WE'VE FOUND THE MIDNIGHTS
In 2001, I came across a little-known 1986 vinyl EP on which a band called The Midnights played a self-penned tribute to Billy Fury.
At the time, I said it would be good to track down the band members, to discover what had motivated them to write the number, and to find out how they had fared since.
I searched the internet, and I left a message on a community web site in Dagenham, Essex, where they were once based. No luck at all.
Finally, I heard from the lead singer, John Marmara, who tells me he wrote the track himself.
He wrote to me on 4 January 2004: "The Midnights formed in 1983 when there was a revival in british rock n' roll from the 50s/early 60s.
"We gigged all over the UK and Europe. My biggest influence was [and still is] Billy Fury.
"One day I was sorting out my collection of Billy Fury singles on my bed and I looked at the titles of the songs and they seemed to belong together, so from that I wrote Tribute To Billy.
"I played it to the rest of the guys in the band and they liked it, so we added it to our set. In our gig set we did a few of Billy's hits and they always went down well.
"As a result we thought we would cut an EP which included Tribute To Billy. The EP was released in November 1986, having 500 pressed to sell at our gigs. It sold quite well and was played on on radio.
" I stayed with the band until 1989 and then we went our own ways as so many bands did. I have recently got back giging in my new band Johnny And The Midnite Trio which still uses some of those British influences."
Needless to say, I've invited John to Fury Fest 04, when I hope Tribute To Billy will get another live airing.
To hear the track, click here.
During a visit to Radio Caroline, I was played a very similar song, called One More Star, by a group called Hot Rockin'. This is from a superb CD of the same name - Foot Tapping Records FT001. Listen to the track by clickin' 'ere.