On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Billy Fury – Wondrous Place (1960)
So, here we are in the 1960s and there’s already a feeling of change in the musical air. Can you feel it too? I wonder what we’ll have in store for this decade? First up, we have a singer, not from the US but from the UK, and he goes by the name of Billy Fury. Fury was born in Liverpool of all places – bet we get no other musicians from Liverpool! – and enjoyed a string of hits in the 1950s and 1960s. He dabbled in songwriting and acting also but it’s his music we’re looking at today. From his plethora of hits we have Wondrous Place, written by Jeff Lewis and Bill Giant.
Wondrous Place is a love song where Fury sings to us of a wondrous place he has found, the only place he wants to be. This place is a “magic world”, a great place to seek shelter from a storm, it’s akin to “heaven” and to be away from it makes our lovestruck singer very sad indeed. What is this wondrous place of which Fury sings though? Well, it’s not a desert island, golden fields or even Las Vegas, but the warm and open arms of our singer’s lover. An embrace from her is all he needs and desires to be happy. Bless.
This is my first time hearing Billy Fury and he has a good voice. I was expecting the song to be a little faster for some reason but it goes along at a ponderous and steady pace at times, not that that diminishes it. It’s an effective love song, an appreciation for the simple things we can enjoy with someone we love. Fury’s popularity would be at its greatest in the 1960s and he was still active by the early 1980s. Unfortunately, like Bobby Darin, Billy Fury was a victim of rheumatic fever in his childhood which compromised his health. Following a heart attack in 1983, Fury was transferred to hospital but later died. He was 43 years old.
Favourite songs so far:
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (1956)
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (1956)
Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line (1956)
The Louvin Brothers – The Knoxville Girl (1956)
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)
Cliff Richard & The Drifters – Move It (1958)
Ritchie Valens – La Bamba (1958)
Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
Peggy Lee – Fever (1958)
The Everly Brothers – All I Have to Do Is Dream (1958)