The affable, good-natured older brother of the equally outgoing singer/guitarist Gerry Marsden, Freddie Marsden was the drummer in their group Gerry & the Pacemakers. They started out in skiffle music, Freddie playing an improvised percussion set-up -- his first snare drum was thrown together by the boys' father -- before graduating to an actual drum kit. He stayed with the music as they moved into rock & roll, and graduated first to clubs in Liverpool, then to Hamburg, and finally to national and international fame from 1963 onward. The Marsdens came from the Dingle area of Liverpool, an area which had spawned such other musical notables as Ringo Starr and Billy Fury -- he knew Ringo (who, in the early '60s, was regarded as just about the best drummer in Liverpool after Johnny Hutchinson of the Big Three), but unlike the Beatles drummer, he never aspired to actual greatness on his instrument, or to sing, write songs, or lead a band of his own; he kept a good beat, and that was it. And that was enough -- with bassist Les Chadwick, he was half of the group's rhythm section, touring the world and selling lots of records for about three years, until they called it quits in 1966. That the two could be heard in some of the huge venues they came to be booked into spoke well for them, and also for their experience playing in Hamburg, and in some of the rougher clubs in Liverpool when they were coming up. Unlike his younger brother, who was serious about performing and never gave it up, Marsden left the music business after that, joining the civil service, later becoming a driving instructor and opening his own driving school ("Pacemakers"). He'd had a lot of fun in music for a decade, and was content to settle down and raise a family and run a business, until his death in late 2006, at age 66.
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