Bruce Baker-Johnson reports:
arrived at a water-sodden campsite on the Wirral just after 3pm on
The ride over
on the Honda was quite pleasant with only a few
the tent up, I went off to spy out the lie of the land at an almost
I parked directly outside the Floral Pavilion and
listened to the rehearsals going on as I got out of my biker gear and stashed it
in the top box – time for refreshment – sausage, chips and beans opposite
the Fort Perch Rock, scene for tomorrows celebrations.
here I was spotted by Marie and Dee and others I’d met only via the
billyfury.com website. And so to the show.
If Billy Fury was the best solo rocker of the period then Johnny and the Pirates were to me the outstanding band.
While Steve did his best with the Johnny role and impressed with a little guitar spot the real attraction for me was the spot-on "mirror" bass/lead guitar effect that I never heard from another group since Johnny’s sad demise.
This was no doubt in no small part due to the presence in the group of the original bassist from the Pirates.
For me a great start to an evening of memories.
I can’t believe that Mike looks exactly the same as he did over 30 years ago. The memories came tumbling back with tributes to my all time "great" Buddy Holly and the equally and wonderful "real" singer Roy Orbison.
Mike brought a tear to the eye relating the tale of a message he once got at a concert regarding his 1980s hit Sunshine Of Your Smile. The tale related to a man who had a perpetual stammer that disappeared when he sang – this song was his favourite and became the family's and in particular a little lad who was always singing it as well.
the child subsequently died and the request was for a dedication.
Cathy introduced me then to Mags and Sophie and
that was it – I only
The music the
atmosphere and everything were spot on. Not having seen
Others can put this more eloquently I’m sure.
Another really nice touch came when young Sophie was lifted onto the stage to share the spotlight with Jason after her 9th birthday on Friday.
A standing ovation was never more deserved.
There was ice on the tent and the Honda! Anyway
I’d laminated some very bad copies of a couple
of my computer/pencil/charcoal doodle of Billy and I fastened these onto the
Honda and headed off to the "fort" for the biker run tribute for
Dave Chevron entertained us for an hour with
Billy’s songs and dazzled us with his gold lame suit. He related how his new
wife had chosen her favourite Billy tracks to be played at the wedding,
including of course Once Upon A Dream.
One snippet was the way he handed out names to his artistes – like Fury, Eager and Pride.
Obviously the high spot for many was when Spencer
spoke to Jean and Albie. Half way through that spot came the noise of Harley
Davidson motor cycles
I’d begun to think I was going to have to do
the whole thing on my own
The wind blew across the Mersey with a vengeance and the rain stung but it was worth every minute.
For about 20 precious minutes Harley motorcycles blocked road junctions, traffic islands and traffic lights, clearing the way for the convoy with a 50s Chevy limo, Albie and his mum in a Roller and lots of bikers braving the conditions to show their respects for Liverpool and Britain’s greatest rock 'n' roll singer.
I was really glad to have been one tiny part of
Billy had been spring cleaned for the day and framed with lots of bouquets.
Inside the museum Jean was presented with the
first Billy Fury rose,
Since my gardening triumphs run to only weeds and
roses I’ll be placing an order.
Thanks Albie, Jean, Billy, and all of you, the fans. It’s an honour to know you.