HALL OF FAME


JUNE 2009

Johnny Storme has dedicated Mine to every member of the message board.

Creeping Bentgrass - Made an impressive debut in the main Saturday show at Sunnyside 09 and kept us entertained on the Friday afternoon..

Michelle Gibson - We hope that Michelle will be free to join the cast at Sunnyside 2010.

Space Babes
- Tornado was written for the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust's brand new £3m steam loco.

Two Steps Forward - Husband and wife Dean and Jane Hubert, who made terrific solo appearances at Sunnyside 09.

Peter Williams - These two striking tracks are taken from his latest CD, From The Heart, available through his website, www.peterandsoniawilliams.com

CLICK TO PLAY

STEVEN SINCLAIR

Who are your main musical influences? Mainly Gene Pitney, Bobby Vee, Ricky Nelson,and not forgetting Billy Fury.  His music had that something special, like a full orchestral piece, a big band production. I also loved to hear the doo-wop songs and old ballads from the late 50s-60s.

Which song do you most enjoy performing? That's a hard one, as there are so many I like doing. I suppose the one that stands out is Gerry and the Pacemakers' version of I'll Be There. It has so much emotion in it and I can put emotion into the song.

Do you play any instruments? Yes I play the keyboard. I have a Yamaha PSR Ss-500 at the minute.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I live in a small town called New Milton ,just a few miles from Christchurch, right on the edge of the New Forest. Beautiful! Definitely home.

What inspired you to start performing? I think it must be in my genes.  My Dad played a violin,and guitar,and my Mum played a piano and sang. Whenever I hear music I'm inspired.

How long have you been performing in public? Started when I was 17. We had a folk club in our little town up north and i used to play guitar. One night we had the Spinners as a special night. I got the chance to jam along with them and sing. I suppose that started me off.  I couldn't stop after that. I joined three or four different groups in the late 60s-70s. I think it was every lad's dream to make it big like the pop stars in those days.

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? One that stands out was a gig we had. When setting up we discovered we had left the bag with all the leads in it at home. So while one of the guitarists shot off home to get it, our lead guitarist played an acoustic guitar and with drums and me singing we got through about five songs before he got back. Those club mikes were chronic. Still the audience weren't too bad. Thank goodness we weren't too far away that night.

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? At the moment I don't perform any more, due to ill health, but I can't stop singing - those darnn genes won't let me stop.

What is your musical ambition ? I have always wanted to make a record, only now it would be a CD properly done in a studio, with proper backing artists. AAh, such a dream!

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. Gene Pitney's Backstage, Billy Fury's I'm Lost Without You and Johnny Remember Me by John Leyton.

Who are your three favourite performers? Gene Pitney, Bobby Vee and Billy Fury are my heros.

Anything to add? To end my story,I must first tell you that in the early 80s after a good lot of gigs, I got up one night and froze. I had got stage fright. I lost my voice for three months and never went on stage or sang again for about 28 years. About 2 years ago i met a great guitarist, Tom Hunt, through a music web site doing midi files. I still couldn't stay from music altogether. Then just last year he got me to sing a song. Although a bit croaky after all those years, I managed to surprise him. With the help of the members of a Yamaha forum (YPKO),and the members of this fine forum and other artists I was able to get up once again and sing in public. So with great pride I say: "Thank you, a big thanks to Harry and all the other fine people who believed in me."

Hear Steven sing

Backstage

Just One Smile

 

CHRISTINE (Alias JEWEL alias MARGO)

Who are your main musical influences? I grew up with the Sixties, through the Seventies. Judith Durham & The Seekers were a big influence while I was growing up, thanks to my Mum for playing such a wide variety of music like, Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, but Billy Fury didn't "call" to me 'til I was 13 years old, in 1983, when my Mum bought The Billy Fury Hit Parade on cassette, I loved him from then on. Better late than never I say!

Which song do you most enjoy performing? Oh that's a toughy! I must admit, I do like belting out Jane Morgan's The Day The Rains Came, what a song!

And at the moment my favourite Celine Dion song is This Time off the new Taking Chances album.

Do you play any instruments? Unfortunately no, I did have keyboard lessons as a kid, but I have forgotten most of it now.

So the only instruments I play are the ones in the kitchen. Ha ha ha!

Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I live in a village just outside Merthyr Tydfil, on top of the mountain. I was actually born and raised in Telford, Shropshire, to Polish parents, and my name is not Margo, that's just a message board pseudonym. My real name is Christine, and yes I can speak fluent Polish. But I do regard South Wales as my home now forever.

What inspired you to start performing? I have always loved to sing from an early age, always dreaming of becoming the next big pop star, but dreams very rarely turn into reality. It wasn't until 1999 that my husband saw an ad in our supermarket, from a female looking for another female to duet with her, and to ring the contact number on the card, so I did. We met for an audition I think a week later. I had never harmonised in my life when we met, and I found it very difficult, but nevertheless, I got the job. I was over the moon. It took over six months of hard work to get the harmonies right for our sets, but I did it, and we were out on the road in the West Midlands, and in only a short time we had been voted one of the best duets around, and sounded a lot like Abba! We were called De Ja Vu.

After a year or so, we ended with a lot of conflict so she went her separate way and I went mine, I pursued my solo career, and thus Jewel was born.

Within a year I had received my first award, Best Female Vocalist in Birmingham, then the second one came in 2004, Best Female Vocalist in South Staffordshire. I was absolutely over the moon. Now I am trying to work towards the Welsh Awards Show now, fingers crossed.

How long have you been performing in public? Officially since 2000, but I had done a couple of songs in small venues whenever I got asked, and of course, you can't forget the famous karaoke, ha ha ha ha .

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? Oh yes, I remember one time I was at a showcase somewhere, and there were seven or more acts on, doing 20 minute spots. I was on the list last. So as the night wore on, having a great time, sipping at my nice glass of port, and another port, then another, without realising how much I was drinking, as everyone was buying rounds, and we were having such a good time, that I forgot I was due to go on stage. My turn came, when I got reminded, and I started my first song, great response and applause, then the second and so forth, at my last song, I moved over the stage a bit. It was full of artists’ gear including mine and there were monitors and lights everywhere, plus I was a bit intoxicated. I ended up tripping over a monitor as I walked across and nearly fell over. I was mortified, but the crowd just went mad laughing at me, which in turn made me laugh, and it ended up that I finished the night by doing another 10 minutes, we had such a great time. But I don't drink that much port now, and that was back in 2002. And there was one time when I was in the duet, my singing partner came out on stage in the second half in her slippers. When I showed her while we were singing, she looked down, and straight over the mic, she went: "OOOOOOOOOOHHHH!". It was so funny. She changed into her shoes on my solo spot then.

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? I do a lot for charity, so I am always asked to do charity shows or organise one. As a performer, I tend to shy away form the "usual" stuff that most artists sing. I sing what they want to hear, and I sing material that they have probably not heard for years, and I have always been commented on how I know so many oldies, and how well I know the artists that sang them etc. A lot of the time in the social clubs the crowd end up singing along with me, especially when I sing Petula Clark's Sailor.

What is your musical ambition? To sing in front of thousands, in a massive venue, the buzz would be phenomenal. I still would like the fame and fortune, if it knocked my way, if not, then just to carry on what I am doing, and hopefully fulfil my ambition one day.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers: Oh I have so many, but ultimate is Run To My Lovin' Arms by Billy Fury, I'm Gonna Be Strong by Glennis Grace, a Gene Pitney cover, but wow, what vocals. To Love You More by Celine Dion. I love to hear power vocals, and Celine's vocals really get to me emotionally.

