Previews: Tribute to British star

Oxford'16 5 11
Oxford'16 5 11

MONDAY marks the 30th anniversary of the death of British rock ‘n’ roll legend Billy Fury.

His music lives on through his longest serving backing group, Fury’s Tornados, and with three original members they are playing at the Memorial Hall the night before, Sunday.

Vocalist Colin Gold will be leading the tribute to the Liverpool-born star known as the British Elvis at the height of the rock ‘n’ roll explosion in the UK in the Sixties. He was also a definite influence on fellow Liverpudlians the Beatles, whom he equalled with 24 hits during the 1960s.

His last hit came in the summer of 1983 following his death on January 28 of that year at just 42 - coincidentally, the same age as Elvis.

Throughout the Sixties, Fury never had a permanent backing group but in 1970 he decided, after extensive auditions, to hire the four Nottingham-based musicians who became Fury’s Tornados and went on to work on Fury’s live shows for most of the rest of his career. Along with seasoned musician/arranger Charlie Elston on piano/keyboards, the original three-piece band featured John Raynor on drums/percussion and current group leader Chris Raynor on lead guitar. Graham Wyvill joined shortly afterwards on bass to complete the four man line-up.

The name evolved from their single, Telstar ‘74 (produced by Billy and his manager Hal Carter), to coincide with the UK national theatre tour of The 1974 Rock And Roll Show Which feattured Fury and other home-grown musical pioneers Marty Wilde, Heinz and Tommy Bruce.

In the summer of 1996, Londoner Colin Gould was spotted by Chris and John on TV and soon rehearsals began to create a new show about the star’s life and music, The Billy Fury Experience. That show evolved into Halfway To Paradise - The Billy Fury Story which has toured the country since 1999. And the front man has dropped the ‘u’ from his name and become Colin Gold.

Stracey’s going strong

ON Friday Sheffield Jazz decamps to the Crucible Studio from its regular home at the Millennium Hall for a special concert featuring Stan Tracey’s Octet.

Known as the ‘Godfather of British Jazz’ after a distinguished career which has spanned six decades of touring, Tracey continues to tour, perform and record tirelessly. As house pianist at Ronnie Scott’s in London back in the Sixties he played with all the visiting American greats, one of whom, Sonny Rollins, famously said: “Does anybody here know how good he really is?”

His latest large ensemble includes son Clark on drums, along with trumpeter Mark Armstrong, trombonist Mark Nightingale and saxmen Sam Mayne, Simon Allen and Mornington Lockett.

Andy Cleyndert