Sunday, 18 April 2010

70 Years of Billy Fury

Yesterday found us out at the Billy Fury event in Liverpool. 17 April 2010 would have been Billy's 70th birthday but for the tragedy of his early death in 1983.

We met up with David and Jeannie for breakfast in Blackpool and then drove down to Liverpool where the Billy Fury, In Thoughts of You fan club were celebrating his life at a meeting at Billy's statue on the waterfront next to the Mersey on which he worked for a short time.

There were already a number of people gathered at the statue which was covered in flowers, cards and balloons. As one o'clock drew near it was hard to count everybody but I'd have reckoned between 150-200 people.

The fan club arrived with refreshments and set up tables and Billy's Mum, Jean Wycherley arrived looking and sounding cheerful, smiling and chatting to Billy's fans and friends. A chair was found for her and she sat at the foot of the statue whilst cameras blazed away from all sides.

Colin Paul, the well-known performer, who includes a Billy tribute in his act, hosted the day for the fan club and called everyone over to the Maritime Museum on the nearby Albert Dock where a room had been booked.

There was a raffle, a quiz to identify Billy's songs from a split second of the opening - we decided we wouldn't stand a chance given we were surrounded by hardcore Billy fans, but in the event we'd have made it into the bottom ranks of prize winners had we written our ideas down!

Then a few songs from Colin Paul before another refreshment break following which we had a bit more music.

He sang a new tribute song to Billy, The Gentle King which was superb. Colin had written the words to the song himself and I'm sure all Billy fans will be delighted if they order a copy of his CD, available through

The Colin called a few performers from the audience. Jean Wycherley sang In Thoughts of You to rapturous applause. The big man with the big heart, Paul Staines from London gave us a song, there was one from someone whose name I didn't catch and then Colin was calling David and myself up. Talk about a build up! "...privileged to work with them at Sunnyside..." and more - thank you Colin. All we can say is that if Billy was the "Gentle King of Rock and Roll" then you are the true Gentleman of Rock and Roll, it is likewise a privilege for us to know and work with you.

We had no instruments of course and we don't do backing tracks or karaoke, so we did an acapella version of Billy's Like I've Never Been Gone, sharing a mic as there was only the one - I got horrendous bristle burns from David's beard...

The only disappointment of the day was that Billy's brother, Albie, was too ill to join us. He has to have dialysis several times a week and was in hospital on the day. Albie, we wish you well and hope to see you at some future event.

Nice to see Colin again, Marie, Frank and Pat, Margaret, Mags, Paul, Mike, Mark (Little Elvis!!!) and to meet new friends too. Several people were heading down to Mill Hill where Billy rests and where there will be another meet and event today. We can't make that one but send our love to all our friends who will be there.

Photos will eventually appear at Flickr, hopefully later today.

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