This Rogers & Hammerstein song was originally written for the 1945 musical Carousel. It was sung in the original show by Christine Johnson.
Frank Sinatra was the first artist to take this song into the charts (#9 on the Billboard charts in 1945). It soon became very popular as many who had lost loved ones during the war took solace in the lyrics. Judy Garland recorded a well-known version, and in the 1950s several American rock n rollers sang it, including Conway Twitty, Gene Vincent and Johnny Preston.
Gerry & the Pacemakers had included the song in their stage act for a long time. When they decided to record it as their third single, producer George Martin enhanced the song by adding strings. When it topped the UK chart, they became the first act to reach #1 in the UK with their first three singles. Soon afterwards, it was adopted by the fans of Liverpool Football Club as the club's anthem.
In 1985 a version by The Crowd in aid of the Bradford City Football Club fire disaster returned the song to #1. Gerry Marsden of Gerry & the Pacemakers was again the lead vocalist. Zack Starkey, Ringo Starr's son, was on drums, making him and Ringo the first father and son to both have UK #1s.
In the original musical Carousel, the song was sung to inspire a pregnant female character after the death of her husband.
The song is also performed at a graduation ceremony during the final scene of Carousel, which made it a popular choice for real-life graduation ceremonies.
A banner containing the song's title was added to the Liverpool Football Club's official emblem. The song is typically sung just before the start of home games. A number of other football (i.e. soccer) clubs across Europe have also adopted the song, as have a few teams in other sports.
The Pink Floyd song Fearless ends by fading into a recording of Liverpool Football Club fans singing this song.
Elvis Presley covered this song, releasing it as a single in 1968. His was one of four versions of the song to chart in the US in the '60s:
1964 Patti LaBelle & Her Blue Belles (#34)
1965 Gerry & The Pacemakers (#48)
1968 Elvis Presley (#90)
1969 The Brooklyn Bridge (#51)
Joshua - Twin Cities, MN, for above 4
Following a damning report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 football fans died, Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram started a campaign to get this song back into the UK charts. As a result it returned to the UK top 20 in September 2012 with the proceeds being donated to Hillsborough-related charities.
American Celtic punk band The Dropkick Murphys covered this for their 2017 11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory
album. Drummer Matt Kelly
explained to HMV.com
: "We cover it as an anthem of hope for those struggling with opiate addiction."
This was the most challenging song on the album to record. Said Kelly: "The chord structure is insane, and we tried it in various keys before eventually the boys really got it right. Then it came down to singing the thing! It's a really, really tricky song to get right. Sure, everybody has belted out the chorus now and again, but the verses have subtleties to them that took a long time to get just right. It was a really, really tough one, but I think the end result is just beautiful. Ken (Casey, bass/vocals) and Al (Barr, vocals) really gave it their all on that one."
Radio stations across Europe, including the BBC, joined forces to simultaneously play "You'll Never Walk Alone" in a show of solidarity against coronavirus. The song ran out at 7:45 a.m. GMT on March 20, 2020, on hundreds of European radio stations. Dutch radio presenter Sander Hoogendoorn of 3FM, who came up with the idea, explained: "We all have to do what we can to beat this crisis. Things like this just go beyond the boundaries of radio channels. [The song] could speak to those doing an incredible job working in healthcare right now, those who are ill or those who can't leave their house for a while."
This topped a "lockdown listening list" collated by The Official Charts Company of the UK's most popular coronavirus quarantine tracks. They compiled the survey by analyzing the songs that had the biggest percentage increase in listens and purchases, March 23-29, 2020, the week after Britain went into lockdown. They found a mixture of "uplifting classics" and "apocalyptic isolation" tunes being blasted from the nation's speakers as folks adjusted to life in the COVID-19 era.
Akon's "Locked Up
" came in at #2 and The Police's "Don't Stand So Close To Me
" at #3.
99-year-old Captain Tom Moore joined forces with Michael Ball and the NHS Voices Of Care Choir to record a charity cover
in April 2020. The war veteran captured the UK nation's hearts by raising over £26 million ($32 million) for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic by walking lengths of his garden.
All proceeds are being donated to Captain Tom Moore's 100th Birthday Walk in aid of NHS Charities Together, which supports the NHS staff and volunteers caring for coronavirus patients.
Captain Tom Moore's version entered the UK chart at #1, making Moore - six days short of his 100th birthday - the oldest person to achieve a chart-topping single. The previous record-holder was Tom Jones
, who was 68-years-and-9-months old when his Comic Relief version of "Islands in the Stream
" reached the summit in 2009.