What is it that makes Buddy Holly and Billy Fury continually
Well, Buddy Holly is known as the master of the three chord
trick and basically any band that you've heard from the
sixties and seventies would say they
were influenced by Buddy Holly. Conversely, Billy Fury is
known as the James Dean of rock and roll. At a lot of our
shows we get a lot of women and they’re absolutely
entranced. When Steve starts singing you can hear a pin drop
when he’s doing the Billy Fury tribute.
Have you got a partner?
Yes, my wife comes along to all of the gigs. She always says
she wishes she were born in the fifties.
I was born in ’57 but would like to have been a mod so was
probably born ten years too late. I ended up living through
all the Glam Rock which was, as you know, pretty dire in
terms of the fashion.
That’s right, the clothing was dire in that period – the
music wasn’t too bad though. T. Rex – Bolan was pretty good.
Bowie and Roxy Music. So what are the best things about
doing what you do?
I think it’s quite a multifaceted show, so when we do a
show it’s not purely a Buddy Holly and Billy Fury tribute.
We link it to other fifties nostalgia, you know, like the Larry
Vince Eager and so on…
Yes, Dickie Pride, Georgie Fame, Marty Wilde. It’s
reminiscent of the fifties Oh Boy! show and the singers that
were part of the Larry Parnes stable. And then we bring in the
instrumental side of things with The Tornados. We do
Telstar in the Billy Fury spot.
Did you enjoy the Telstar movie?
Oh yes. I thought it was brilliant.
It was. I couldn’t fault it actually.
They got the period detail just right, didn’t they?
They did yes, it was very close. So we’ve got quite a lot
of different facets to it. And with the Buddy Holly it’s
the same – we link it to The Big Bopper.
And Eddie Cochran?
Eddie Cochran – that comes in at the last spot where we
have a tribute to all the rock and roll greats in the final
set. Because we’ve got two sets of Billy Fury and Buddy
Holly and then we have the final spot where we put
everything in it – Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee, Elvis, Gene
Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Kidd, Little Richard and it
goes on and on.
Are Cliff Richard and The Shadows cool enough for your show?
We do Cliff Richard and The Shadows. The thing is, so many
people bought his records, otherwise he wouldn’t be as big
as he is today. That is one of the things, when we do a
Cliff and The Shadows spot, we actually get into the
audience - because they were so big and are still very
The groups of the sixties and seventies – in fact
everybody who made British pop culture, cite a few
influences don’t they? Elvis, Lonnie Donegan, Hank and The
Shadows, Billy Fury and Buddy Holly.
One of the best of them all was Joe Brown. One of the finest
He’s still touring.
He is. I sort of half met him one day in a shop in Hull.
He doesn’t come too far from you, you know? People think
of him a typical cockney but he was actually born in Lincolnshire,
although he did move to the East End very young.
I’m not sure. I saw him with his band and I didn’t get a
chance to talk to him, but I think Joe Brown and The
Bruvvers were excellent.
Do you think Billy Fury is valued enough in the UK?
We did a show a year or so ago and one of the audience said
to me “I know Buddy Holly but I don’t know Billy
Fury.” She was quite young and was a teacher who
taught young kids, but at the end of the night she said
“I’ve never heard Billy Fury before but the next time I
hear there’s a Billy Fury show I shall go and see it.”
Hopefully she’d buy a CD and goes for some downloads.
That’s right, I mean when people come up to me when I’m
doing a solo Billy Fury number, which people haven’t heard
before, and they say “Who sang that?” and I explain it to them, then they actually start looking into
him. I think when I started looking Billy Fury up on the
Internet a few years ago I couldn’t actually find a lot of
information on him. And then I put in ‘Balladeer’
followed by ‘Rockabilly’ and he came straight up.
There can’t be many that fall into that category. He was
very well respected by his peers, wasn't he?
He still is. His stage shows were quite something else according
to those who have seen him. I spoke to a few people who
actually saw him live and they said he was one of the nicest
people you could hope to meet.
Nice to hear he was a decent bloke.
I was talking to someone who met him and he said his
favourite release was Billy’s first one called Margo and
it was unusual that someone knew this particular song. Only
true Billy Fury fans tend to know it. Steve Conran who, does
Billy Fury, has got a marvellously velvety voice.
I heard one of the sound files on the website and he
definitely has got a smooth voice.
They are recorded live and just ran straight into a minidisk
recorder and so it gives you an idea of the quality of his
voice. In a professional studio you’d get an even better
What does the Internet do for generating business for you?
We do get out of town work from the Internet. Having said
that we do get quite a lot of people from the Hull district
going on to the site to see what’s happening next. We get
quite a bit of work from it.
How far do you travel?
We go as far as the work is. The furthest we’ve actually
gone is Great Yarmouth and Nottingham.
Did you get to Yarmouth by boat or drive around The Wash?!
We drove down. It’s tantalizingly close but travelling a
sea mile isn’t as good as travelling by car.
You get lot of youngsters at the shows and not just The Blue
We do tend to get a mix. There’s that much variety in the
shows and so we actually get quite a good mixed audience and
it’s not just the older generation. We know this to be
true because we’re actually working on a Cliff and The
Shadows tribute at the moment and from the interest we’ve
received not all are from what you would call The Blue Rinse
When I saw the We’ll Meet Again show a few weeks ago, I
was by far the youngest there and I am fifty two! (Both
laugh) That said, it was packed.
We’ve been to Hemsby and we’re going to a Jazz and
Swing/Glenn Miller weekend shortly and the thing is you find that
there are lots of young people there. Also at the rock and
roll events – we go to them because we like to see other
acts perform because there’s always something you
haven’t seen before. And we tend to go quite a bit. It’s
people from as young as ten upwards into their sixties.
Well, Tony. It’s been great talking to you and best of
luck, not only with the Billy Fury and Buddy Holly show but
also with the new Cliff and The Shadows show.
Tony: Thanks David. Absolutely superb.
Davey as Buddy Holly