Who are your three favourite performers? Billy Fury, Celine Dion and Madonna. I have loved Madonna since she started, and was over the moon when I got the chance to be two foot from her when she performed live in Cardiff Millennium Stadium in 2006. Celine Dion is my next goal.

Anything to add? I love to sing, and I am so happy when my audience is happy, and enjoying themselves, listening to my taste in music, which always turns out to be their taste too. Many thanks to Harry and friends on the message board for listening to my music and your kind comments. I thank God every day that He has blessed me with a voice to light up people's lives, and I shall keep singing 'til the day I die. As the Abba song, Thank You For The Music says: "Nothing Can Capture The Heart, Like A Melody Can".

Hear Margo sing.

The Perfect Year

Jack In The Box

 

JOHN BURKE

Who are your main musical influences?: I love fast beat music more than ballads and over the last few years have got into the new country music with a particular liking for Patty Loveless who our local HMV seems not to have heard of.  But I like most kinds of music unless it rhymes with 'rap'...  When I was small my Mum filled the house with the sound of Cliff and the Shadows.  She was a huge fan and I was taken to see him and the Shads several times.
 

Which song do you most enjoy performing? Normally the one we're doing at the moment.  But faves are things that people jump up to dance and join in as soon as they start.  So that would be "Dance the Night Away" and "Johnny B Goode" and er... "Amarillo"!
 
Do you play any instruments? I play guitar and keyboards mainly but have also played in the past drums (badly), banjo, uke, 12-string guitar, mouth organs and squeezebox.  I currently have two Fender Strats, a 1960s Japanese Strat copy, a Shine electric guitar that looks nice but has one string that buzzes at a certain much-used fret, a Tanglewood acoustic steel-strung guitar and an un-named nylon-strung guitar.  I also have a Yamaha PSR-S700 keyboard.  Once in a cabaret restaurant in Paris the house act thrust a saxophone into my hands as a joke.  It was the most horrendous thing to even make a noise on, never mind coax the note you wanted.  I gave it him back and said "Peut etre le piano" and then sat down at an aged piano and we played "My Way" together horribly as the piano was tuned half a note flat and the saxophone wasn't...!
 
Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I live in Bispham which is now part of Blackpool although it was here at least 700 years before Blackpool was.  I was born in Rochdale and we moved to Blackpool when I married Miss Franny in 1976, so Blackpool is home now.
 
What inspired you to start performing?
I think in the 1960s every would-be guitarist wanted to be like Hank Marvin.  I got a guitar and Bert Weedon's "Play With Yourself In A Day" book for Christmas when I was 11 and my uncle showed me a few chords, enough to play "This Land Is Your Land" (He was a Seekers fan).  I still remember with great fondness watching TV coverage of the NME Awards in the early 1960s - they were really something.
 
 How long have you been performing in public?  I started playing the folk clubs in 1970 aged 16 with two other friends from school.  We were know by the catchy name of "The Heywood Senior High School Folk Band" which, when the school booked us into a county-wide inter-school gala evening, we changed to "Anacreon" after some Greek philosopher who choked to death on an olive stone.  I still don't know why...  Anyway we brought the house down that night and the local paper said things like "There was some great guitar work from this group" and I was most definitely hooked.
 
Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? I've fluffed lines and guitar licks like anyone else but are they that embarrassing?  I never stop and start again, that's a no-no, and if I can't cover the words by switching verses I can always improvise a guitar solo!  It proves you are playing live and I'll joke that that's why I did it!  I'm hard to embarrass!  One potential thing which could have embarrassed me but which instead I like to boast about is that in 1972 I was playing in a band called Spiral and we supported the folk singer-comedian Mike Harding one night at an old-folks' centre in Rochdale.  At the time I wore one of those leather jackets with loads of tassels on stage, exactly like the Sheriff wore in the film "Blazing Saddles".  A few months later Mike released a song with got into the charts and went "It's hard being a cowboy in Rochdale"!  Was I the inspiration?  I don't know - but I like to think so!  David, our singer in my current band once had someone ask him to sing "Simply the Best" but they chose a night when he didn't have his split skirt with him...  We did put a Tina Turner number in the set after that though and currently do one of (Harry, hold your hat) The Ronettes.  In solo spots I even do a Christina Aguillera number!
 
How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? For the past 7 years or so I've played and sung with a band called Creeping Bentgrass.  We play around a dozen gigs a year, sometimes more, at a range of places: weddings and parties, pubs, the occasional club, lots of charity events and the odd festival.  We've played to very small audiences and one wondrous day where 12,000 attended.  We play folk, Irish, country, 50s, 60s, ballads and rock and roll and even a couple of hornpipes.
 
What is your musical ambition? I wanted the full fame and fortune thing once.  Now I'm happy to play wherever people want us to play and still get a great buzz out of it.  I've been trying to persuade pal Caroline Munro, the Bond Girl from "The Spy Who Loved Me", to sing with us, but with us up in Blackpool and she living in London it's not that easy.  She did cut a record in 1966 with backing provided by Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Steve Howe!
 
Name your three favourite songs by other performers. is changes all the time.  "Last Night Was Made For Love" by Billy.  "Son This Is She" by John Leyton who I've met enough times for him to look at me quizzically and say "I've seen you before haven't I?" and then er... er...  three only?  Impossible!  I'll close my eyes and stab at a list ... "One of These Nights" by The Eagles.  It could have easily been any number of others.
 
Who are your three favourite performers? I have to say Billy or Moya will slap my legs but I never saw him perform and I really, (really?) yes, really do not have favourite artists and performers, only favourite songs.  However, I have sat entranced through concerts given by Cliff and the Shads, Cilla, Rolf, The Tornados and Bert Weedon in the 60s and by such nostalgically great, unknown or forgotten bands as Magna Carta, Barclay James Harvest, Curved Air, and The Strawbs in the 70s and 10cc and Darts and.... oh... three you say...?
 
Anything to add? ere is no feeling on Earth like being on a stage with people applauding you.  I do have a huge ego but I'm not precious about it!  It's a gift to be able to do this - both having the voice, the musical ear, the skill and the guts and I just happen to have one of the biggest guts I know...  I think people have got fed up in recent years with songs in the charts that require no talent whatsoever and that's made itself felt in people looking to the Internet and sources like Harry's "Sounds Special" for their entertainment.  So I feel proud and privileged to be here and look forward to each month to hear what everyone else has contributed.

Hear John Burke sing.

