BREAK UP: The most significant find for many years occurred in November 2003, when I was put in touch with the widow of Tony Damond, a member of Billy's backing group, The Gamblers.
It was known that a Decca session on January 14 1964 produced Glad All Over and Hippy Hippy Shake for Scandinavian release, a song called Break Up, another called Love Don't Let Me Down, and a version of Nothin' Shakin - the version that was eventually released was recorded two months later.
There was no other information about Break Up. Del Shannon recorded a song of that name, as did Jerry Lee Lewis, and it was Jerry's song that Billy performed at live shows.
It seemed that all copies of the recordings had been lost...until I learned about the acetate through Tony's stepdaughter.
I made a 340-mile round trip to buy it on November 8, and after a thorough cleaning, it went on my record deck. Chris Eley listened over the telephone as it played.
Break Up is, indeed, the Jerry Lee Lewis track, and it is awesome. I simply cannot understand why it was not released. If you have any feeling for rock 'n' roll, you will be overwhelmed.
After almost 40 years, take a listen to the sound that Billy and The Gamblers created in Decca's studio. As with all material that comes into my hands, it is now preserved and available for everyone to enjoy.
And yes, there is more on the acetate. That's not so straightforward, but we'll get around to it.
PLAY BREAK UP
*UPDATE: Break Up was released on the CD Dreaming in 2006 by this site.
NOTHIN' SHAKIN': The second track on the acetate poses fresh questions. According to Decca's records, a version 2 mins 5 secs long was recorded and rejected. Two months later, the familiar 2.15 version was recorded.
However, the track on the acetate is 2.22, adjusted to compensate for me running my record deck slightly fast. It is also a different mix from the issued version - you can tell immediately, as the lead guitar is much more prominent.
So, here's a brand new version of Nothin' Shakin' - again, unheard for almost 40 years.
PLAY NOTHIN' SHAKIN'
Back in 1961, Billy recorded a series of programmes called Billy's Pad for Radio Luxembourg. As well as items by Billy, these featured guests, including Marty Wilde and Joe Brown.
Billy's manager, Larry Parnes, insisted that the tapes should be erased after use. A few recordings slipped through the net, and these are thought to be the source of some of the tracks on the CD Billy Fury Sings A Buddy Holly Song (Ozit CD56). The others, we thought had disappeared for ever.
But in Norway, a teenager called Ingar Knudtsen was not just listening on his tranny. He was also recording many of the programmes on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. These have been stored on tape ever since, and they have, of course, deteriorated a little. They will deteriorate no further because I am now digitising them.
Take a trip back to 1961. Draw the curtains, put the speaker under your pillow, turn down the volume, put your ear next to the speaker and pretend your Dad's creeping upstairs to catch you tuned into Luxembourg when you should be sleeping.
I shall gradually add the better files to this page.
This is the first - and, I think, the most remarkable - of several stereo tracks supplied to me by Tony Gardner. The song is a favourite of many people, which appears in mono or "electronically created" stereo on several EPs, LPs and CDs.
However, this is the genuine stereo version of the original recording, made available publicly for the first time.
Please ensure that you can hear both speakers. When you've heard the track once, either adjust the balance or bung one of the speakers in a drawer, and listen to Billy (almost) unaccompanied.
Click here or on the title above and listen to a piece of history, which has been lost for over 35 years.
*UPDATE: Nobody's Child was released in 2006 on the CD Dreaming by this site.
Then I read a piece by Chris Eley which made me suspect the track was I Must Be Dreaming. This was cut on November 18, 1964, during the same session as Billy's next single, I'm Lost Without You.
There the trail ended until Alan Coombe contacted me. Remarkably, he recorded the song when it was broadcast on the radio, and announced at that time as Billy's next single.
Chris says the track has not been located at Polygram, so here, for the first time in 36 years, is a public hearing for the single that never was.
Just click the disc above for the track. It finally appeared on CD PEA001 Without You in December 2002.(PS - Just in case anyone gets too excited, the label above is, of course, a figment of my imagination!)
Live version broadcast on Saturday Club with The Gamblers.
May 12 2006: At last - I hope! An acetate of I Must Be Dreaming surfaced on Ebay, and with luck, I shall have my hands on it in a few days. I will then be able to save a digital version, which will, I hope, eventually appear on a charity EP with one or two of our other great finds. The acetate itself is going to a very good home.
I Must Be Dreaming was released on the CD Dreaming in 2006 by this site.
9 January 2007: What a remarkable history this track has, after decades of obscurity. A live version was released on the Decca CD, Billy Fury Live At The BBC in 2006.
And then, this month, we seem finally to have resolved the mystery of its authorship.
Spencer Leigh suggested in his biography that David Heneker and Alan Taylor wrote the song for the film I've Gotta Horse, but that it was pulled when the film over-ran.
Decca, on the Billy Fury Live At The BBC CD, attribute it to Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, although this is clearly through confusion with another Sedaka song of the same name.
Now, however, I have heard from Peter Lerner, of the Jackie DeShannon Appreciation Society, who tells me that it was composed by Jackie and Sharon Sheeley, probably in 1962.
As apparently conclusive evidence, he has sent me Jackie's own very different demo of the song, which she recorded to interest recording artists.
Peter told me: It's a tribute to Billy and his advisers that they stopped and thought about I Must Be Dreaming and did it differently.
At that stage - mid 64 I would guess- Jackie would have been quite hot as a songwriter in the UK, being associated particularly with the songs the Searchers did and which were picked up by other Merseybeat performers - Fourmost, Ian and the Zodiacs, Billy J. Kramer, Beryl Marsden and others.
She came over here to appear on Ready Steady Go (after she had toured the US with The Beatles in early 64) and had a romance with Jimmy Page, which resulted in songs for Marianne Faithfull (Come And Stay With Me) and many others in a folky style.
She certainly brought her demos across the Atlantic with her and I would guess that this is how and when "I must be dreaming" fell into Billy's hands.
2008 and yet more news from Peter, which I have been dreadfully slow in adding to this remarkable tale. At last, the mystery of the origins of I Must Be Dreaming is solved.
Peter writes: I have turned up an American Liberty 45 by Jewel Brown (Liberty 55458) which couples I Must Be Dreaming with a Brook Benton / Clyde Otis song, If You Have No Real Objections. And yes it is the same song, and yes Jackie DeShannon and Sharon Sheeley are listed as songwriters (and Liberty should know, as Jackie and Sharon were under contract to them as writers.)
I suspect that if Decca Records / Billy's management had not heard Jackie's demo of the song, they might have picked up on this Liberty single. Jewel is better known as a jazz singer (and it shows!) singing with Louis Armstrong.
I did, in fact, add the track without comment to Sounds Special in March. Many thanks for all of your help, Peter.
On 21 September, 1982, Billy appeared in a concert at The Odeon, Hammersmith, London, to mark the 15th anniversary of BBC Radio 1. He sang Love Or Money.
An LP of the event was issued by Dakota, but for technical reasons, Love Or Money was not used, and the record producers substituted a faked live version of Wondrous Place.
There are a few poor taped versions of the show in circulation, but Roger Whitley has provided me with a superb recording.
SHEILA (alternative take)
|Thanks to Alan Coombe, Chris Eley, Tony Gardner, Ingar Knudtsen and Bill Marks,