By Joaquin Henson - Gerry and The Pacemakers, together with Chip Hawkes, will perform at the Waterfront Lahug in Cebu tonight and at the PICC tomorrow, Aug. 6

Two of the most enduring British Invasion stars of the ’60s are in town to show Filipino fans why they’ve lasted nearly 50 years in the music business. Liverpool’s Gerry Marsden and London’s Len “Chip” Hawkes are legends in their own time. They’ve fronted bands for decades and enjoyed a string of hits in the charts all over the world.

For the first time in their storybook careers, Marsden and Hawkes will perform in the Philippines.

Marsden will lead the reformed Gerry and the Pacemakers while Hawkes will revive the memories of the Tremeloes in separate acts at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu tonight and the PICC Plenary Hall tomorrow, Aug. 6.

[PHOTO - Gerry Marsden formed the Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1959 featuring himself on lead guitar and vocals, The group became the Beatles' nearest competitors in Britain] 

It’s a chance of a lifetime to witness Marsden and Hawkes sing their immortal British Invasion hits, which tug at the hearts of Baby Boomers and even New Generation aficionados.

Marsden, 68, and Hawkes, 64, hardly show their age on or off stage. Their voices are intact and they sound as good as they did when the hits couldn’t stop rolling in the ’60s.

Marsden took Gerry and the Pacemakers to the top of the UK charts in 1963 with How Do You Do It, a song that was rejected by Adam Faith and the Beatles.

The band zoomed to No. 1 with follow-ups I Like It and You’ll Never Walk Alone (from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel) to become the first-ever group to compile chart-toppers with its three first singles.

The record stood for 21 years until Frankie Goes to Hollywood matched it in 1984.

[PHOTO - The band’s original name was Gerry Marsden and The Mars Bars, but they were forced to change this when the Mars Company, producers of the chocolate Mars Bar, complained]

Marsden didn’t stop there. The Pacemakers also charted with I’m the One, Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying, Ferry Cross the Mersey, I’ll Be There, It’s Gonna Be Alright and Girl On a Swing.

In 1965, the Pacemakers starred in their own movie Ferry Cross the Mersey in what was described by Dafydd Rees and Luke Crampton as “a facsimile of themselves, rising to success in a beat contest.”

The band was a huge success in the US, too. “While anything with a Liverpool accent was a license to print money, Gerry and the boys made a big initial impact in the US, appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show... and embarked on a lengthy American tour,” recalled Terry Rawlings in British Beat — Then, Now and Rare.

In the book Beatboom, Marsden said, “When the Pacemakers and I went to the States, which was very exciting as we had never been there before, we never realized that music would be accepted as it was, because we had started off playing American music by people like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino and it was a great honor and privilege to be accepted by the American teenagers.”

[PHOTO AT RIGHT - Chips Hawkes (yesteryears)  who joined “The Tremeloes” and over 6 to 7 years produced worldwide hits such as “Silence Is Golden” (which reached #1 all over the world including the US). Many of the Tremeloes hits were penned by Chip.]

In 1985, Marsden re-recorded You’ll Never Walk Alone — the Liverpool Football Club anthem — in his typical hymnal style to raise funds for the surviving families of over 50 victims who died in a fire at the Bradford City football stadium.

The song zoomed to No. 1 in the UK charts, making Marsden the only artist to hit the top with two different versions of the same song.

In 1989, Marsden re-recorded Ferry Cross the Mersey to similarly raise funds for the families of victims in another football tragedy.

Paul McCartney joined Marsden in the second effort after 95 fans died at the start of a Liverpool match on the Hillsborough grounds.


Not too many realize that the Pacemakers and the Beatles were managed by Brian Epstein in the ’60s. They were kindred spirits. “Friendly competition rather than bickering animosity existed between the Pacemakers and Beatles,” wrote Alan Clayson in Call Up the Groups.

“They even combined as the Beatmakers on one remarkable occasion at Litherland Town Hall, all eight musicians swapping instruments and stage costumes.

At one Beatles Cavern bash, Gerry deputized for an absent John Lennon where it was noticed that, like John, he had copied Tony Sheridan’s high-chested guitar stance.”                                                                             

Marsden is well-known as a multi-talented artist with credits in stage musicals (Charlie Girl) and children’s TV.

Looking back, Marsden said making it to the top was a lot of hard work. “Of course, we thought at the time, it was just fun and not really hard work at all,” he said in Beatboom. “Yeah, it was hard work but worth it. The whole music scene was changed a great deal by the ‘Beatboom.’ I think it also changed all our lives from our youthful days.

"When we were in Liverpool and Hamburg, we were playing for a few quid because we enjoyed the music and then we came to realize we could actually make a career out of it, out of something we loved and actually get paid for it. That was the life for us and definitely for me. I thought that if I could continue in this business, entertaining people and songwriting and earning enough money to keep my family happy, that would do for me. And thank goodness, it’s stayed that way. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing today.

"I’m still touring, we do Australia, the States, Canada, Singapore and Hong Kong, all over the world every year and we still enjoy it. Gerry and the Pacemakers are still rocking on.”

Chip Hawkes joined the Tremeloes in 1966 and sang lead vocals and played bass guitar on the hits Silence Is Golden, Here Comes My Baby, Suddenly You Love Me, Even the Bad Times Are Good and I Shall Be Released. In 1974, Hawkes left the band and embarked on a solo career that led to a relocation to Nashville.

In 1979, Hawkes returned to England and in 1988, decided to concentrate on managing his son Chesney. In 1992, Chesney went to No. 1 in the UK with The One and Only.

Hawkes married Carol Dilworth in 1969 and their marriage is as strong as ever with three children. In 2003, Hawkes produced an album Back to the Future with ’60s stars performing contemporary hits like Marsden with A Million Love Songs from Take That, Hawkes himself with Runaway Train from Soul Asylum and the Searchers’ Mike Pender with Weather With You from Crowded House.

In 2004, he assembled a supergroup called The Class of ’64 with the Hollies’ Eric Haydock and the Kinks’ Mick Avory, and produced a 15-track album.

Today, Hawkes is still busy touring. When he returns to England from the Philippines, Hawkes will join the Searchers, Fortunes and Marsden on the Sixties Gold Autumn Tour all over the UK from Sept. 24 to Dec. 1.

Writer Paul McKenzie said, “Chip has made himself the reputation of being one of the most charismatic and exciting solo artists on the ’60s and ’70s tours. He’s in his 60s now, you’d never believe it looking at him, full set of black hair with the slightest of grey flecks.

Tanned, fit and still looking playboy handsome. With those looks and that voice, you know Chip had a blast back then.”

You just can’t miss watching two of the greatest British Invasion legends in concert!

Waterfront Lahug Cebu

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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