Great Balls Of Fire

Up Around the Bend (with Creeping Bentgrass)

 

 

PAUL STAINES

Who are your main musical influences? Elvis,Billy Fury & Tony Bennett.  Mmy dad too because he was always singing around the house (he was a boy soprano and sang at the Albert Hall solo when  he was 11)  and I grew up listening to his Teddy Boy collection of rock n roll records

Which song do you most enjoy performing?
Currently it's Forget Him (Billy Fury) the most requested song over the past year or so, closely run by In Dreams (Roy Orbison).
Do you play any instruments? I played the trumpet in the school band for 3 years, not got the puff to do it now.
Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I was born in Lambeth Hospital, S.E.London and lived most of my life around Oval, Kennington, Elephant & Castle, but now I live in Bromley Kent and have done so for the last 10 years, so as they say: "Where ever I lay my hat...."
What inspired you to start performing? All of my aunts & uncles, cousins, nan & grandad and my mum & dad went on a big family summer holiday to Hayling Island.  My nan, Grace (a former opera singer) went into the resort's talent competition accompanied by my aunt Jean (who did studio backing singing in the late 60s early 70s, singing with the Tornados, Tom Jones amongst others).  The final drew near, my nan won, absolutely bringing the house down with When I Leave The World Behind and my aunt coming 3rd with a Cilla Black song,  I remember looking at my nan full of pride as she picked up the trophy and cash prize with rapturous applause ringing out and thinking, even at that early age, saying: "I want some of that, that's gonna be me one day."
 
How long have you been performing in public? Apart from school musicals, (Aladdin, Joseph etc) my first taste of solo public singing was in my Uncle Mick's local pub The Rising Sun in Vauxhall, owned by a former boxer and general hardman, Tony.  He used to run charity events for handicapped children through the Freddie Mills boys club. I was just 18 and one particular night I was in there with my uncle and mate who worked behind the bar along with a host of boxers,  John H. Stracey, John Conteh, Joe Bugner to name only a few.  My mate Brian put up to the resident host and band £10 for me to sing an Elvis song (as I was always singing....must have driven them mad).  I was called up and sang Are You Lonesome Tonight shaking like a leaf.  I sang it  and everyone went nuts. Next thing there were more requests to sing one in particular by a now old but well known villain of the area at the time .  He put up £100 for me to sing to his trophy blonde wife Can't Help Falling In Love.  Ii never had to buy a drink all night and went home in the wee hours of the morning on top of the world....the rest is history.
What was your most enjoyable public performance? Wow this is a hard one, for sheer talkability factor it's got to be whenI sang Teddy Bear a capella style, with the legendary Jordanaires, on November 21st 1997 in downtown Memphis in the Elvis Presley restaurant.  They posed afterwards for a picture, with me in the middle (it's on one of my Youtube videos), which has pride of place in my home, but what meant the most to me was a charity do for my friend's severely handicapped son Tommy Gibson. Ii was performing as Big Elvis, the club's concert hall was booked, all 300 tickets were sold, on the night there was just under 500 people crammed in, the show was awesome and nearly £10,000 was raised, a truly magical night for all involved 
Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? Sorry i'd love to have an anecdote of embarrassment to share, but apart from my zip undone on stage once (thankfully nothing on show) and having the barmaid shouting out: "You're flying low Paul" much to some amusement of onlookers.
How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? I work 3 times a week singing (minimum depending on bookings). 2 of these are karaoke nights, one is my Sunday sing-a-long-quiz afternoon and along with the RAOB I do a lot of charity events at the pub.
What is your musical ambition? To sing live on stage in Las Vegas (a bit of a cliche i know) and to have a CD recorded at a big studio and go top 10.
.Name your three favourite songs by other performers. Other than Billy?   Elvis Presley ~ If I Can Dream, Roy Orbison ~ In Dreams, Tony Bennett ~ If I Ruled The World.
 
Who are your three favourite performers? Elvis Presley, Billy Fury & Tony Bennett.
Anything to add? I have met many friends over the years through my singing and some have been there at the start and are still there now through the thick and the thin end of things. One highlight was recording at the legendary Sun Studios in downtown Memphis.  Tthe place is plain and simple but is simply magical. Raising a lot of money for charity over the years has been at times hard going trying to capture people's attention but end results make them all worthwhile, when causes are good people's true charitable colours shine through. At 42 I'm proud to be a husband a dad & grandad (to my darling Alfie) and I send thanks to my friends old and new for their never ending support and to my biggest fans my late mother, my ever so laid back dad, my family, in particular my son Paul and daughter-in-law Sarah and grandson Alfie and last but not least my biggest fan and best and worst critic all rolled into one, my wife Sandra, who has been there through it all, with shotgun at the ready -  to these i salute you for putting up with me.

Hear Paul sing.

Forget Him

You Raise Me Up

ANDREW TWEEN

Who are your main musical influences? - I suppose my main musical influence came from listening to my parents' varied record collection as a child during the early 60s, all on 78rpm 10 inch discs, I should add. Christmas time was when we always played them on an old Bush radiogram. My Dad’s collection included Bill Haley and Frankie Laine and Mum’s, Paul Anka, Connie Francis and Teresa Brewer. I remember liking Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers which obviously led to my love of doo-wops and from those early days I became drawn to the music of Marty Wilde, Buddy Holly, Elvis, Adam Faith, Roy Orbison and of course, Billy Fury.

Which song do you most enjoy performing? - It’s difficult to pick out one song in particular as different occasions always determine how well certain songs are appreciated, and appreciation of your performance is what gives the buzz we all crave. I always enjoy singing Billy’s I Must Be Dreaming, but Marty Wilde’s Tomorrow’s Clown is probably my number one. It’s the uncertainty of how well I’ll hit the last note that gets the adrenalin flowing.

Do you play any instruments? - I was lucky that my grandparents decided to get rid of their piano, which turned up on my parents' doorstep, unannounced, when I was 7 years old. I learnt classical piano from then until I rebelled as a teenager, as one does, bought my first electric guitar and taught myself to play it, rather badly some would say. I joined the Royal Navy at 16 and found that volunteering for the band meant I could get out of general duties throughout my training. My then limited knowledge of playing the trumpet (I could just play the scale of C major) was helped by several excellent Royal Marine bandmasters and I eventually played with most of the Royal Navy Blue Jacket Bands at some stage of my career, mastering the cornet, flugel horn and tenor horn.

Today, I continue to play keyboard, I have a Technics KN5000 which I use to produce my backing tracks, and have a couple of semi acoustic guitars which I occasionally pick up and strum.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home? - Being a serviceman tends to make you a bit of a nomad so I have moved around a great deal over the years. From growing up in London and Surrey I have lived in several places including Cornwall, Scotland, Kent and Devon. After leaving the Navy, I moved to Mallorca where I was lucky enough to meet my wife, an Essex girl, and spent nearly 6 years there. We have now been back in England for nearly 12 years, living in Essex, so, being as it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in any one place, I suppose it’s where I now call home. However, who knows? Watch this space.

What inspired you to start performing? - Being a shy and reserved person, although not many would agree, I found from an early age that I could escape into another world on stage, taking part in school plays and concerts. Even then, performing always gave me a buzz but for years I didn’t pursue it as I never felt I was good enough. Getting to know several performers in Mallorca and joining in at jam sessions with them led to my being asked to help form a 5 piece harmony group singing in and around Magaluf. Another member of the group informed me one day that I sang like Billy Fury and that was enough to get me on the road to taking things a little more seriously.

How long have you been performing in public? - With the couple of groups at school, the Naval bands and my time in Mallorca it must be, on and off, over 30 years. As a solo performer though I only really got started a couple of years ago, after recording my first CD of Billy Fury songs, Fabulous Fury for the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

What was your most enjoyable public performance? - The one that springs to mind was when I played in the Royal Naval Engineering College band in the Naval Band Competition of 1989. We hadn’t done terribly well in the marching display but the evening concert performance was electrifying. Barely two bars into our first number the whole band could feel we would win the contest and it just lifted everybody to such a point we performed like never before. We took 3 of the five trophies away with us that day. As a solo artist it was a friend’s ruby wedding party last year, where the whole audience loved Billy Fury, and 60s music in general, and were dancing throughout my entire performance. I was on a high for several days after that.

