*Hal Carter, who was Larry Parnes' tour manager and later Billy's manager, said: "If he were here now, Billy, God rest his soul, would tell you that he lived 15 years longer than he thought he would.

He used to say: "If I make 30, I'll be delighted."

That's why he drove fast cars. He drove his MG to the limit and he did everything at top whack.

"There was no pressure on him to make a comeback. He wanted to do it. It took him two years to decide."

Stuart Coleman, the producer of The One And Only Billy Fury, said: "The final sessions were a sad state of affairs because Billy wasn't a well man. He was frail and he had so many health problems over the years...

"His voice was immaculate and he was in wonderful form.

"When we cut Devil Or Angel, he said: 'I didn't think I could sing like that any more.' If you listen to the first middle eight, he sounds exactly as he did when he was 18 and he was amazed that he could do that...

"He was getting erratic towards the end. I was booking studio time and he wouldn't turn up, partly because his confidence in his own ability was ebbing."

Hal Carter said: "Billy had a bad chest and on the Friday, he was supposed to cut the tracks for Unforgettable on Channel 4. We re-arranged it for the Monday and he whacked through six songs in a three-hour session and we went for a meal.

"On Tuesday he was involved in the TV show itself...after the show, everyone was applauding and asking for autographs and he felt good.

"...On the Wednesday he came to see me, and my arranger Bruce Baxter went through two of his songs and Let Me Watch The Children Play. He'd wanted to do that song for about eight months but Polydor weren't interested.

"He said: 'I'm going to do it and I'll pay for it myself.' I said: 'Polydor will go along with it if you're so keen and I've booked the studio for next week.'

"Bill was delighted with this.

"On Friday morning I got the bloody phone call and it was all over...

"He'd got fed up sitting on the farm and he'd written some great songs down there.

"He said to me: 'I'm becoming a cabbage. I might as well go out in a blaze of glory.' He was 42 and he knew he'd never collect his pension."


*Quoted from Britpop 1955-1962 by Spencer Leigh and John Firminger, Published by Finbarr International, price £6.99 including postage from Finbarr International, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 2QQ.