You'll Never Walk Alone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
You'll Never Walk Alone sheet music.png
c. mid-1940s US sheet music
GenreShow tune
Composer(s)Richard Rodgers
Lyricist(s)Oscar Hammerstein II

"You'll Never Walk Alone" is a show tune from the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. 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, stabs himself with a knife whilst trying to run away after attempting a robbery with his mate Jigger and dies in her arms. The song 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 Louise and Julie to join in with 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.C. after the chart success of the 1963 single of the song by the local Liverpool group Gerry and the Pacemakers.[1] In some areas of the UK and Europe, "You'll Never Walk Alone" became the anthem of support for medical staff, first responders, and those in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2] The composition is sometimes treated by performers as a religious song, such as with the 1967 version by Elvis Presley, which was featured on several of his gospel albums.


Christine Johnson, who created the role of Nettie Fowler, introduced the song in the original Broadway production.[3] Later in the show Jan Clayton, as Julie Jordan, reprised it, with the chorus joining in.

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.

Gerry and the Pacemakers version[edit]

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and the Pacemakers.jpg
Single by Gerry and the Pacemakers
from the album How Do You Like It?
B-side"It's All Right"
ReleasedOctober 1963
Recorded2 July 1963
StudioEMI Studios, London[4]
GenreMerseybeat, baroque pop
LabelColumbia (EMI) (UK), Laurie Records (US)
Composer(s)Richard Rodgers
Lyricist(s)Oscar Hammerstein II
Producer(s)George Martin
Gerry and the Pacemakers singles chronology
"I Like It"
"You'll Never Walk Alone"
"I'm the One"

In the UK, the song's most successful cover was released in 1963 by the Liverpudlian Merseybeat group Gerry and the Pacemakers, peaking at number one on the UK Singles Chart for four consecutive weeks.[5] The band's version also reached the top of the charts in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.[6]

Liverpool F.C.[edit]

After becoming a chart hit by a local band, the song gained popularity on the Anfield terraces, and the song quickly became the football anthem of Liverpool F.C., which adopted "You'll Never Walk Alone" as its official motto on its coat of arms.[1] The song is sung by its supporters moments before the start of each home game at Anfield with the Gerry and the Pacemakers version being played over the public address system.[1][7][8] In 2013, the 50th anniversary of the song being sung on the Kop, Simon Hart of The Independent writes,

Five decades on, the pre-match, scarfs-raised, sing-it-loud ritual is as much a part of Liverpool's fabric as their red shirts, its words written in wrought iron on the gates of their stadium.[1]

According to former player Tommy Smith, lead vocalist Gerry Marsden presented Liverpool manager Bill Shankly with a recording of his forthcoming cover single during a pre-season coach trip in the summer of 1963. "Shanks was in awe of what he heard. ... Football writers from the local newspapers were travelling with our party and, thirsty for a story of any kind between games, filed copy back to their editors to the effect that we had adopted Gerry Marsden's forthcoming single as the club song."[9] The squad was subsequently invited to perform the track with the band on The Ed Sullivan Show with Marsden stating, "Bill came up to me. He said, 'Gerry my son, I have given you a football team and you have given us a song'."[1]

Shankly picked the song as his eighth and final selection for the BBC's Desert Island Discs on the eve of the 1965 FA Cup Final.[10] As Liverpool fans sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Wembley during the 1965 FA Cup Final win over Leeds, commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme referred to it as "Liverpool's signature tune".[11] Marsden told BBC Radio how, in the 1960s, the disc jockey at Anfield would play the top 10 commercial records in descending order, with the number one single played last, shortly before kickoff. Liverpool fans on the Kop would sing along, but unlike with other hit singles, once "You'll Never Walk Alone" dropped out of the top 10, instead of disregarding the song, supporters continued to sing it.[12][13] In retirement, as his granddaughter Karen Gill recollects, Shankly would get out the gramophone and "put the record on and play it, so we would hear it in the house."[1]

The 'Shankly Gates' entrance to Liverpool's home stadium Anfield

There's not one club in Europe with an anthem like "You'll Never Walk Alone." There's not one club in the world so united with the fans. I sat there watching the Liverpool fans and they sent shivers down my spine. A mass of 40,000 people became one force behind their team.