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? - Thankfully, no. Not recently at least. One of my first gigs though, as a teenager in a group formed with school mates, was in a village hall across town, at a show organised by our drummer’s mother, for St Valentine’s Day. A little out of place amongst recitals and poetry from octogenarians and ballet performances by five year olds, we lifted the roof with our home grown rock’n’roll. As we finished our set, with most of the audience’s fingers planted firmly in their ears, we were mobbed by screaming girls, asking for our autographs and ripping pink cardboard hearts from the walls of the hall for us to sign. At the tender age of 15 that was embarrassing. If only it would happen these days.

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? - Things are quite quiet at present but then I’ve not been promoting my show that much recently. I’ve been busy producing some new backing tracks and perfecting new material over the past few months in order to diversify a little more. As much as we all love Billy Fury’s music the general public aren’t quite so discerning and demand the more popular standards from the 50s and 60s at live venues. Sad I know, but a fact of life I’m afraid. I’m still involved in charity work and do several performances each year for local causes as well as Macmillan Cancer Support.

What is your musical ambition? - Simply to enjoy my music and hopefully, bring pleasure to others through my performances and recordings.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. - A difficult question but the three that spring to mind as my all time favourites would have to be:

Claudette by The Everley Brothers
Mr Blue by Mike Preston
Big Man by The Four Preps

Where did I dig those up from you may well ask? Mum and Dad’s record collection.

Who are your three favourite performers? - Another difficult one as there are so many but with Billy Fury being the number one my next three would be Marty Wilde, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. More recently, artistes that impress me include Katie Melua and the fantastic Richard Hawley. I know that’s more than three but they really do deserve a mention.

Anything to add? - Just that I am so pleased to have been introduced to billyfury.com and to be associated with such a talented group of artistes, all striving to keep the music of the 50s and 60s alive. Keep up the excellent work on the website, Harry, it is much appreciated by each and every one of us and congratulations on your recent "millionth hit" milestone.

Hear Andrew Tween sing

I Must Be Dreaming

Tomorrow's Clown


DES O'REILLY

1962-1967 Drummer/Vocalist for The Puppets, a Joe Meek band.
1986-1996 Lead vocalist for Monkey Business. South Australia

Who are your main musical influences? When I first started out in 1959 we would aspire to play absolutely anything we heard, American or British. 
Bob Johnson and The Bobcats were the name band in the town and I remember being impressed with Bob and the way he went about things so he was a a big influence.

Then I saw my first live rock show. It would have been early ’61. On the bill were Emile Ford and the Checkmates, and Billy Fury. It was also the first time I saw Billy, little realising at the time we would one day work together and become friends.

 It was also the first time I saw The Big Three, and they were wearing canary yellow suits and boots! Wow, how cool was that? Anf they played simply excellent rock 'n' roll.

Billy Fury was incredible, the crowd was unbelievable, and Billy had them right in the palm of his hand… Such charisma! All the girls wanted to be with him and all the guys wanted to be him. Amazing! The Big Three then started to play at the Catacombes on Sunday nights, a venue in Preston. We were working in six nights a week and their influence showed heavily in the way that our music was going. Even though Sunday night was our one night off, we still went there every week to listen and watch the The Big Three and other Liverpool bands.

So I guess The Big Three and Billy Fury both figured as early influences. When I was in the Puppets, 1962-1967, we tended to like all the American r ’n'  b and I think it’s fair to say that I've probably been influenced by just about every singer I have ever heard.

Which song do you most enjoy performing? I’ve had many favourites over the years. Currently I’m having such a great time with these "new-fangled" backing tracks, that I’m finding all sorts of interesting material. I have always enjoyed doing Stand By Me and My Girl.

Do you play any instruments? Yes, I play drums. I started playing in ’59.and because basically nobody seemed to want to sing, I started singing at the same time. I do also play a bit of guitar and piano but not to performance standard.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I live about 50kms south of Adelaide, in South Australia, in the country by the sea. It’s a delightful spot called Aldinga Beach. I’ve lived here since 1979. I became an Australian Citizen in 1992 and definitely regard this as home.

What inspired you to start performing? There was a guy who lived locally called Ian Thompson. Ian was a couple of years older than me and he had a fabulous collection of rock ‘n’ roll records so, of course, we used to congregate at his place all the time. One of the things we used to do was to place two books flat down on the table with about six inches between them, then, with a pair of drumsticks, hit the book directly in front using alternate sticks. Then, on every fourth stroke we’d strike the book on the right, keeping up the continuity of the alternate strokes while progressively getting faster. We used to count the right hand book strikes and see how many times we could strike it in one minute.

For some reason I seemed to be able to do this better than the others and Ian said I should consider being a drummer, because he thought I could do it. He then arranged for me to go and meet a cousin of his who was a professional drummer. I did this and was so taken that I pestered my Mum to buy me a drum kit and she did. I became the proud owner of a Gigster drum kit, comprising a small bass drum, a snare drum, two tom-toms, (but with only a skin on the top of them), and a tiny 9 inch cymbal.  This was my first inspiration to perform.


How long have you been performing in public? I started in 1959, so I’m now in my 49th year. Two points to mention here: 1) I’m still trying to get it right and 2) They said it would never last.

What was your most enjoyable public performance? There were many between 1962 and 1967. The Puppets backed some major recording stars of the time. Brenda Lee, The Ronettes, Big Dee Irwin, Dee Dee Sharp and of course that fabulous rocker Gene Vincent. We lived in the same house with Gene for the summer season in Blackpool in 1965 and did about 200 shows with him all up. We also backed a lot of British artists too, Michael Cox, Vince Eager, Duffy Power,J ess Conrad and Millie and lots of others, and were Crispian St Peters' band for the period when he had two top five hits, You Were On My Mind and Pied Piper in 1966. I had a card from Crispy this Christmas.  The poor guy has had three nervous breakdowns and three strokes.

Just imagine touring for six months with two top five hits. It was wild, and in the latter half of 1966 we became Billy Fury’s band. Whilst we did many big shows, I particularly enjoyed working for Billy Fury at any venue. He drew his own crowd wherever he performed and the atmosphere was always absolutely electric.

To appear on stage consistently with someone like Billy was a magical and exciting experience. We worked for most of the early British pop stars and had an absolute ball, but seriously Billy was head and shoulders above them all with his stage presence, his look, and his performances. It was truly a fantastic part of my life as a musician.

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? None that I can recall.


How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? I’m coming up to 64. I still do the odd gig with backing tracks and I’m a member of a couple of online karaoke sites, so I’m able to sing many and varied songs that I just couldn’t perform with guitar bands. I’m also able to put songs to camera and that keeps me going too. I get feedback from all over the world. So I’m still very much involved in performing. I do voluntary work at an aged care facility and do many concerts for them, plus activities like calling bingo, playing skittles and frequently going on bus trips to local beauty spots. I have also got together a group of singers from the facility and we’ve already had two public performances. It’s great.

What is your musical ambition? Wow, how do I answer this one?I have been most fortunate in that I have been able to live my entire life as a performer on a professional basis and that’s what I set out to do all those years ago. I’ve loved every minute.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. Difficult question. I do like a lot of songs, however I’ll pick Ben E King : Stand By Me, Smoky Robinson : My Girl, Otis Redding : Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay.

