Billy Fury, Britain’s ‘first rocker’, documentary to be screened in St Albans

Big cheesy smile from Billy Fury.

Big cheesy smile from Billy Fury.

Archant

Britain’s “first rocker”, the late Billy Fury, will be returning to St Albans tomorrow (16) as a documentary featuring never-before-seen footage is screened in the city where he took the stage in the 60s.

The Sound of Fury has been screened all over the country and charts Billy’s rise from shy Liverpudlian to the UK’s answer to Elvis Presley.

The director, Mark Sloper, said: “I have always been a life-long fan and I know the family quite well. I know Billy’s mother, Jean, who is 94, and I always promised her that I would make the film – it has been a personal mission of mine.”

Mark was given access to Billy’s extensive library of home movies, including scenes of him smoking cannabis in Jamaica.

He said: “He smoked an awful lot of marijuana and he believed it would keep him alive. He became addicted to it in the end.”

Fellow musician Vince Eager, who lived with Billy in the 60s and was part of the group of young rock stars promoted by Larry Parnes, also features in the film alongside film critic Mark Kermode and singer Imelda May.

Vince commented: “It was fantastic working with a director like Mark Sloper. Most of this footage goes back a long time and Mark treats it with great sensitivity. He showed great empathy with the footage.”

Vince said that at a screening of the film in Liverpool, Billy’s mum got on stage and sang for the audience.

He added: “That is definitely where Billy got his charisma from. He was so shy off-stage but the minute he was on-stage he was like a different person; he just owned the room.”

Tickets are still available for this film, which will be showing at 7.30pm at the Odyssey Cinema in St Albans tonight (16). For more information, visit OdysseyPictures.co.uk

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