In his commentary on the memorial service following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, Peter Jones recited the lyrics, which were then sung by a cathedral choir. Aretha Franklin's recording of the song was played by BBC Radio 1 DJ and Liverpool fan John Peel in his first show following the disaster, when he became too upset to carry on broadcasting for a period.[15] In 2019, during a Take That concert at Anfield, lead singer and Liverpool fan Gary Barlow brought out a guest vocalist, Gerry Marsden – who had come out of retirement for the performance – and they sang the club's anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone".[16]

In 1995, the Gerry and the Pacemakers version peaked at number 34 on the Dutch Single Top 100 on the week ending March 18[17] and number 24 on the Dutch Top 40 on the week ending April 1.[18] It re-entered the Irish Singles Chart in 2012, peaking at number four on the week ending 20 September.[6]

Other teams[edit]

"It was subsequently adopted by Celtic fans, after a 1966 Cup Winners' Cup semi-final at Anfield, and is sung today by fans of Borussia Dortmund and several other clubs, but 'YNWA' remains enduringly and indelibly linked with Liverpool."

FourFourTwo magazine.[11]

In 1958, members of an operatic society performed the song as a tribute to the Busby Babes in the first home match of Manchester United at Old Trafford after the Munich air disaster, and fans in the stadium joined in the singing.[19]

The song was adopted by Scottish team Celtic after a 1966 Cup Winners' Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Anfield, and is now sung by Celtic fans prior to every home European tie,[1][11][20] and later by Germany's Borussia Dortmund, which Liverpool went on to play in the cup final.[1] When Celtic and Liverpool played in the quarterfinals of the 2002-03 UEFA Cup, Gerry Marsden performed the song at Celtic Park before both teams took the field and both sets of fans sang along.[21]

The song has also been adopted by Dutch team FC Twente after it was officially given to them by the Anfield stadium speaker George Sephton during the last game in the Diekman stadium, before moving to the new Arke Stadion.[22] Today, Twente fans sing the song before every home game. Elsewhere in the Netherlands, Feyenoord and SC Cambuur have adopted the song as well, with Feyenoord using the Lee Towers version.

Additional football teams which now use the song include 1. FSV Mainz 05, TSV 1860 Munich, Austria's FC Admira Wacker, Belgium's Club Brugge KV and KV Mechelen, Japan's FC Tokyo,[23] Spain's CD Lugo,[24] and Greece's ARIS. In ice hockey, the song has been adopted by German Deutsche Eishockey Liga side Krefeld Pinguine and Croatian Medveščak Zagreb.

A special recording of the song was made in solidarity with Bradford City following the Valley Parade fire in 1985, when 56 spectators died and many more were seriously injured. The song was performed by The Crowd, which was a supergroup featuring Gerry Marsden, Paul McCartney and others, and spent two weeks at number one in the UK.[25]

Some years later, after witnessing a rendition of "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Anfield in 2007, the President of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, said he felt inspired to seek lyrics to his country's wordless national anthem, the Marcha Real, ahead of Madrid's bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.[26][27]

During the 2014 Hong Kong protests, legislator Tam Yiu Chung quoted the song during a Legislative Council of Hong Kong meeting, to salute the Hong Kong Police,[28] who had received widespread criticism for using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters. More than 2,000 Liverpool Football Club fans in Hong Kong condemned his inappropriate use of the song, comparing his support of the police action to the police actions in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, where South Yorkshire Police were found to have distorted facts relating to the unlawful killing by negligence of 96 Liverpool supporters.[29][30][31]

On 13 March 2016, after Borussia Dortmund's 2–0 win against 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the German Bundesliga, supporters of both teams performed the song to commemorate a Dortmund fan who died from a cardiac arrest in the stands during the game.[32]

Chart history[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Gerry & The Pacemakers

Marcus Mumford version[edit]

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Single by Marcus Mumford
Released20 March 2020
LabelGlassnote Records
Marcus Mumford singles chronology
"You'll Never Walk Alone"
"Lay Your Head on Me"

Marcus Mumford, lead singer of the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons, released a cover version of "You'll Never Walk Alone" as a single on 20 March 2020 through Glassnote Records.[51] Mumford's version was originally recorded for the Apple TV+ sports comedy-drama Ted Lasso; it appears in the first-season finale, "The Hope That Kills You."[52]


All proceeds from the song will be donated to the Grenfell Foundation and War Child UK. On his Instagram account, Mumford explained the idea behind releasing the song and revealing the charities that would benefit from sales of the song, "It felt like we could get something out in the world that would benefit both of those organisations."[53] The song was in the works prior to the announcement of the global coronavirus pandemic and was originally slated to air on a TV show in production, but "for lots of reasons we wanted it just to be out in the world sooner rather than later, so here it is", the singer shared on his YouTube account.[54]

Live performances[edit]

