BILLY Fury, the UK’s very own Elvis was adored by the girls and admired by the guys.
With James Dean looks, Fury stormed the charts scoring 29 hit singles in the sixties, scoring more hit singles that decade than the Beatles.
Born Ronnie Wycherley - rock impresario Larry Parnes christened him Billy Fury - the singer died on January 28, 1983, aged just 42.
He left behind a legacy of hits including Last Night Was Made For Love, Wondrous Place, Jealousy, I Will, I’d Never Find Another You and Halfway To Paradise, which spent more than a year in the charts.
Four years after his final Top 10 hit, I’m Lost Without You, Fury hired a band, called them Fury’s Tornados and toured with them throughout a decade during which the singer became increasingly beleaguered with heart problems.
Now, 31 years later, those same musicians tour to The Playhouse on Thursday in the hit show Halfway To Paradise: The Billy Fury Story.
Recalling their legendary frontman, guitarist Chris Raynor says, “He was six foot tall, handsome and a big star with a terrific voice, but he was also very shy and quite a nervous performer. This had a devastating affect on the females. They all fancied him. After each performance it was quite usual for the band to be keeping the dressing room door on its hinges.”
Fury’s Tornados continued to back Fury until his retirement through ill health in 1976 and remain the singer’s longest ever serving band.
Raynor adds, “I had the good fortune to be Billy’s guitarist from 1970 through to his sad premature death in 1983. I’m playing, along with the other originals, John ‘Raggy’ Raynor, on drums, and Charlie Elston, on keyboards, in Halfway To Paradise - The Billy Fury Story, along with the brilliant Colin Gold as Fury.
“We have Billy there on screen too, filmed live with ourselves in 1974. I have many memories of playing with Billy over the years. We were with him during 1972 when he filmed That’ll Be The Day with Ringo, David Essex and Keith Moon, who actually gigged with us in a club in London.”
Halfway To Paradise - The Billy Fury Story, Playhouse, Greenside Place, Thursday, 7.30pm, £24.90, 0844-871 7627