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Billy Fury

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Liverpool, England (1955 – 1983)

Billy Fury was born Ronald Wycherley in Liverpool, England. He was a sickly child who experienced his first bout of rheumatic fever at age six. That began chronic health problems which eventually took his life before age 45.

Fury began music lessons, on the piano, at age 11. He got his first guitar at age 14. By 1955, the skiffle music boom had begun in England and Fury was leading his own local group, while still working on a tugboat and/or as a stevedore. By 1958, he had won a talent competition and had begun to write his own songs.

In a story which was legend among the British youth of the period, Fury was discovered by impressario Larry Parnes on October 1, 1958. That night, Fury attended a performance of The Larry Parnes Extravaganza, hoping to offer his songs to Marty Wilde, one of the featured performers and a well-known rock-&-roll star because of his appearances on the television series, “Oh Boy!” Fury did get backstage, and was seen by Parnes while performing one of his own songs for Wilde. Parnes booked Fury to appear on the Extravaganze that same night and the rest, as they say, is history - the applause which Fury received earned him a permanent spot on the tour and Parnes as his agent. Parnes’ established proceedure was to give his singers stage names representing emotions and attributes: Marty Wilde, Johnny Gentle, Vince Eager. Thus, Ronald Wycherley became Billy Fury.

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