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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 15:26 GMT
Fury fever still burns on
by Matthew Shepherd
BBC News Online

Pic Courtesy of Chris Eley, The Sound Of Fury fan club
Fury's real name was Ronald Wycherley

It is 21 years since the death of Liverpudlian rocker Billy Fury at the age of 43. But his fans are determined to keep his memory alive.

In the early 60s, Fury was scoring massive hits in the UK with Halfway to Paradise, Fools Errand and Once upon a Dream.

During the decade he had more top 20 hits in the UK than anyone except The Beatles, Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley.

Born in Liverpool in 1940 he was one of the first British singers to translate the energy and tempo of American rock and roll music for British audiences.

He was seen as the British equivalent to Elvis and his fame generated a legion of fans.

Too many great singers have gone and we are so much the poorer for it
Chris Eley
Chris Eley, team leader of the Sound of Fury fan club, was a youngster growing up at a time when Fury was scoring massive hits.

"The girls on the school bus used to go mad when they knew Billy was going to be on Thank Your Lucky Stars on Saturday night," remembers Mr Eley.

"I visited my grandfather in Goonhavern in early 1962 and saw Billy on TV show All That Jazz," he continues.

"I was knocked out and wanted to be just like that, girls at my feet - some chance!"

Eley now helps run Sound Of Fury, the Official Billy Fury fan club.

"He was to me the brother I never had - a hero and idol wrapped up in one."

But Fury's premature death in 1983 came as a huge blow to his fans, after the star had begun a career comeback.

Pic Courtesy of Chris Eley, The Sound Of Fury fan club
Fury's reputation has grown over the years
"When a mate called on 28 January it was the worst moment of my life, except for the loss of some family members," he says.

Fury suffered bouts of rheumatic fever as a youngster which weakened his heart valves and eventually lead to his death.

"Too many great singers have gone and we are so much the poorer for it. It was a better place and time - and rose-coloured glasses play no part in that recollection.The innocence is gone forever", says Mr Eley.

Mr Eley did have one dream come true however towards the end of Fury's life.

"I got to see him live for the first time in July 1982 at Hucknall and then met him at the Northampton Sunnyside Inn", he says.

"He looked great, he had just done a show that was more like a party. He knew I had been helping out a little with his comeback, selling singles at a previous gig, putting up advertising posters and networking with other fans.

"He just signed a picture, took the one I had for him and said, 'Thanks lah, for all you do!' That night and that meeting will be with me forever," says Mr Eley.

In recent months there has been talk of a movie based on Billy Fury's life with Ewan McGregor playing the singer.

It would seem that the name and music of Billy Fury looks set to live on for many years to come.

McGregor to play Billy Fury
19 Oct 00  |  Entertainment


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