Who are your three favourite performers? Once again difficult to answer, currently Chicago, The Band, Tony Bennett.

Anything to add? Yes, looking back to those times I have incredibly good memories. Joe Meek was our manager and he placed us with the George Cooper Organisation in London. George looked after most of the pop and rock acts at the time, and he used to put out shows with about five or six artists together. We would end up playing for just about all of the individual singers. Heavy responsibility certainly, but we must have done OK for quite quickly George had us backing some of the biggest recording artists that he was promoting and touring, and for three young lads from Preston who simply wanted to make a living playing music, it was nice to know that some big people in the industry afforded us credibility. Fantastic! I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Can you imagine being on stage with someone like Gene Vincent or Billy Fury, and they turn round and look at you and "count in"? You know what you do? You play well!

Hear Des O'Reilly sing.

My Girl

Stand By Me


MIKE CHAMBERS

Who are your main musical influences? My main  influences in my music are Billy Fury and Elvis. They both play a big part in my life.

Which song do you most enjoy performing? I Can't Help Falling In Love.

Do you play any instruments?  I've never played any instruments but I would like to learn piano and guitar.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I was born in Amble in Northumberland.  It's about twenty miles north of Newcastle.  It is a beautiful part of England, steeped in history.

How long have you been performing in public? I do all my music at home. I have never peformed in public apart from once abroad in kareoke, but my ambition is to do an Elvis and Billy show together on the night.  I'd love to do that.  First half Billy, second Elvis.  Wow!

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. My favourite songs from other artists are It's Over, Roy Orbison; When The Girl In Your Arms, Cliff; Imagine, John Lennon.  

Who are your three favourite performers? Elvis, Billy and Shakin' Stevens.

Anything to add? I would like to thank Harry and the team for this wonderful site. I feel like I've known everyone forever yet I have never met any of you yet.  Some day I hope to meet some of you.  Thank you and keep healthy and happy. 

Hear Mike Chambers sing.

His Latest Flame

They Remind Me Too Much Of You


BRUCE SEATON


Who are your main musical influences? Elvis Presley, Billy Fury, Shakin' Stevens.

Which song do you most enjoy performing? It changes regular,but at the moment I would have to say Once Upon A Dream.

Do you play any instruments? Not that you could recognise the tune as such. I can just about play melodies on the keyboard but that's about as far as my talent stretches I'm afraid.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home? I live now in Colchester in Essex,and have been here for 25 years. As for home, although I have lived here longer than I actually lived in Scotland,,
I think like most people who move away you always miss "home" and therefore I think of Paisley, near Glasgow as home.

What inspired you to start performing?  I have been a fan of rock 'n' roll since about the age of four.  My mum used to work at a local cinema and take me with her where i saw all the latest Elvis movies, etc and my mum also had a great collection of records,so Billy Fury, Elvis, Cliff, etc were the ones I always played on the old record player.  (How old does that make me sound?)

How long have you been performing in public?  I have never performed in public to date but hope to be performing in public very soon.  My songs are all recorded at home on a PC ,but I am trying now to build up some equipment to allow me to firstly get regular practice,and secondly get me on the road.

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? Up till now I have been happy to record at home for fun, I have had a couple of Elvis songs played on Elvis tribute artist radio,and I am overwhelmed to be a part of Sounds Special on here, but ultimately I hope from here I can extend my performance to taking in live gigs.

What is your musical ambition? Again my main ambition is just to be able to entertain people,by keeping the name of rock 'n' roll alive, especially by doing tributes to Billy Fury and Elvis Presley and
if in doing that I can give other people a bit of happiness in their lives ,then I will be happy.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers.  The Wonder Of You by Elvis Presley. Don't Knock Upon My Door by Billy Fury. Rockabilly Rebel by Matchbox.

Who are your three favourite performers?  Billy Fury to me is by far the main man to have come from the rock 'n' roll scene in the UK. He has such a versatile voice, I just think its a shame he has been left to a degree largely under-estimated and overlooked. He had an unbelievable talent.

Elvis Presley, again a very versatile entertainer, and a singer who could sing any style of song: gospel, rock, ballad, pop and you still liked it. Another singer sadly missed by us all.

Rod Stewart may seem a strange choice, but lately watching his live performances he is a very professional entertainer, and his Great American Songbook concerts are yet another milestone in his career.(and he is a Celtic fan!)

Hear Bruce Seaton sing.

Once Upon A Dream

Don't Leave Me Now

RUSS DEE

Who are your main musical influences? Billy Fury and Elvis Presley. Ii listened to both of them from an early age.

Which song do  you most enjoy performing? I love singing Gonna Type A Letter and Like I've Never Been Gone or any fast dance track.

Do you play an instrument? Yes, I'm good on the fiddle.

Where do you live and where do  you regard as home? I've lived in Leeds all my life.

What inspired you to start performing? I went into a studio about 12 years ago to do a CD for my mum and dad's anniversary.  I was told by the mixing chappie that I had a tidy voice so I put a few songs together and the rest as you say is history.

How long have you been performing in public?  About 12 years.

What was you most enjoyable public performance? No disrespect to any of the Fury Fests, but I think it was the Southend Pavilion for Tony Harte.  It was everything you could dream of. Fantastic lights, sound was magic and not only that it was great working with Wee Willie Harris. Also Fury Fest 03 was special, working with the likes of, in no particular order, Colin Paul, Garry Slade, Ray Shenton, Tony Harte, Dave Michael, Rob Dee and the rest of the boys.

Have you had any embarrassing moment as as performer?  At Fury Fest 03 there was this tall guy at the stage door puffing away at his fag, bald as the day he was born.  He said he thought I was very good.  Embarrassed by this, I said: "Thanks very much, who are you?"  In a thick Brummie accent he said: "It's me, Garry Slade."

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? One thing I love doing is charity gigs.  It's nice to give something back.

What is your musical ambition? I would love to do more bigger venues because if you have half a voice and nerves of steel the sound equipment does the rest.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. The Wonder Of You, Gonna Type A Letter and Artifical Flowers by Bobby Darin.

Who are your three favourite performers? Billy Fury, Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin.

Hear Russ Dee sing:

I'll Never Fall In Love Again

Somebody Else's Girl

 

DAVE MICHAEL

Who are your main musical influences? My first influence was Lonnie Donegan, so I formed a skiffle group for four years. My big influence was when I saw Buddy Holly on the British tour. That was the music I wanted to play. Saw Billy, Cliff, Shads (who then were the Drifters) in 1959. I then formed my own rock and roll band.

Which song do  you most enjoy performing? Songs of the late 50s. Tribute act to Billy and Elvis. All the great songs from the rock and roll period.

Do you play an instrument? Yes, I play guitar.  I had lessons at the age of 11, but gave up as the tutor only wanted to play classical. Played bass in a dance band. Did session work. My music died when the groups came in, about 1962.

Where do you live and where do  you regard as home? I now live on the south-east coast at Whitstable with my wife of 42 years.

What inspired you to start performing? Music is in the blood. I've been in bands all my life.  The family were musical. I have retired many times, but always seem to be drawn back again.

How long have you been performing in public? Up to date I have been performing for 51 years, with bands, and solo in the last few years, performing my Billy and Elvis tribute act.

