152. ‘I Like It’, by Gerry & The Pacemakers

Act III of the Merseybeat spring offensive sees Gerry and the lads score a quick return to the top. ‘How Do You Do It?’ and ‘I Like It’ acting as the bread; The Beatles’ ‘From Me to You’ as the filling. A sandwich to change pop music as we know it.

gerry-pacemakers-500

I Like It, by Gerry & The Pacemakers (their 2nd of three #1s)

4 weeks, from 20th June – 18th July 1963

The previous two songs were super perky, ultra-upbeat, and positively dripping in youthful enthusiasm, and the formula isn’t altered very much here. We get a swingin’ little intro, and then: I liiike it, I liiike it…! If you didn’t know that Gerry & The Pacemakers were Liverpudlian, then you do know. This is a great record, but Gerry Marsden’s scouse rasp is possibly the highlight of the whole shebang.

I liiike it…. I liiike itI like the way you run your fingers through my hair… And I like the way you tiddle my chin… I docked ‘From Me to You’ a couple of points for being a little simple, a little gauche. And I suppose I’ll have to do the same thing here… Except. The charm of this song – of this whole embryonic musical movement – is its down-to-earth charm. These are regular blokes singing a regular, catchy song about love; there are no flowery romantic declarations from note-perfect crooners (see: Frank Ifield) or glossy-teethed American superstars (see: Elvis) here.

Look, for example, at the line: And I like the way you straighten my tie, And I like the way you’re winkin’ your eye, And I know I like you…! Or the And I like the way you let me come in, When your mama ain’t there…. (wink wink) It could have been written by a fourteen-year-old, and that’s all part of the allure. I suppose all the big British pop movements had their roots with kids on the streets: punk, Britpop, garage… and Merseybeat is no different. Music for kids; by kids.

gerry-and-the-pacemakers-i-like-it-1963-14

Just like its immediate predecessors, ‘I Like It’ is another short, sharp pop song; another two minute wonder. And like all the best pop songs there’s nothing too sophisticated going on here. In fact, I’ve covered many better-sung and better-performed songs on this countdown. But… this is the glorious sound of four boys jamming away in their garage, and it presses all my buttons. And ‘boys’ they truly were – Gerry, his brother Fred, Les and Arthur were all aged around twenty when their careers went stratospheric. For a while, in the summer of ’63, the smart money might have been on this four-piece going on to be the biggest band on the planet…

But, of course, that didn’t happen. Perhaps the reason I was a bit harsh on ‘From Me to You’ in my last write-up is that it comes loaded with the knowledge of what The Beatles would go on to do. It’s a perfectly decent pop song but, in my opinion, wouldn’t come near a Beatles Top 20. Whereas, ditties like ‘How Do You Do It?’ and ‘I Like It’ were as good as it got for Gerry and the gang. This is all we know them for; and that’s fine.

Before we finish, I’d like to indulge in a bit of a metaphor. Bear with me, and picture if you can these three Merseybeat chart-toppers from April-July 1963 as a huge meteor killing off hundreds of dinosaurs. These dinosaurs being… *clears throat* … Adam Faith, Anthony Newley, Michael Holliday, Frankie Vaughan, Alma Cogan, Helen Shapiro, The Everly Brothers, Tommy Steele and countless other artists who never topped the UK charts and who I can’t therefore link to… Their careers were all pretty much obliterated (or, at least, heavily affected by) this unstoppable Merseybeat fireball. May they rest in peace. Vive la revolution!

10 thoughts on “152. ‘I Like It’, by Gerry & The Pacemakers

  1. badfinger20

    I agree with your dinosaur list completely…we have mentioned this before…the one that could have fit in I think was The Everly Brothers…
    Gerry and the Pacemakers really battled the Beatles as top group in Liverpool for a while.

    1. You’re right, I suppose The Everly’s demise was to do with more than just music. Gerry and the Pacemakers were absolutely huge, and then just got completely left behind. And… not all dinosaurs were wiped out… as the next couple of #1s will prove…

  2. we are well into my childhood memory period now – I was 5, watching Juke Box Jury and Thank Your Lucky Stars, and all the big Mersey hits were totally known and sungalong to by me – my grandma lived in Liverpool, so would I late 65/66, so all things Scouse dominated all-things pop at this time on TV, jukeboxes, radio…

    As for this one? I did”t just like it, I loved it and all things Gerry, Freddie, Beatles, Billy J, Cilla….

    I think I’m inspired to have a go at listing my woulda-been number ones for my pre-charting years based on what I remember loving as a kid, how much I loved them, and what was in the UK top 20 chart at the time 🙂

    1. You should! It’s great that you remember the time so well, and I suppose you were lucky to have grown up at a time of such musical brilliance.

      I’m really not one to dismiss entire eras – there was a lot of rubbish in the sixties and some amazing stuff in every other decade – but growing up in the late eighties / early nineties the three records I have the earliest memories of are… Timmy Mallett’s ‘Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny etc etc Bikini’, Jason Donovan’s ‘Any Dream Will Do’, and ‘No Limit’. None of which quite hit the heights of ‘I Like It’…

      1. Itsy Bitsy was also one of my earliest memories – in the Brian Hyland charming version not the bouncy Bombalurina version (though I was happy a new generation of kids got to like it!). I liked No Limit a lot and I had no excuse either as I was ooh 33 or 34 at the time 🙂 Techno techno techno…:)

        I’m compiling that Number 1’s chart right now, it’s funny how it makes complete sense in terms of me being mad on songs and the order I was mad on them. I think cos my dad was in the RAF and we moved each year it’s easier to associate music with people and places.

  3. Pingback: 173. ‘It’s All Over Now’, by The Rolling Stones – The UK Number Ones Blog

  4. Pingback: 177. ‘You Really Got Me’, by The Kinks – The UK Number Ones Blog

  5. Pingback: Recap: #150 – #180 – The UK Number Ones Blog

  6. Pingback: 192. ‘The Minute You’re Gone’, by Cliff Richard – The UK Number Ones Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s