If Real Madrid can choose between Plácido Domingo and RedOne (Wow, Madrid, and nothing else!) and José Aguilar and Luis Cisneros Galiane ('Las mocitas madrileñas') to put music to the Champions League final tonight at the Stade de France, their rival, Liverpool, has only one anthem to put in their mouths; but probably no one disputes that in this section the British win thanks to their exciting anthem, 'You'll never walk alone', which has sent shivers down players like Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina, who played in the English team, when they have heard it in tens of thousands of throats at Anfield. But, where does that song come from and what is the origin of this tradition?
The first time the song 'You'll never walk alone' was played was in a theater; specifically, at the Majestic Theater in New York, on 44th Street. The musical 'Carousel', to which it belongs, premiered there on April 19, 1945. Its authors were Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, who two years earlier had achieved a resounding success with another play, 'Oklahoma', and who would eventually become two of the great legends of musical theater.
'Carousel', which was made into a film in 1956 by Henry King, is based on 'Liliom', a play by the Hungarian Ferenc Molnár. It tells the love story between a young woman (Julie) and a lazy and quarrelsome carny (Billy) who dies during a robbery that he perpetrated with a buddy. It is at that moment when 'You'll never walk alone' sounds. With Billy dead in Julie's arms, a friend of hers, Nettie, sings the song, surrounded by the chorus, to comfort her; it is heard again at the end of the musical, this time performed by Julie herself.
'When you walk through a storm,' says the song, / keep your head high, / and don't be afraid of the dark. / At the end of the storm you will find the sunlight / And the lark's sweet silvery song. / Follow through the wind, / follow through the rain, / though your dreams are shattered. / Walk, walk, with hope in your heart, / and you will never walk alone. / You will never Walk alone. / Walk, walk, with hope in your heart, / and you will never walk alone. / You will never Walk alone'.
Christine Johnson was the first interpreter of 'You'll never walk alone'. Many singers -among them Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Nina Simone or Judy Garland- made their own version of the song, which has already become a standard.
In 1963, a group from Liverpool, Gerry and the Pacemakers, recorded their own version of the song. Its success was extraordinary, and it reached number 1 on the British charts, where it remained for four weeks in a row. In this way he arrived at Anfield, since it was customary to play the songs that most played on the radio stations over the stadium's public address system. It was there that Bill Shankly, legendary Liverpool manager, heard it and decided that 'You'll never walk alone' would continue playing. Shortly after, the 'reds' fans began to sing it a cappella before each game of their team, with such force that the club adopted it as an anthem and made the phrase 'You'll never walk alone' its motto.
There have been several hobbies that have imitated that of Liverpool and have also made the song their unofficial anthem; among them those of the Scottish Celtic Glasgow and the Germans Borussia Dortmund, FC Kaiserlautern, Mainz 05 and FC St. Pauli.