THERE are not too many singers who were employed as gravediggers.

One of the most famous was Rod Stewart and to that list you can add Colin Gold.

This Colin in question is Billy Fury in the Halfway to Paradise- The Billy Fury Story which will be at The Brewhouse in Taunton on July 26.

Colin has been ‘Billy Fury’ for the past 21 years and joined the show from the start when he was spotted being Billy Fury on the ITV talent show Stars in their Eyes in 1996.

Up until then, Colin had been a gravedigger for two to three years then he became an ambulance driver who took children with special needs to school.

In 1996, he applied to appear on Stars in their Eyes which at the time was hosted by Matthew Kelly. He originally applied to be on it as Elvis Presley but was told “they had too many Elvis’s” so quickly changed when he mum suggested to went as Billy Fury.

He did not win but someone who knew Chris Raynor (one of Billy’s band members in the 1970s) saw the show, tapped it and the next thing he knew he was cast as Billy Fury in the show.

Somerset County Gazette:

Speaking about the show and being Billy Fury for 21 years, Colin said: “Billy’s mum (Jean Wycherley) who died last year saw the show three times.

"I met her and on one occasions she was sitting outside the theatre when she held my hand and said ‘You’ve got my full blessing and Billy would have been so proud’. To hear her say that was fantastic.

“By doing this show, we are keeping Billy Fury alive in the minds of so many people.

"He even appears on stage with us on the big screen.

“People have said they have come along to the show not knowing much about Billy but when they leave they feel they know everything.

Colin explained he got Billy’s voice right by listening to his records and for the movement on stage he spoke to Billy’s band to know what to do.

There was not a lot of footage he was able to watch of Billy and speaking to the people who knew him and performed with him on stage was all he could do.

Somerset County Gazette:

Colin said he did not know a lot about Billy Fury before being in the show. He said he knew about songs like Half way to Paradise and In thoughts of You.

He explained when they started this show it was one hour long but due to the audience wanting more songs it has grown into a two hour show.

One of Billy’s band with him in the 1970s was Chris Rayner.

As a result Chris worked with and got to know one of the most acclaimed early British Rock ‘n’ Rollers dubbed the ‘British Elvis’ namely Billy Fury.

Fury had top ten hits from 1959- 1963 with “Colette”, “Halfway to Paradise”, “Jealousy”, “I’d Never Find Another You”, “Last Night Was Made for Love”, “Like I’ve Never Been Gone” and “When Will You Say I Love You?”.

Somerset County Gazette:

One of Fury’s landmark albums was his first ‘The Sound of Fury’ which was released in 1960.

This album has been described as “the best rock & roll album to come out of England’s original beat boom of the late 1950s”, Chris joined Billy’s backing group Fury’s Tornadoes in 1970 and was with Billy’s band until 1976 when Fury had to stop touring due to ill health. He did tour again in the early 1980s but he died aged 42 on January 28, 1983.

Speaking about being on stage with Billy, Chris said: “It was marvellous.

“He really did not have to do much and the crowd would cheer.

“He had a marvellous stage presence and his singing voice seemed to get better “On the big stage he was the rock n roller who could set the theatre alight and would pull out all the stops. He loved his music and he loved his rock n roll.

“But when he was off stage he was very shy and nervous and in many ways a difficult man to get to know. He was very polite but kept himself to himself.

“But over time he got to know us and started to hang out with us after the shows.

“It took a year but when he did those were special days for us all.”

You can catch up with the Sound of Fury when Halfway to Paradise-The Billy Fury story is at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton on July 26.

All tickets cost £21.

To buy tickets go online at or call the box office on 01823 283 244.