On the face if it Billy Fury had everything going for him. He had startling good looks, a great voice and at a time when most singers relied on other people’s material to make their name, he could write his own material.
At his peak he had equalled The Beatles record of 24 hits (and they almost once became his backing group) and spent 332 weeks in the UK charts despite never scoring a chart topper.
He was probably the nearest thing we ever got to a home grown Elvis until the Mersey Beat boom of his fellow Liverpudlians began to take its toll on his chart success and the recurrence of the rheumatic fever which had plagued his youth began to take its toll on his health.
But at his peak there was no one sexier or vocally more varied (he could switch from big ballads to rock and roll and rockabilly at he flick of his hips) – and it is that charisma and talent which Michael King attempts to emulate in this show.
He’s not out to tell the Billy Fury story – nor, he not entirely convincingly explains is he out to be Billy Fury (despite the sunken cheeks and blonde hair). He’s simply here to sing the Billy Fury hits, occasionally mentioning what year they come from. The real Fury is shown as a video backdrop as King darts on and off stage to change into recreations of Fury’s stage outfits.
He and his four piece band work hard and although they are never going to fill this venue with their tribute, they certainly please the fans who still remember the sound of Fury.
As bonus, last week’s show was attended by Billy’s mum, Jean Wycherley, who gave the proceedings her seal of approval.
The Billy Fury Years 1959 to 1983 runs every Wednesday until October 24 (no show October 3).