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Paradise Regained

As Fury’s Tornados, they backed Billy in the final years of his career. Today they’re back on tour with acclaimed show Halfway To Paradise created in his memory. Guitarist Chris Raynor remembers an icon…


Billy Fury in the 70s: the British rocker was still in demand right up until his untimely passing in 1983
Photo by George Wilkes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You toured with Billy throughout the 70s. How did the group get started?

In Nottingham, I’d already played in various bands with our drummer John Raynor – no relation – and keyboardist Charlie [Elston]. I’d also played the US bases in Germany – one night backing the Everly Brothers, which was a thrill. Billy first enlisted Charlie around 1970, replacing John Miles, after Georgie Fame And The Gamblers. Billy grew to trust Charlie’s judgement, and as his previous musicians left, Charlie recruited John to play the drums, and then myself, to play guitar. We became Billy’s three-piece around 1971 to 72.

In addition, Billy’s manager Hal Carter ran these rock’n’roll theatre tours featuring the likes of Tommy Bruce and [original Tornado] Heinz, and we’d be the house band. We even did a remake of the Tornado’s Telstar in 1974, produced by Billy – sadly not a chart hit. After three years playing with Billy, Marty Wilde asked us to join him; then after about five months Billy asked for us back! Bass guitarist Graham Wyvill joined our latest show line-up in 2004. We’re all glad with the way things turned out – had The Beatles become Billy’s band back in the day, things could have been very different!

“When I first worked with Billy, his sheer vocal power surprised me. I never heard one syllable out of key”

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About Vintage Rock

'Maybe Tomorrow?’ No, the new issue of Vintage Rock is out now and stars... Billy Fury! Our 20-page special includes an interview with his latter-day backing band Fury’s Tornados and Vince Eager recalls his part in the landmark new album ‘The Symphonic Sound Of Fury’. We also hear from The Beach Boys’ Mike Love and Bruce Johnston about how the legendary band made the transition from doo-wop-influenced rock’n’rollers to symphonic pop geniuses. Our Classic Album is ‘In Style With The Crickets’, an amazing triumph following the tragic death of Buddy Holly. We talk exclusively to Gary ‘US’ Bonds about his early days cutting hot R&B in Virginia, his comeback with Bruce Springsteen and his return to live shows. With a new CD and biography released, we revisit the career of Wee Willie Harris, British rock’n’roll’s strangest and smallest star. PLUS! We talk to the folks building and revamping 50s Jukeboxes, we hand-pick Sam Cooke’s Top 20 hits and speak to Jerry Lee’s sister Linda Gail Lewis. In our live reviews, we head to the Wildest Cats In Town weekender where Charlie Gracie reined supreme, plus there’s a memorable doo-wop reunion in London. And we visit the world of Rockabilly-Radio online.