Sunday, 3 March 2013

Liverpool F.C. - "You'll Never Walk Alone"

Liverpool F.C. is easily one of the most famous clubs in world football. With a history that encapsulates both glory and tragedy, it's only fitting for them to have one of the greatest and most recognisable club songs in modern times. That song is of course "You'll Never Walk Alone", an uplifting anthem that has become synonymous with the Merseyside club and their fiercely loyal fanbase.

(Photo from Premier League Critic)

As with many traditional football songs, it had a very different beginning. Oddly enough, the song was originally written as a show tune. Featuring in the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel, the song is sung by a character called Nettie Fowler to comfort her recently widowed cousin. It is again performed in the final scene to celebrate a class graduation, just going to show the range of emotions that the track can cover.

It began it's transition towards the terraces following a cover of the song by Merseybeat band Gerry & The Pacemakers. Released in October 1963, it peaked at number 1 in the UK singles chart, eventually staying there for four consecutive weeks.

 Gerry & The Pacemakers
(photo from Hump Day Rock Music)

 At the time, the resident DJ at Anfield stadium (the team's ground) would play the radio's Top 10 chart before games to warm up the crowd. However, when "You'll Never Walk Alone" was played at number 1, something bizarre began to happen soon after. Fans began to sing the song themselves, which wasn't unusual in itself, apart from the fact that they did this long after it left the charts.

Since then, it has been sung before every home game and on several other occasions, whether the team are winning or losing. It has also become somewhat of a slogan for the club, featuring on their crest and also adorning the famous Shankly gates.

 The Shankly gates
(photo from LIverweb)

Despite being timeless in the football world, it has also recently made a re-entry into the Singles Charts. Following an online campaign by Liverpool fans in September 2012 to raise awareness of the tragic Hillsborough accident, the track entered the charts at number 12, selling 28,000 copies in just 24 hours.

Now let's have a listen to the song, complete with the original video.

Now it's time to get the fans' opinions once more, which I collected from the LFCReds fan forum. Due to the fanbase questioned and also the nature of the song, I was almost certain there would be no negativity whatsoever.

Neil (40), from Plymouth, said, "It always brings a lump to my throat and gives me goosepimples. In a kind of perverse way, I especially love it when we're losing and the fans still sing it."

Jackson (20), from Warrington, explained the effect it had on fans. "When I've seen games, both on TV and at Anfield, I've seen it reduce grown men to tears. It always brings a tear to my eye too. It's that emotional."

Gary (25), from Kent, spoke about what the song means to him. "When I hear it, it's split into both happy and sad thoughts. It reminds me of the joys of Istanbul (Champions League victory) and the '01 treble season, but also brings to mind the tragedies of Hillsborough, the Heysel stadium disaster and even the Munich air disaster."

Clint (52), from Manchester, went one step further. "To me, it's like The Bible for Christians, The Qur'an for Muslims and science for atheists. It's our religion and we go to it when we feel low. It gives us pride and joy."

From this, it's clear to see exactly what "You'll Never Walk Alone" means to the club and their fans. It's not just a song. It's a religion and a way of life.

Thanks for reading and to all those who gave their opinions! I'll be back soon to explore some more of football's greatest songs!

No comments:

Post a Comment