REVIEW: Sound of Fury fills Wondrous Place at Grantham’s Guildhall Arts Centre

Vince Eager (left) and his old pal Billy Fury back in the day.
Vince Eager (left) and his old pal Billy Fury back in the day.
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Fifties rock ’n’ roll fans turned out in force for the screening of the film ‘The Sound of Fury’ at the Guildhall Arts Centre on Saturday night.

This latest documentary about Liverpool legend Billy Fury, Britain’s answer to Elvis Presley, was filmed and directed by former BBC cameraman Mark Sloper.

Sad day: Norm Riley (Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent's manager), Billy Fury, Larry Parnes, Vince Eager and Dickie Pride outside St Martin's Hospital, Bath, following Eddie and Gene's car crash on Easter Sunday, 1960. Eddie suffered fatal injuries.

Sad day: Norm Riley (Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent's manager), Billy Fury, Larry Parnes, Vince Eager and Dickie Pride outside St Martin's Hospital, Bath, following Eddie and Gene's car crash on Easter Sunday, 1960. Eddie suffered fatal injuries.

It kept the audience enraptured throughout its near 90-minute duration at the Guildhall’s wonderful, intimate theatre – situated just over the road from the site of the old Granada where Fury performed back in those halcyon days.

For the real Fury enthusiast, there was probably really very little new to glean from the film, although some of the footage was certainly previously unseen by this reviewer; but the songs were reassuringly familiar – Maybe Tomorrow, Wondrous Place and the big hit ballad Halfway To Paradise, to name but a few.

Like other previous documentaries on Fury, there were contributions from his mother and brother, and his musical contemporaries, including Grantham’s own legend Vince Eager who introduced the film and answered questions afterwards; plus, there was some refreshing new input from modern rock ’n’ rollers such as Imelda May and The Polecats’ Boz Boorer.

The film charted Fury’s contribution to the burgeoning music scene of the 1950s and 1960s and, through a potted history of rock ’n’ roll, ably positioned the teen idol as one of the British scene’s innovators and leaders – if not the cream of the crop.

Enduring a heart condition throughout his life, Fury suffered a tragic early death in the 1980s but for once, and rightfully so, the film-maker chose not to dwell on that fact too long, instead honouring his memory as one of the greats of British rock ’n’ roll.

The captivated audience remained seated after the screening to question Fury’s old friend and former flatmate Vince Eager.

A fellow stablemate of Fury, under manager Larry Parnes, Vince confirmed the film’s assertion that the legendary impresario had, in no uncertain terms, ripped his artists off when it came to monetary matters.

But Vince said: “I’d rather have been with Parnes than [Joe] Meek. Meek really ripped off his artists.

“I mean, Larry ripped us off, but not to the extent that the other guy did.

“I was on a percentage, Billy was on a salary. He was actually on the same money per week, per annum, as my 
father was earning at Marco’s. And for that he was writing all his songs, doing all the television, all the stage shows. And that’s what he got.”

Vince said the greatest souvenir he had of Billy was his memories: “It was hard to imagine anyone being so sensual and charismatic on stage, and then so meek and mild off stage.

“We got up to some tricks, he was a fantastic guy. Billy was a pal till the day he passed away.”