What was you most enjoyable public performance? Very hard to choose between the tribute to Billy at Margate, and Fury Fest in 2003.

Have you had any embarrassing moment as as performer? At a gig in Southampton with Tony Harte and Willie Harris, half way through my set they decided to call out the meat raffle. So I walked off, but I was cheered by the crowd as I left.

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? Can still give the youngsters a run for their money. Plenty of miles travelled, lots of experience, thinking of retiring. (Where have I heard that before?)

What is your musical ambition? To keep the Billy and Elvis legends alive, and to rock till I drop.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. Billy,  I Will.  Elvis, Kentucky Rain. Buddy, True Love Ways.

Who are your three favourite performers?  Billy, Elvis, Buddy and Ray Shenton. (Sorry, that's four.) 

Hear Dave Michael sing: 

Memories

Once Upon A Dream

DAVE JAY

Who are your main musical influences? The Beatles, The Kinks, and Cliff Richard are a big influence on me, along with a lot of other sixties bands and singers.  Billy Fury was the guy whose songs I sang when I first started singing solo. Paul Weller and Bryan Ferry are also there. I am also a big fan of Northern Soul and Motown.
 
Which song do you enjoy singing most? Usually the last one!! Any songs really that i can see the audience are into.  I love singing when people are dancing or singing along. I do enjoy singing The Walker Brothers' Make It Easy On Yourself though.
 
Do you play any instruments? Yes I play rhythm guitar with my band The Revivers.
 
Where do you live and where do you call home? I live in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and home is where my family are.
 
What inspired you to start performing? I learnt to play a few songs on an acoustic guitar and used to sing along very quietly. When I met my partner Claire, she could play the classical piano and keyboards, She started to accompany me on a little keyboard with a drum machine in it and I would play guitar and sing.  It was a sort of mini band. That's how we started.  We used to perform at singers nights in local folk clubs at first, doing three songs from the sixties.  It was very nerve wracking  because you could hear a pin drop, as they never talked when someone was performing. We made mistakes but learned and grew up quickly. We played at various venues with my guitar and mic, and Claire's keyboard, all going through one amplifier. That little duo grew into the five piece Revivers. Claire was the one who really got me started and gave me lots of confidence and encouragement.  She still does today, she is my rock. She plays keyboards in the band, but I always lean on her, even now.
 
How long have you been performing? About ten years, I think. I started a bit late but if I'd done it earlier I may not be doing it now, so that's the good thing.
 
What was your most enjoyable performance? There have been a lot, but probably the first one with the Revivers, because we went down really well and I had acheived something that I had always dreamed about, to play and sing in a band.
 
Have you had any embarrassing moments? The usual forgetting of words, not switching things on, etc. The worst one fortunately didn't happen. I was informed by our drummer that a guy who used to come and watch us regularly had sadly passed away. I wrote a few lines on a piece of paper about how sad we were etc, and i was going to read it out after we had done a few songs. Just as I was going to read it out I got a tap on my shoulder from our drummer.  "Better not read that out Dave, he's stood over there.  I think I must have got it wrong."  Yes, I think you did.
 
How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? Still learning, still loving it. I will never stop, I want to die on stage. (Although that happens most weeks.)
 
What is your musical ambition? Just to keep enjoying it, and hopefully to make people happy, and I guess to record that perfect CD. I don't think I'll ever make the main stage at Glastonbury.
 
What are your three favourite songs by other performers? That is so hard, there are so many, and they change each week, but I could never put anything above my number one.
 
1 Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks.
2 Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles.
3 First Love Never Dies - The Walker Brothers.
 
Who are your three favourite performers? Again this is difficult, so I'll name four. In no particular order. The Kinks, Paul Weller, Billy Fury and The Beatles.

Thank you for reading this biog.  I hope you enjoyed it, Dave.

Hear Dave Jay sing: 

Sway

I'll Keep You Satisfied
 

 


ROB DEE

Who are your main musical influences?  The Beatles were always a big influence back in the early sixties and of course Billy Fury. There were not many ways you could listen to music in those days before the pirate stations. I could not afford to buy records so I used to listen to Radio Luxembourg on an old radiogram. The signal was terrible though. We only had one small black and white TV per house back then and I used to look forward to Ready Steady Go on Friday evenings.  The trouble was the first 20 minutes clashed with my Dad's favourite programme on the other side.  It was called Out Of Town with a bloke called Jack Hargraves talking about worms and fishing (yawn). 

Which song do you most enjoy performing?  This has got to be It's Only Make Believe. I always leave this one till the end of my set, as it never fails to deliver.

 I have been told that it is the song that Billy put into every show of his.  

Do you play any instruments? I have been learning to play guitar for about 15 years now. I can strum quite a few chords (struggle with B7 though) and put a tune together, but I always wanted to play finger picking style like Chet Atkins and Bert Janch or jazz like Martin Taylor. I have a Yamaha semi acoustic, a PRS copy electric, and a banjo.  I can also blow out a few tunes on harmonica, oh and the only instrument the band allow me to play, a tambourine.    

Where do you live and where do you call home?  I have  lived in Caerphilly near Cardiff for over 30 years.  I was born and lived on the Isle Of Sheppey, Kent. I would like to move to Portishead next, as I work there sometimes and really like it there.    

What inspired you to start performing? This is a tough one. I used to go to the local pub on Tuesday nights where a bunch of us would-be Eric Claptons used to get together and strum out a few things we had learnt during the week. We also had to sing and it was there that I discovered my singing was better than my guitaring. If you had told me then, about ten years ago what I would be doing now I would have never believed  you.    

How long have you been performing in public?. From the time I've just mentioned, I joined a nine piece folk band  called Diarno. We were four guitars, two violins, a cello, a piano, and a flute.  We used to rehearse in one of the member's homes, a beautiful farmhouse, and then put on concerts for the local people. I went on then to pay my dues doing the club and pub circuit (filling in between the bingo). From that I went on to performing my Billy Fury tribute and forming The Furysound.       

What was your most enjoyable performance? There are quite a few (and some I would rather forget). I would say in no particular order. Furyfest 03 - It was a wonderful weekend, meeting everybody and taking part in something that turned out to be unique, plus sharing the stage with the fabulous Vince Eager.  All three Sunnysides, although I enjoyed 2006 best as I was solo and left all the stress to Colin Paul. The Evesham charity nights for Pat Young have all been pretty special to me. The Ace Cafe a couple of years ago in front of 300 bikers and the highlight was Billy's mum getting on stage  and singing In Thoughts Of You with us.    

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer? Loads, I was doing a gig with the Furysound.  We spent about an hour setting up and I tripped over the mains lead, blowing all the fuses and no one knew where the fuse box was. There was another time when we were doing a rock 'n'  roll gig. The band were playing one song (Stroll With Me) and I was singing another (She's So Pretty). We managed to meet somewhere in the middle and the jivers carried on without noticing.    

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? I keep trying to improve all the time. I work hard at my Billy Fury tribute adding new songs as they are requested.  I am also working on a new tribute show that should be ready soon.    

What is your musical ambition? I am a big fan of country music and would love to have some success as a country singer. I am planning on bringing out a country CD soon. I would also like to sing in front of a big band Bobby Darin style.     

Name your three favourite songs by other performers. It is difficult to name just three as I have a wide taste in music. 1 I Just Cant Help Believing by Elvis.  2 Cara Mia by Narvel Felts. 3 He Stopped Loving Her Today  by George Jones.   

