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It Only Took 60 Years!

Vince Eager was there at the outset of the Billy Fury story – and he’s right at the centre of it now. Here, he remembers a young man in search of stardom and explains how he finally got to duet with Billy…

BILLY FURY

It was Wednesday 1st October 1958, and a dark, dank, depressing day in the Merseyside town of Birkenhead. Here stood the local Essoldo Theatre where Marty Wilde, the John Barry Seven and myself were appearing that evening in a Larry Parnes show entitled ‘Extravaganza’. The theatre had survived many air raids that the Luftwaffe had inflicted on the area some 14 years earlier, and to the rear of the venue was barren land where many stores and businesses – once the heart of the Birkenhead community – had originally stood. It was this now desolate stretch of wasteland at the rear of the Essoldo that I had to navigate in order to reach one of the then popular Wimpy burger bars.

“I was approached by a handsome young man who looked like a mix of Elvis, Eddie Cochran and James Dean”

As I headed out in anticipation of a tasty Wimpy burger, I soon discovered it wasn’t to be. On my way, I was approached by a very handsome young man with his raincoat collar turned up, who looked like a mix of Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and James Dean. He was obviously aware that I’d just exited via the stage door and asked in a shy and unassuming way if Larry Parnes was inside.

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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.