On 1 April 2020, Mumford performed the song from his home on American late-night talk show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The video was shot by his wife, Carey Mulligan. He stated why he released the song earlier than planned, "This is a cover of 'You'll Never Walk Alone', which I had recorded in January for Jason Sudeikis, who I know well. I recorded it because I did the music for his TV show and we spoke and felt like it was appropriate to try and get it out sooner. We put it for two charities that are really close to my heart, War Child UK and the Grenfell Foundation, and also just to accompany people who might like it through a pretty weird time."[55][56]


Chart (2020) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Bubbling Under Flanders)[57] 30
Scotland (OCC)[58] 72
UK Singles Downloads (OCC)[59] 72

Michael Ball & Captain Tom Moore version[edit]

"You'll Never Walk Alone"
Single by Michael Ball, Captain Tom Moore & The NHS Voices of Care Choir
Released17 April 2020 (2020-04-17)
LabelDecca Records
Michael Ball singles chronology
"Bring Me Sunshine"
"You'll Never Walk Alone"
"Be The One"

In April 2020, to mark 99-year old Captain Tom Moore completing the first phase of his fundraising walk during the COVID-19 pandemic, English actor, singer and broadcaster, Michael Ball sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" for him live on BBC Breakfast.[60] Ball said: "It's an extraordinary achievement. I've been trying to think of a song which encapsulates your achievement and what you have done for us." Within 24 hours,[61] the performance was recorded, and made into a digital single featuring the NHS Voices of Care Choir, and Moore's spoken words.[60] It was released by Decca Records[62] on 17 April, with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together. The duo appeared on Zoe Ball's Radio 2 show, where they both performed the song.[63]

Commercial performance[edit]

On 19 April 2020, the song went straight to number one in the United Kingdom's "The Official Big Top 40" chart, selling almost 36,000 copies in its first 48 hours.[64] On 21 April 2020 the song was the "biggest trending song" as measured by the Official Charts Company.[65] On 24 April 2020, the song entered the UK Singles Chart at number one, with combined chart sales of 82,000 making it the fastest-selling single of 2020 so far and making Moore – six days short of his one hundredth birthday – the oldest person to achieve that position and meaning that he was at number one on his 100th birthday, beating the previous record-holder Tom Jones, who was 68 years old when a Comic Relief rendition of "Islands in the Stream" reached number one in 2009.[66]


Chart (2020) Peak
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[67] 1
UK Singles (OCC)[68] 1


