Billy Fury

His Wondrous Story: The Complete Collection

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A title that meant what it said, at least as far as singles were concerned. Billy Fury had exactly 29 hits and every single one of them are on this CD released in time for Valentine's Day 2008. Not only that, but apart from beginning the set with possibly his most famous hit, "Halfway to Paradise," just to get you in the mood, the tracks followed in strict chronological order from "Maybe Tomorrow" and "Margo," his first two minor hits, all the way through to his early-'80s comeback singles, "Love or Money," "Devil or Angel," and "Forget Him" around the time of his death in 1983, taking in all the major successes of the early '60s along the way. It was easier than it would have been for most artists to fit all 29 tracks on a single CD, no fewer than 23 of the songs being less than three minutes, and indeed three of them were less than two minutes, but in the early '60s that's how pop songs were made, short, to the point, and no lengthy intros. An unlikely contender to sit alongside the compilations of love songs released for that one day in February when people tend to buy CDs for their loved ones, Billy Fury was a rock & roller by early-'60s standards, with a sneer and leather jacket to complete his image, but as well as that were a whole series of love songs -- songs about his feelings for the girl of the moment, and songs that told the stories of boy meeting girl. So in that respect, it wasn't quite so surprising to see a Billy Fury TV-advertised collection alongside The Greatest Love Songs Album in the World or similar albums. This was a much better value-for-money compilation than previous collections The Billy Fury Hit Parade, compiled just one month after his death, or The Best of Billy Fury on K Tel, both missing out tracks that were not so famous, and released a quarter-of-a-century after his death and nearly half-a-century, since the songs were in the charts: they nearly all stood up as memorable, melodic tunes from a less traumatic time (Cuban missiles and race riots notwithstanding).

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