Who are your three favourite performers? It goes without saying Billy Fury.  It is my biggest regret that I did not see Billy perform live, from the limited amount of film available of his performances I would say that he had it all - style, charisma, sex appeal and a voice to die for. 2 Elvis comes a close second to Billy. He had all of the above but Billy takes the edge as he was also a great song writer. Garth Brookes. As I mentioned earlier I am a big fan of country music and I have many favourites -  Alan Jackson, George Jones, Narvel Felts, Vince Gill,Gretchan Wilson, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire, Big And Rich, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rodgers, Hank Williams, and many more, But Garth Brookes has to be my favourite, Check out his concert from New York Central Park. 3 Johnny Ray. I am a big fan of the crooners, Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro, Bobby Darin, etc. But as far as performing goes Johnny Ray wins he was unique.         

Hear Rob Dee sing:

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Turn My Back On You

ROGER SEA


Who are your main musical influences? 
I first heard the early American rock 'n' roll numbers from artists like Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and Little Richard. Living in the seaside town of Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire we had lots of cafes with juke boxes and young people were welcome to dance to the music. Since those early days, music has been the biggest single influence in my life and many famous artists have helped to develop my musical direction. Artists like Marty Wilde, Joe Brown, Cliff, The Beatles, Gene Pitney, Roy Orbison and of course Billy have all played an important role in my life. I particularly remember seeing Roy Orbison at the Wakefield Variety Club (was anyone else there?)  There was not a dry eye in the house after he sang Crying. What a night to remember. I saw all the stars of the sixties and later (see below) was fortunate enough to be on the same bill as some of them.

Which song do you most enjoy performing?
I like performing a whole range of musical styles but particularly enjoy singing early rock 'n' roll numbers like Johnny B Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen, etc. I also like performing ballads from the early Cliff Richard era and of course, Billy numbers such as Like I’ve Never Been Gone and A Thousand Stars.

Do you play any instruments?
A used to play rhythm guitar - badly - and haven’t improved much during the last 50 years. In fact I’m still playing the same four chords as I did when I was 15. I also play the tambourine, but Dave and Doug (my partners in Track Back) keep hiding it from me.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home?
We moved our home from Mablethorpe to Bury near Huntingdon in 1991 for work reasons. Our children Lisa and Mark are married and we have two grandchildren with another on the way, the latter courtesy of Mark and Luccetta. My dad, sister, aunty etc still live in Mablethorpe and we have many friends there. I miss the coast, having lived there for some 45 years. Whilst Mablethorpe is looking a little tired nowadays, there are some lovely places around that area and I do miss it. However, where we now live is central and it is easy to get to gigs. We can be in London in one hour and in Birmingham in about one and a half hours.

What inspired you to start performing?
I started singing lessons at the age of about eight or nine, with a well known voice coach, Carmela Anderson. Carmela was a wonderful person who was not only a first class singing teacher but also gave me confidence to perform in public as a soloist. Initially I performed more classic numbers until I persuaded Carmela to let me have a go at some pop numbers.

How long have you been performing in public?
I entered an eisteddfod in about 1956 and for two consecutive years came top of my class. At that time I was performing regularly in chapels, churches, at OAP clubs, retirement homes, school shows, pantomimes and the like. At the age of about 14 a bought my first guitar and learned to play those four chords. Along with a couple of friends we formed a skiffle group and sang Lonnie Donegan songs at local youth clubs. Our first big break was a short spot (we only had about eight numbers in our entire set) at a workingmen’s social club in Mablethorpe. It was there that we were "discovered" by the local vicar who not only ran an infamous youth club but who produced a very popular annual panto. He signed us up for a headline spot at the next panto. Fame didn’t go to our heads - not us - we were back at school the very next day.As my music talents improved I joined another band, The Diamonds and later The Vigilantes, after leaving school at 15 and being told to get a "proper job" because this rock 'n' roll stuff would never last. I took no notice what-so-ever and kept on rocking. Lots of water has passed under bridge during the last 40 odd years and I am now the lead singer with Track Back, a professional 60s-style function band. We perform classic hits from the late 50s, the 60s and early 70s. We’re really busy and have a record label, Hip Swinging Records. Currently we have a CD called Groovy Tracks which is available on-line from HMV; Tesco; Virgin Megastores and all the major retail outlets. It’s also available from our own web site at www.trackback.org.uk

What was your most enjoyable public performance?
Over the years there have been so many really enjoyable performances. At one stage we supported Shane Fenton and the Fentones and other notable 60s artists. Maybe the East of England Show this year (2007) stands out as being a memorable one. Performing on a big outdoor stage with a full technical crew and a sound system putting out about 40k is really exhilarating. I also remember the Theatre Royal in Margate (Without You show) and the Palace Theatre in Newark (FFO3). My "old" local theatre, The Dunes in Mablethorpe where I used to tread the boards has also special memories.

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer?
I can’t really remember any particularly embarrassing moments, apart from when we shared a dressing room with some female strippers one Sunday lunchtime at a northern club.

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment?
As previously mentioned, I’m now with Track Back on a full time basis and thing just keep getting better. We’ve been together now for about four years and have developed a real closeness, both professionally and personally. Our music is really tight, harmonies are close and our performance is totally professional. We were the support band for Showaddywaddy at the recent East of England Show and we have 2 x 45 minute slots at the forthcoming Bretton Festival in Peterborough. We have some really big booking lined-up for next year, so, watch this space.

What is your musical ambition?
On 25th July I’m going to have a total hip replacement and some work to correct my pelvis. I’ve been swinging it about for years and it’s needs some considerable work. However, the consultant tells me that I’ll feel like a 21-year-old after it’s all done. I told him I feel like a 21-year-old now and what’s more, so does my wife. Therefore, I will need some time off to recover.  The problem is I keep booking gigs. I still have musical ambitions; one is to perform to a packed audience at the Royal Albert Hall and another is to headline at a reasonable size festival. The latter may well be achieved shortly.

Name your three favourite songs by other performers.
Difficult this, one has to be Billy’s Once Upon A Dream. This holds very special memories of Billy at Great Yarmouth where we saw him regularly and there is a particular story attached. When the record was first released a gang of us lads were on holiday on a boat on the Norfolk Broads. The last night before returning the boat we moored-up on a distinctive part of one of the rivers and Billy’s Once Upon A Dream was playing on the radio. You know how songs can be linked to particular places or events? Well this song has always been linked to that part of the river where we moored on that night. Some 25 years later I was in a private helicopter being taken to the Hopton Holiday Village. The route took us over the very place we moored that night and playing in the headphone of the helicopter was…yes…Once Upon a Dream…amazing and totally true. I guess Cliff’s Voice In The Wilderness and Marty’s Teenager In Love figure amongst my favorites but there are so many others.

Who are your three favourite performers?
Billy has to in there together with Marty Wilde, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. But there are many, many more. 

Hear Track Back sing:

Teenager In Love

Sweet Little Sixteen

GEOFF HOWLETT

Who are your main musical influences? 
I've so many. My brother is eight years older than me, so even from the age of four or five, I can recall listening to the latest chart songs.

 Of course, I loved the early Beatles stuff and I remember being played Eddie Cochrane records.

 Throughout the years, I've just been a sucker for a good pop song, so people like Roy Wood, when he was with Wizzard was my favourite in the 70s. Believe it or not, I also liked a lot of the punk music, alongside things like Abba and Blondie. 

