Condolences offered to the fans, friends and family of the irrepressible Gerry Marsden, the smiling, spirited leader of Gerry and the Pacemakers and a cultural ambassador for Liverpool over the last 56 years. Marsden died yesterday at age 78.

I wouldn’t call Gerry and the Pacemakers a one-note, flash-in-the-pan group, but they pretty much stopped mattering when serious British bands began shifting out of spunky pop formula and into the next phase (deeper lyrics, complex recordings, psychedelic imaginings) in ’66 or thereabouts.

Their big songs were “How Do You Do It?”, “I Like It”, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'” and “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.

In any event we can’t all be lion tamers. Gerry is/was a beloved figure among long-of-tooth Liverpudlians. The poor guy had ticker troubles going back to a triple bypass heart operation in ’03. Marsden had a second heart operation in 2016. He announced his retirement in November 2018.