020, 11:56

Liverpool fans adopted 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry and the Pacemakers as their official anthem
Liverpool fans adopted 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by Gerry and the Pacemakers as their official anthem. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

It's impossible to not think of Liverpool Football Club when singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone', but why has the Merseyside team adopted it for decades?

It has returned to the public consciousness in recent weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, due to its uplifting message, and when Michael Ball teamed up with Captain Tom Moore after the latter's charity walk for the NHS.

And then of course, Liverpool were finally crowned champions of the English Football League for the first time in 30 years.

hy do Liverpool fans sing the classic '60s tune and where did it come from? Here's all the important facts:

  1. 'You'll Never Walk Alone' meaning: Who wrote the song?

    You'll Never Walk Alone (1956)

    The song was written for the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel.

    In the second act of the musical, the character of Nettie Fowler, a cousin of the main character Julie Jordan, sings 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to comfort her when her husband Billy dies.

    It is then reprised in the final scene of the musical, to encourage a graduation class of which Louise - Billy and Julie's daughter - is now a member.

    Carousel end of the movie.

    Christine Johnson was the first person to sing it, as she first played Nettie in the original Broadway production.

    In the film version, it is first sung by Claramae Turner as Nettie.

  2. Why did Gerry and the Pacemakers cover it?

    Gerry & The Pacemakers - You'll Never Walk Alone [Official Video]

    'You'll Never Walk Alone' had been a favourite song of Liverpudlian Gerry Marsden's ever since he saw Carousel when growing up as a kid.

    In 1964, his band Gerry and the Pacemakers recorded a cover version and it reached number one in the UK.

  3. Why do Liverpool fans sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'?

    Spine tingling rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone with the Kop

    Liverpool fans were known for singing the then-current pop tunes on the terraces back in the 1960s, as Anfield was one of the first UK grounds to have its own DJ.

    Fans would thus sing along to a pre-match chart of the latest top ten hits, many of whom happened to be part of the Liverpool takeover of pop, such as The Beatles, Cilla Black and Gerry and the Pacemakers.

    'You’ll Never Walk Alone' reached the top 10 just before a home match against West Brom on October 19, 1963. While it can't be known for sure, but it is likely that this was the very first time fans sang along to the tune at Anfield.

    The song spent four weeks at number one and ten weeks inside the top ten, but fans kept on singing it long after it fell out of the chart altogether.

    By 1965, Liverpool fans can be heard singing 'You’ll Never Walk Alone' at Wembley at their FA Cup Final win over Leeds, with TV commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme describing it as “Liverpool’s signature tune”.

    RTK - The Kop On Panorama 1964

  4. What other teams sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'?

    The song was later adopted by Celtic after a 1966 Cup Winners Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Anfield. It is now sung by Celtic fans before every home European game.

    It has also been adopted by Dutch team FC Twente, after it was officially given to them by former Anfield stadiumspeaker George Septhon during the last game in the Diekman stadium.

    Also in the Netherlands, Feyenoord and SC Cambuur have adopted the song as well, as have Germany's Borussia Dortmund, 1 FSV Mainz 05, TSV 1860 Munich, Japan's FC Tokyo, Spain's CD Lugo, and Indonesia's Bali United.

    In ice hockey, it is used by Germany's Krefeld Pinguine and Croatia's Medveščak Zagreb.

  5. Who else has performed it?

    Aretha Franklin - You'll Never Walk Alone (Official Audio)

    Countless artists!

    They include:

    - Frank Sinatra
    - Roy Orbison
    - Judy Garland
    - Elvis Presley
    - Johnny Cash
    - Andy Williams
    - Olivia Newton-John
    - Doris Day
    - Pink Floyd used a recording of the Liverpool Kop choir for their song 'Fearless'
    - Queen were inspired to record 'We Are the Champions' and 'We Will Rock You' after hearing fans spontaneously sing the tune at a concert, according to Brian May
    - Barbra Streisand performed it at a surprise appearance at the close of the 2001 Emmy Awards, to pay tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks
    - Aretha Franklin
    - Barry Manilow with Cilla Black
    - Dionne Warwick
    - Glen Campbell
    - Josh Groban
    - Nina Simone
    - The Righteous Brothers
    - Robson & Jerome
    - Shirley Bassey
    - Tom Jones

    Barbra Streisand You'll Never Walk Alone .

  6. You'll Never Walk Alone lyrics:

    When you walk through a storm
    Hold your head up high
    And don't be afraid of the dark
    At the end of a 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