Billy Fury‚ What Gave Him the X Factor?

Often hailed as 'Britain's own Elvis Presley', Billy Fury was one of the nation's first rock and roll stars and a true pop idol.

He had his first Top 20 hit in 1959 and went on to have more hit singles than the Beatles in the '60s, so what was it about Billy that gave him the X factor back then and continues to do so to this day, more than 30 years after his death?

Talented Songwriter

Billy's career in the music industry began with his ambition to be a songwriter. In 1958, he walked into a theatre near his home in Liverpool with the intention of bringing his songs to the attention of Marty Wilde who was playing there.

Marty was already a well-known singer, appearing on TV shows such as Oh Boy! and Billy thought the songs he'd written would suit his 'teen idol' style. Marty's manager, Larry Parnes, was so impressed by the songs Billy performed for Marty that he suggested Billy should get out onto the stage and sing them himself that very evening.

Billy's talent as a songwriter set him on the road to stardom as Britain's No.1 rock and roller, and set him apart from most other performers at that time.

However, his resistance to the idea of performing on stage is now a legendary tale that has been told many times in interviews.

Shy Guy

Billy's ambition had been to write songs, not perform them, so stepping out onto the stage was not part of the plan when he walked into the Essoldo Theatre that evening.

He described himself as a shy guy, something he often said held him back in life, and he was literally pushed out onto the stage by Larry Parnes. He said;

I was standing behind the curtains, unable to go on, when Larry literally pushed me through onto the stage. I was so nervous, my legs were shaking, and people thought it was my act.

Are you still a fan of Billy Fury? Were you ever lucky enough to see him perform live?

Why not share your memories in the comments section below, we'd love to hear from you! 

 Header Image

Allan Warren Billy Fury (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Allan Warren Billy Fury1 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Allan Warren Billy Fury2 (CC BY-SA 3.0)


1960s60sBilly furyDo you remember?Memory laneNostalgia


Lesley Greensmith

I saw Billy live in the sixties in Blackpool. The girls screamed so loudly we could hardly hear him.He had his arm in a black sling that night.Obviously an injury but cannot remember the details.Billy was THE best pop singer from the UK ever.To me he was far better than Elvis and much more handsome.

pam gaskell hill

met Billy Fury when he came to Bristol, I managed to get his autograph on two separate occasions. Loved Billy Fury so sad he died so young

Jeanette Baker

Such a lovely lovely person. I met him when he wasn’t well but it didn’t stop him wishing me well when I was about to go into hospital. Have all of his records and cd’s, really loved him. My Idol Billy

Hilary Leathley

I met him outside the TV Studios that were in Wembley,London in the 1960s and have got his autograph.

Helen Judge

I saw Billy at the Odeon cinema in Nottingham. Either 1960 or 1961He Was fabulous especially when in got down near the stage floor with the mike couldn’t here him singing cos all the girls were screaming. It was a wonderful experience I’m so pleased I saw him live I will never forget him and have most of his songs on vinyl and CDS so I can listen in the car very loud . I’m 76yrs young but when I hear him on the Radio 2 Tony Blackburn sounds of the sixties wow the volume goes up sorry neighbours.


I saw Billy Fury several times in concert in Bournemouth, he was very good. The last time i saw him was at a pub in Burley in the Nee Forest…it was a performance he should not have done.He was very thin ,and looked ill. Great pity as in his prime he was very good

Elizabeth Labrow

I was a huge fan of his an£ still am.
I preferred him to Cliff and most of the others apart from Elvis
So sad he had such a short life

JILL Waters

Saw him in Leigh in Lancashire. Fabulous and gorgeous but I did see him having to be persuaded to go on stage. Absolutely loved him and still love his music.

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