Friday, December 28, 2007

The Sound of Fury

I've become really fascinated by Billy Fury recently, since I watched a DVD about his life and music, 'His Wondrous Story'. I didn't know anything about him before that, just that he was an English rock 'n' roll singer who started in the 1950s, though I realise I knew some of his songs already when I heard them. I've also remembered I've got a few photos of him in old film and pop star annuals, ones I bought decades ago for their lurid coloured photography, styling and fashion.

I wish there had been more original footage of him on the DVD, particularly live performances. Interviewees said how good he was live and how he got banned in Ireland until he cleaned up his stage act, which is really annoying as it leaves you wondering what he was actually like, but you'll never know, as it's all in the past. My mum never went to see him, so I can't ask her. The narrative voiceover on the DVD was by Dave Vanian, singer with The Damned (seminal British punk band). That might sound odd to the uninitiated, but I think you can hear Billy Fury's musical influence on some of Vanian's non-Damned 'Phantom Chords' album. Apparently Morrissey is also a fan (which might be interesting if you like him or The Smiths, though I don't particularly.)

I really love Billy Fury's voice and the songs he wrote himself, which is an unusual thing for a 'teen idol' of the late 1950s/early '60s to have done. I like the sound of him as a person too, coping with serious health problems from an early age that led to his premature death at 42, being really shy but amazingly good looking and talented, caring for injured wildlife and being anti-bloodsports, amongst other qualities. I suppose some singers and musicians just appeal to you, regardless of when they lived or died.

Here's someone's video of him and one of his biggest hits, Halfway to Paradise. Though actually I do prefer the first album of his, The Sound of Fury, which he wrote all the songs for, but there weren't any of them on YouTube. I don't suppose it's to the taste of many of you regular readers of this blog, but for me, there's no going back now!!

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