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 match day; this tradition developed at Liverpool F. Christine Johnson , who created the role of Nettie Fowler, introduced the song in the original Broadway production. 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. Progressive rock group Pink Floyd took a recording by the Liverpool Kop choir, and "interpolated" it into their own song, " Fearless ", on their album Meddle.
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You'll Never Walk Alone is perhaps the most famous song in football, and is heard before kick-off at every Liverpool match at Anfield. It has travelled around the world as the Reds have toured Europe and even further afield as five-time European champions. The story of the song and its association with Liverpool the team and the city, as well as many other footballing institutions, dates back to the s. It later spawned a number of cover versions, the most successful of which in the UK was released by Gerry and the Pacemakers in Formed by and named after lead singer Gerry Marsden pictured above , Gerry and the Pacemakers started out in and were part of the s Merseybeat scene led by The Beatles. The accepted version of events is that Marsden presented a copy of the single to Reds manager Bill Shankly during a pre-season trip that same year and, according to Tommy Smith, a player at the time, Shankly was "in awe of what he heard". Most agree that the Scottish team's fans brought it home with them after they played Liverpool at Anfield in the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals, and it is now sung before European games at Celtic Park. Since then, it has become widespread among a number of clubs.
Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You'll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of Marsden's band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in became the first to have their first three songs top the chart. Marsden was made an MBE in for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster. At the time, he said he was "over the moon" to have received the honour, following his support for numerous charities across Merseyside and beyond. Marsden's daughter, Yvette Marbeck, said he went into hospital on Boxing Day after tests showed he had a serious blood infection that had travelled to his heart. Ms Marbeck told the PA news agency: "It was a very short illness and too quick to comprehend really. He died in hospital, Ms Marbeck said, adding: "He was our dad, our hero, warm, funny and what you see is what you got.