- UK release date:
- May 24, 1985
- Spartan Records
- BRAD 1
More from year 1985
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You'll Never Walk Alone
- Paul McCartney :
The Bradford City stadium fire occurred during an English League Third Division match between Bradford City and Lincoln City on Saturday, 11 May 1985, killing 56 spectators in the stadium and injuring at least 265.
The Valley Parade stadium, the long-established home to Bradford City Football Club, in common with many other British football stadiums of the time, was known for its antiquated design and facilities, which included the wooden roof of the main stand. Previous warnings had also been given about a major build-up of litter in the cavity below the seats in the stand. The stand had been officially condemned and was due to be replaced with a steel structure after the football season ended.
The match against Lincoln City, the final game of that season, had started in a celebratory atmosphere with the home-team receiving the Football League Third Division trophy. At 3.40 p.m., a small fire in the main stand was remarked upon by the TV commentator John Helm, but in less than four minutes, with the windy conditions, it had entirely engulfed the whole stand, trapping some people in their seats. In the mass panic that ensued, fleeing crowds escaped on to the pitch but others at the back of the stand tried to break down locked exit doors to escape, and many were burnt to death at the turnstiles gates, which had also been locked after the match had begun. There were many cases of heroism, with more than 50 people later receiving police awards or commendations for bravery.
The disaster led to rigid new safety standards in UK stadiums, including the banning of new wooden grandstands. It was also a catalyst for the substantial redevelopment and modernisation of many British football grounds within the following thirty years. Bradford City continues to support the burns unit at the University of Bradford as its official charity. […]
The Bradford Disaster Appeal fund, set up within 48 hours of the disaster, eventually raised over £3.5 million (£10.7 million today). The most memorable of hundreds of fundraising events was a reunion of the 1966 World Cup Final Starting XI that began with the original starting teams of both England and West Germany, and was held at Leeds United’s stadium, Elland Road, in July 1985 to raise funds for the Appeal fund. England won the re-match 6–4.
Part of the Appeal funds were raised by The Crowd’s recording of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel, which reached number 1 in the UK Singles chart. The money raised from this record was contributed to fund the internationally renowned burns unit that was established in partnership between the University of Bradford and Bradford Royal Infirmary, immediately after the fire, which has also been Bradford City’s official charity for well over a decade.
The Crowd was a charity supergroup formed specifically to produce a charity record for the Bradford City stadium fire, in which 56 people died on 11 May 1985. The group consisted of singers, actors, television personalities and others.
Gerry Marsden of Gerry and the Pacemakers had decided to make a charity record to aid the families of the victims of the disaster (the Bradford City Disaster Fund). The re-recording of the 1963 number 1 hit song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the broadway musical Carousel, also a ‘football anthem’ for Liverpool supporters, entered the UK charts at No. 52, leaping to number 4 the following week and then reaching Number 1 on 1 June 1985. The record also topped the Irish Singles Chart. The single gave Gerry Marsden a ‘first’ in British recording history, by becoming the first person ever to top the charts with two versions of the same song.
The band and celebrity members included: Bruce Forsyth, Denny Laine, Jim Diamond, Tony Christie, Rick Wakeman, John Conteh, The Barron Knights, Jess Conrad, Kiki Dee, the Foxes, Rolf Harris, Graham Gouldman, Kenny Lynch, Rick Wild of The Overlanders, Keith Chegwin, Tony Hicks, Colin Blunstone, Tim Hinkley, Johnny Logan, Zak Starkey, Girlschool, Black Lace, John Otway, Gary Holton, Nigel Holton, Hank Hancocks, Peter Cook, the Nolans, John Entwistle of The Who, Motörhead, Karen Clark, Dave Lee Travis, Graham Dene, Ed Stewart, Phil Lynott, Smokie, Joe Fagin, Eddie Hardin, Gerard Kenny, Chris Robinson, Tim Healy, Kin Kelly, John Verity, Rose Marie, David Shilling, Chris Norman, Pete Spencer, Bernie Winters, Robert Heaton, and Frank Allen of The Searchers.
Paul McCartney contributed some words on the B-side of the record which was titled “Messages”.
Paul McCartney recorded his 17-seconds message on May 15th, 1985. The recording session was on May 20th, and the single was released on May 24th.