Guy Clover, of St Mawes, Cornwall, appeared as Billy in the UK television show, Stars In Their Eyes - in which amateur performers impersonate personalities - on November 11, 2000, singing Wondrous Place.
He didn't win, but his performance was highly-praised, not least by the fan club's Chris Eley, who coached Guy and accompanied him to the studio.
To watch his performance, click here. (Real Player needed.)
Guy, who was 33 in September, was persuaded to audition for the programme by his wife and friends.
"They used to hear me singing around the house, and when I finished, they'd say: 'Go on - sing something else.'
"Then when Stars In Their Eyes were inviting people to apply, they said: 'You could do that.'
"I was doubtful at first, but I went along and things just worked out," he said.
The programme producers suggested he should perform Wondrous Place because the Toyota advertisement has made it familiar to the modern public.
Guy first became interested in Billy in his early teens, when he bought a tape, and his interest in Billy's music developed as he became more familiar with it.
Guy, who has been unable to work since injuring his back, has been recording an album of numbers by Billy, and Rick Nelson, his other favourite. He is being helped by someone who used to produce The Police.
"The songs are my own interpretations, rather than attempts to duplicate other people's work," Guy explained.
He hopes that his appearance on Stars In Their Eyes may enable him to develop a career in music.
I shall provide more details of Guy's album when it becomes available. In the meantime, Guy hopes he will soon be able to send me a recording of one of his numbers, which I shall add to the site.
I suppose it all started when I was about four, driving my mum mad by repeatedly asking her to put on records for me (Elvis, Ricky Nelson, Connie Francis and many others).
My grandmother's influence of playing Elvis. Joe Brown and rhythm and blues is where my interest in music began. Then, later on, aged about fourteen or so (not as early as I could have done). I bought my first Billy Fury tape: The Billy Fury Hit Parade - KTBC 37-Decca.
I remember being surprised that although both my parents could tell me a lot about Billy and my dad had been to Oh Boy and 6-5 Special, neither had any of his records any more.
However, thinking about it, I had already been influenced by some of the same artists and styles that Billy represented. I remember, in particular, one person at school, Jason Baker, who was a big fella, constantly bullying and teasing me about my hair (quiff!) and my choice of music.
When it was time to leave school, he said to me that he actually admired me for being individual.
Anyway in January this year, having been coerced by my wife, Suzi, and two good friends, Rodney and Tony, I applied to Stars In Their Eyes. With the help of a pal of mine, Nigel (who very kindly worked out the backing track for me), I sent off my application. Having put Exeter and Bristol as my first and second choices for audition venues, I was thrilled to be asked to attend the first audition, but in Manchester.
After the initial shock of being selected for an audition, I set the alarm for 4 o'clock. At 5.30am I boarded the train to Manchester at Truro station. Eight hours later I was in Manchester. A quick bite to eat, followed by an equally quick taxi ride and I arrived at Granada Studios. Not realising what I'd let myself in for, we were asked to sit and relax (well not relax, nervously sit) in the reception area. then Sally (one of the researchers) led myself and one other contestant down to the audition.
There were probably six or seven of us altogether, waiting to do our bit. Waiting...waiting...then my moment came. Now I started to shake with nervous fear. I was led into a smallish room with a panel of people. After a brief introduction the music started ..... "I found a place full of charms ..."
Within an hour I was back on the train home, with a promise of being contacted either way with the decision. Eight hours later (12.30am) I was home.
Later the next day, still feeling as if I had only just got home, the phone rang. Thinking it was just another phone call, I answered it.
It was actually Anna, a researcher. informing me that i would be required for a second audition that same week. Wow!
This time I was to stay overnight, which made the trip seem not too bad. The hotel was very smart, although I went to bed early as it was quite an early start the next morning.
After a familiar taxi ride, I was back at Granada Studios. This time in the reception area where there were a couple of people assembled for the second round. We were collected and led to another room, a little larger than the one before, and with a few more people as well. This audition was more performance-related, which made me feel even worse, as there is no relevant footage of the 1960 period on video to watch or study.
Anyway, seeing a few familiar faces took the edge off a little, although I was now a bag of nerves.
The music started. At about "but I don't care ..... everything's right when she holds me tight," I got something in my eye.
Not only was I trying to remember the words and perform, I was also thinking that I'd totally blown it.
The music stopped, I was thanked for coming back, etc, we said our goodbyes and Anna led me out. I can remember saying to her: "That that was it, blown it.". She re-assuringly told me that my nerves didn't show.
It felt a long eight hours getting home. The same "We'll contact you either way" filling my every thought. "Oh well never mind." I think it was on the Tuesday of the following week at about 6.30pm, just preparing supper, when the phone rang. Butterflies, etc.
"Hello?" ... "Hello, it's Anna." My stomach sank.
"Just put me out of my misery." "It's good news, you're on the show! Congratulations!"
"You're kidding?'' or something similar, was my reply.
At this stage, I would like to say that, during all of this time I was in touch with a group of people, without whom, my preparations for the show would have been impossible. So a huge thank you to Clare Mehmet-Nugent, Maureen Bowden, Frank Bull and Chris and Linda Eley. With there being no footage of the song, apart from stories of how Billy would do the song with a cigarette in his hand (not allowed on TV), my performance is based on what they could remember, being lucky enough to have seen him.
Frank Bull was very chatty on the phone anh couldn't have been more encouraging. Clare was my first point of contact and with her being so friendly and helpful: it was very easy to be on the phone for ages.
So on one occasion, while in London, I decided to go and see her. It was pouring with rain. so when I knocked on the door her husband would have seen a drowned rat standing there.
Anyway, after tea and jam tarts and chats about this, that and the other, it was time to go. Clare is as she is on the phone, very amusing and welcoming.
Chris and Linda came down to Cornwall to visit his parents at Easter and when they said that we should meet up, it was great.
I have found all this genuine help and support very humbling.
Having asked all the family to come up for the show and only having a few tickets, their plans excluded them from coming. So next I asked Clare if she would like to come, but alas she couldn't.
The Big Night came round quickly. We were put up in another very
With rehearsals over, family and friends arrived for tea prior to going in to be seated. Seeing everybody there made all our nerves come back. Having had no sleep the night before due to nerves, I felt very shaky. Fine for Dickie Pride, but not for me. I was still asking Chris for tips, etc, right up until we had to go to our dressing rooms.
Make up...clothes for chat with Matthew...chat with Manhew...he is as he is on stage, slightly zany, but above all a very likable, genuine man, who made us all feel comfortable.
Then the famous words "Tonight, singing live, Guy Clover is Billy Fury!"
It did feel very odd hearing my name mentioned in the same sentence as Billy's, especially when going back to my dressing room, I saw Billv Fury on a gold star on the door.
I know it's only, one song, but even so, it actually felt quite strange. Stage make up...stage costume...the transformation was done...
All thoughts before had gone now.
"Just do it!" was going through my mind. Because so many people knew, or or would know before it was televised, from Clare to Billy's mum and Albie, I had really set myself up.
No mistakes, but what do I do on stage? Heart racing. Just feel it.
I`d done it. It was over.
I just hope I didn't let anybody down and that my performance had done Billy justice and Billy's familywould think it was OK.
Finally, just a big thank you to everybody involved.
Chris Eley writes in the same edition of the magazine..
The atmosphere was electric when Guy, resplendent in gold suit, took to the stage. People around us were really impressed...
The suit was not strictly authentic (wardrobe decide what's what) but it looked the business.
*The digital file from which the Real Media recording was made, and the main artwork, were kindly supplied by Alan Coombe, who kindly spared me the task of converting my video recording and saved me a LOT of work.
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