“The ’59” 2018 #007: 180107
Billy Fury – The sound of Fury (1960)
Ronald Wycherley (17 April 1940 – 28 January 1983), better known by his stage name Billy Fury, released his debut album in May 1960 on the Decca label.
Wycherley had had piano lessons as a child in his home town of Liverpool, but bought his first guitar when he was 14. He formed his own group at the age of 15 a year later, but simultaneously worked full-time on a tugboat and later as a docker. He entered and won a talent competition, and by 1958 had started composing his own songs.
Wycherley went to meet pop manager and impresario Larry Parnes at the Essoldo Theatre in Birkenhead, hoping to interest one of Parnes’ protégés, well-known singer Marty Wilde, in some of the songs he had written. Instead, Parnes pushed him up on stage right away.
He was such an immediate success that Parnes signed him, added him to the tour, and renamed him ‘Billy Fury’.
Fury released his first hit single for Decca, “Maybe Tomorrow”, in 1959. He also appeared in a televised play “Strictly for Sparrows”, and subsequently on ‘Oh Boy!’. In March 1960, he reached No. 9 in the UK Singles Chart with his own composition “Colette”, followed by “That’s Love” and his first album The Sound of Fury (May 1960) which featured a young Joe Brown on lead guitar, with backing vocals from the Four Jays.
The album made the top twenty, reaching No.18 on the UK Albums Chart for a week. It was not well appreciated at the time of its release, but is now regarded as one of the most important early British rock ‘n roll albums, notably because Fury was probably the first UK act to write and record his own songs.
Photo – (above right) – Billy Fury’s statue in Liverpool today – Jempics