At the age of 16, Gerry bought his first electric guitar, a Futurama, at Frank Hessy’s, a well known (on Merseyside) music store. Around this time they changed their name to Gerry and the Mars Bars, Gerry’s father, who was managing them at the time, wrote to Mars Confectionary Company for permission to use the name but they refused. According to Gerry, he was watching an athletics programme on the TV when the commentator mentioned a ‘pacemaker’ . . . . . ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ where born. Around the time of the name change the group members changed, Les Chadwick joined them on bass guitar and Les McGuire joined a short time later. Gerry, Freddie, Les Chadwick and Les McGuire became the line up through their most successful period.
The group started to build up a strong following on Merseyside and were a ‘bigger’ name than The Beatles, this is proved by the fact Allan Williams, a top Merseyside promoter, booked them on the same Liverpool Stadium bill as American artiste Gene Vincent. They were approached to appear at the ‘Top Ten Club’ in Hamburg, they agreed and turned professional. The trip was a success, returning later in the year for a three month season taking with them a local singer, Faron (of Farons Flamingos) as a second vocalist. In 1962, Brian Epstein signed up ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers, he now had the two top Merseyside groups under his management.