By the time the 80s came, I was listening to the likes of Duran Duran (three of whom I met in a Manchester Hotel on my honeymoon). Then, people like the Pet Shop Boys and Roxette also made good music. I'd like to think that my style and my own songwriting takes little bits of all these artists, as well as Billy.

Which song do you most enjoy performing? 
Tough one. I'm not sure that I can whittle it down to just one song. Johnny Tillotson's Poetry in Motion has always been a favourite but at this year's Sunnyside, Billy's I'll Never Quite Get Over You went very well.

Do you play any instruments? 
I've played guitar since the late 70s. I was never very good until a work colleague of mine took the time to show me a few basic chord shapes to play some Eddie Cochrane and Ricky Nelson songs. To play a lead break, I need to practise very hard. I'm also pretty nifty, vamping with a mouthorgan.

Where do you live and where do you regard as home?
I'm born and bred in Hull, so that's my home. I've not travelled much and even living on the east side of the city is a strange thing for a boy from the west. 

What inspired you to start performing?
Seeing all those early editions of Top of The Pops and variety programmes always appealed to me. I used to sing all the time to the songs in the charts. My very first audition was for a band called Mercury who wanted to play Beatles and Thin Lizzy stuff. I'm a pretty shy sort of person really (honest), but getting up on stage, I found that my voice was pretty good, and that people liked to listen. 

How long have you been performing in public?
I think that my first public performance was around 1987 or 88, when I was one half of a duo called The Gift. We played two half hour sets at the local hospice gala. 

What was your most enjoyable public performance?
Usually the last one I've played. I'm fortunate that I've not had any really bad nights. Fury Fest was pretty awesome, and as a member of a band, we played in the Reading Town Hall in the summer of 96. The place was packed, the audience were jumping about, and we went down a storm. 

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer?
One that springs to mind was when I was playing a friendly little pub about 25 miles from Hull. A man and wife sat just to the right of where I was performing, and every now and again, one of them would disappear into the conservatory, which acted as a family room, to see their two children - aged around eight and 10. The man was certainly a little lubricated, and kept shouting out for me to play Apache by the Shadows. Well, during my second set of the evening I sang Smokie's version of Living Next Door To Alice. I thought this was quite safe in this pub as I'd played the venue a few times before. What I wasn't ready for was a backing group. As I sang the last line of the song "For 24 years I've been living next door to Alice", Chubby Brown's "Who the **** is Alice" was chorused loudly from behind me. I nearly choked, it was the man and woman, AND the two children! Needless to say, I haven't sung that song since. Later that evening, the man and woman were "poured" into a taxi. 

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment? 
Resting! The only way I could play Sunnyside this year was thanks to me not having to lift any of my gear about. My arm and shoulder injury means that I can't lift my PA equipment in and out of the car, let alone set it up for a gig. I still can't play guitar for more than 20 minutes at a time, and then I'm in a lot of pain the next day. Hopefully, it will eventually get better.

What is your musical ambition?
I'd still like to write a hit record. The nearest thing I got to one was back in 1996 when I entered a song for the Eurovision Song Contest. Radio Humberside interviewed me about the song and its chances of being chosen to represent the UK, and the news item was syndicated to all BBC stations in the country. For one day, the song was played all around the UK, and even on Radio 2. 

Name your three favourite songs by other performers.
Another difficult one. Why just three?
See My Baby Jive by Wizzard.
Fading Like a Flower by Roxette
Judy Judy Judy by Johnny Tillotson

Who are your three favourite performers?
Out of people that I've actually seen in concert:
Roxette, Marty Wilde, Genesis. 
Others? Well, you've got to say Billy haven't you? I remember the first time I saw Colin Gold walk out on stage as Billy. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. I thought if he could do that to me, what on earth would it have been like to see the real thing?

Anything to add? 
I just love to sing. I miss not performing, but at least the Sounds Special feature gives me chance to air my recorded vocals. The Billy website is very special to me and it's been great to share so many happy and memorable times with with my Billy-friends.

Hear Geoff sing:

Judy Judy Judy

Be Mine Tonight


JOHNNY STORME

Who are your main musical influences?
mmm... I was a teenager in the 70s and although Glam-Rock was in and I loved songs by the Rubettes, Slade, Mud, Racey, The Darts, Matchbox, Shakin' Stevens etc, it was the "old" rock n roll that had influenced me from a very early age. I went to see Marty Wilde in the early 70s, and it was at that time that Billy Fury was in a film being made on the Island. Elvis was always a major influence during my childhood and I would sing along to his records of which I had many. Loved the rawness of Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent, but I wasn't very keen on Bill Haley though. Liked Dion and The Belmonts, I thought they were good, and of course Jan and Dean and The Beach Boys.

Which song do you most enjoy performing?
There are a few favourites, but if I had to pick one it would be "One Night With You"

Do you play any instruments?
Yes, rhythm guitar..... very badly! 

Where do you live and where do you regard as home?
I live on the Isle of Wight which has always been home to me.

What inspired you to start performing?
Well, inspired isn't the right word. I wanted to learn guitar and was shown some chords by a rhythm guitarist at work. It soon took me to another workmates house and all three of us jammed together, me trying to keep up with them both, two of us on guitar and one on keyboard. The keyboard player had a karaoke player and it was suggested that one of us sing as we were lacking a lead part .... you can guess who lost!! I didn't ever think I would actually get up on stage and sing though, this came about by accident and it was only going to be a "fill-in" for a band for one night only, but I was booked for the rest of the season.

How long have you been performing in public?
Not long enough, the Island is a small place and it's getting harder to compete with the many "Young" bands here.

What was your most enjoyable public performance?
The very first "Club" gig... we had been practicing for 3 months and I came on and did the full "We Want Billy" album followed by some classic rock n roll by Elvis etc. The club buzzed after the last song finished and the leader of the band was asked that when Johnny Storme was on the Island again, could they book him! Little did they know I was this green newby who had lived here all the time!

Have you had any embarrassing moments as a performer?
Many, but the worst was when I was told to sing Blue Christmas by the bands leader and instead of it being played in the correct key of "F", he started playing in "C". It sounded awful!! It was either too high or too low!

How would you summarise your involvement as a performer at the moment?
I'm in the early stages of getting "my" band together but it can be very demoralising sometimes. I'm just going to see what happens in the next few months, and if it fails... who knows, maybe the carpet slippers will come out.

What is your musical ambition?
Just to enjoy myself, and as long as the people want to hear me, I will continue in one form or other. If the gigs dry up, I can always do some recordings to send out as EMAs (E-mail Alerts) ;-)

Name your three favourite songs by other performers.
This is a hard one......... at the moment they are
1). Blue Bayou - Roy Orbison
2). All My Hopes - Our Billy
3). I Was The One - Elvis

Who are your three favourite performers?
As above.

Anything to add?
This website gave me the name Johnny Storme, has encouraged me throughout, and through this site have made many many friends. From the very early beginnings on here as a Secret Star, my version of Forget Him appearing on Paradise Place, being the first person to sing live and record Billy's I Must Be Dreaming since Billy did it in 1965, to the Sounds Special feature which is very very popular, due to the great performers that send in their songs each month................. Harry, I'd just like to say thank you!

Hear Johnny sing:

It's Impossible

The Last Farewell