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hart, Simon (October 25, 2013). "Anfield's 50 years of never walking alone". The Independent. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved April 6, 2015. Gerry and the Pacemakers' version hit No 1 in October 1963, it was picked up by the Kop and the game's greatest anthem was born
  2. ^ "The classic hits that are now coronavirus anthems". BBC News. March 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "You'll Never Walk Alone (original version 1945)". YouTube. Archived from the original on November 3, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Gerry's Datebook". Archived from the original on August 23, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  5. ^ "Gerry and The Pacemakers". Official Charts. The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "The Irish Charts". Click or tap "Search Charts", and then search for "You'll Never Walk Alone".
  7. ^ Nik Brumsack. The story of 'You'll Never Walk Alone',, April 14, 2014.
  8. ^ Liverpool vs. Leeds United on YouTube, FA Cup Final, BBC, 1965. "The song was covered by Liverpool group Gerry & The Pacemakers in 1963. At this time, supporters standing on the Spion Kop terrace at Anfield began singing popular chart songs of the day. The mood was captured on camera by a BBC Panorama camera crew in 1964. One year later, when Liverpool faced Leeds in the cup final, the travelling Kop sang the same song and match commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme commended the 'Liverpool signature tune'." Paul Coslett, "You'll Never Walk Alone". BBC Online. June 9, 2008.
  9. ^ Smith, Tommy. Anfield Iron, Bantam Press, p. 68-69
  10. ^ "Bill Shankly, Desert island Discs". BBC. Monday 26 April 1965.
  11. ^ a b c "Why Liverpool fans sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'". FourFourTwo. October 10, 2016.
  12. ^ Cavanagh, John. "The History of You'll Never Walk Alone", BBC Songlines, 2006.
  13. ^ Morgan, John. "The Other Mersey Sound", BBC Panorama, 1964.
  14. ^ "Learn the songs that made the Kop world famous". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  15. ^ "The master communicator". BBC. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  16. ^ "Take That and Gerry Marsden bring Anfield to a standstill with heartwarming You'll Never Walk Alone". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  17. ^ "Gerry & the Pacemakers – You'll Never Walk Alone". Dutch Charts. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  18. ^ "Gerry & The Pacemakers – 'You'll Never Walk Alone'". Top 40. Retrieved April 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Irwin, Colin (2006). Sing When You're Winning. Andre Deutsch. pp. 162–163. ISBN 978-0233001845.
  20. ^ Aldred, Jessica. Liverpool or Celtic: who Walked Alone first? The Guardian. March 12, 2003.
  21. ^ You'll Never Walk Alone - Liverpool v Celtic. YouTube
  22. ^ Whyatt, Chris. McClaren's new charges BBC. August 13, 2008.
  23. ^ Nagatomo tells Japan "You'll never walk alone", The mainichi Daily News. March 2011.
  24. ^ anfieldcarro (June 30, 2011). "You´ll never walk alone" polo Anfield Carro PUNTO PELOTA. Archived from the original on November 3, 2021 – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "CROWD - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  26. ^ Liverpool fans inspire Spain to write words to anthem, Reuters. June 5, 2005
  27. ^ Spain to add lyrics to wordless national anthem, NBC News. June 26, 2007.
  28. ^ "立法會會議 (2014/10/16) - IV. 立法會休會待續議案 - 根據《議事規則》第16(2)條動議的立法會休會待續議案 (第五部分)" – via
  29. ^ 香港特別行政區立法會 (October 16, 2014). "立法會會議 (2014/10/16) - IV. 立法會休會待續議案 - 根據《議事規則》第16(2)條動議的立法會休會待續議案 (第五部分)" – via YouTube.
  30. ^ "利迷聯署強烈譴責:譚耀宗勿侮辱YNWA".
  31. ^ Hong Kong Legislative Council Record 08:07:18 - 08:07:35
  32. ^ Whaling, James (March 13, 2016). "Borussia Dortmund fan dies from heart attack during Bundesliga match against Mainz". Daily Mirror. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  33. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". July 12, 1965. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  34. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – You'll Never Walk Alone". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  35. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 5 December 1963
  36. ^ "Official Charts Company". October 16, 1963. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  37. ^ a b c d Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  38. ^ " – Discography Gerry & The Pacemakers". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  39. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". November 22, 1965. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  40. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". June 1, 1968. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  41. ^ "Official Charts Company". October 22, 1968. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  42. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 11/01/69".
  43. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". May 19, 1973. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  44. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 6/23/73".
  45. ^ "The Crowd – You'll Never Walk Alone" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  46. ^ " – Discography The Crowd". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  47. ^ "The Crowd – You'll Never Walk Alone" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  48. ^ "Official Charts Company". June 1, 1985. Retrieved June 4, 2020.
  49. ^ "Australian Chart Books". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  50. ^ "Sixties City - Pop Music Charts - Every Week Of The Sixties".
  51. ^ "You'll Never Walk Alone – Single by Marcus Mumford on Apple Music". Apple Music. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  52. ^ "How Marcus Mumford Rediscovered His Love of Melody by Scoring 'Ted Lasso'". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  53. ^ "Marcus Mumford covers 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to benefit Grenfell Foundation". NME. March 21, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  54. ^ "Marcus Mumford Covers Show Tune 'You'll Never Walk Alone' For a Good Cause: Listen". Billboard. March 23, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  55. ^ "Watch Marcus Mumford Perform 'Lay Your Head on Me' on 'Fallon'". Rolling Stone. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  56. ^ "Marcus Mumford: You'll Never Walk Alone (Tonight Show: At Home Edition)". YouTube. April 1, 2020. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  57. ^ "Marcus Mumford – You'll Never Walk Alone" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  58. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  59. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  60. ^ a b "Captain Tom Moore launches You'll Never Walk Alone charity single with Michael Ball". ITV News. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  61. ^ "Captain Tom Moore launches You'll Never Walk Alone charity single with Michael Ball". ITV News. April 18, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  62. ^ "Captain Tom Moore scores UK's top trending song". Official Charts. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  63. ^ "Captain Tom Moore and Michael Ball to release You'll Never Walk Alone cover to raise money for NHS". Evening Standard. April 17, 2020. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  64. ^ "Captain Tom Moore and Michael Ball land UK number one with charity single". ITV News. April 19, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  65. ^ "Captain Tom Moore scores UK's top trending song". Official Charts Company. April 21, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  66. ^ "Captain Tom Moore claims Number 1 victory on the Official Chart". Official Charts Company. April 24, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  67. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  68. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 April 2020.

External links[edit]