“You’ll Never Walk Alone” is such an internationally famous song and yet most people don’t know its origins.
A likely guess that it was a Broadway show tune would be correct. But there’s more to the history of the song.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote what has now become an uplifting “standard” for their 1945 stage musical, Carousel. The tandem collaborated on so many famous musicals that “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and Carousel are sometimes overlooked, among them Oklahoma! (their first collaboration); South Pacific; The King and I; and The Sound of Music.
Carousel was also produced as a motion picture and released in 1956, starring Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. (Shirley Jones sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in the movie and on the Soundtrack LP.)
In 1963, Beatles contemporaries and fellow-Liverpool pop stars Gerry & the Pacemakers recorded “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It became a #1 hit in the U.K. (Americans may better remember Gerry & the Pacemakers for their 1964 top-ten hits, “Ferry Cross The Mersey” and “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.”)
Following Gerry & the Pacemakers’ hit recording, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” became the anthem of the Liverpool Football Club [soccer]. It is frequently sung by fans just moments before the start of a game. The song is also sung by other Football Association crowds.
The song reached #1 on the U.K. charts again in 1985 when it was released as a charity record following the tragic Valley Parade stadium fire which killed over 50 people and injured hundreds. The song was performed by The Crowd which included Gerry Marsden (founder of Gerry & the Pacemakers) and Paul McCartney.
Pink Floyd fans have long known the song from “Fearless.” Released on the 1971 Meddle album, “Fearless” contains the haunting sounds of the Liverpool football fans, en masse, singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
“You’ll Never Walk Alone” has been recorded hundreds of times by some of the greatest singers the world has known, including Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Steisand and Elvis Presley, to name just a few.
Notably, it is also sung by Jerry Lewis at the conclusion of his annual Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon.