Thursday, February 11, 2010

The enduring sound of Fury

I haven't been blogging lately and I am off to the sun in Egypt on Saturday so I thought a brief blog entry was in order, but what to write about? There haven't been many music deaths of note lately (not that I'm complaining) apart from Johnny Dankworth who, with wife Cleo Laine, kept the British jazz scene alive for several decades.
So some thoughts about Billy Fury. When I went to Maxine's funeral a couple of weeks ago at Mill Hill Cemetery I came across Billy's grave. To me he was the greatest UK pop singer of the early 60s and indeed he was the only one who regularly made it into my personal top ten during that period. His records during that period included Colette, That's Love, Wondrous Place, A Thousand Stars, Push Push, Don't Worry, Halfway to Paradise, Jealousy, Last Night Was Made For Love and Like I've Never Been Gone.

Ronald Wycherley, to give him his correct name, died tragically young at just 42, the victim of heart weakness contracted as a child when he suffered from rheumatic fever. He was given his name by Larry Parnes (the original Simon Cowell) when he attended a gig in his home town of Birkenhead in 1958 and went on to have 24 top 20 hits. Like Elvis, his stage act was so suggestive that TV companies would sometimes only show him from the waist up. But he had a great voice and, although, he degenerated into recording covers of ballads later in his career, his debut LP The Sound of Fury showed that he had genuine songwriting talent. His career declined during the late 60s but he appeared memorably as Stormy Tempest in That'll Be The day in 1973 with David Essex and Ringo Starr.


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