The catalogue of Billy Fury is overflowing with original rock ‘n’ roll and dramatic tearjerkers right out of the top drawer. From that discography, we zero in on a single that may not be among his biggest hits, but is widely seen as one of his finest.
‘Wondrous Place’ was written by Bill Giant, aka Harvey Zimmerman, and Jeff Lewis, who as a duo would enjoy the distinction of having another of their songs, ‘Fountain Of Love,’ recorded by Elvis Presley. The first rendition of ‘Wondrous Place’ was by Jimmy Jones, the American singer best known for his ‘Handy Man’ hit of early 1960. It didn’t become a hit, though, and it was on 25 September that year that Fury, some 18 months since his UK chart breakthrough, had his version of the song released by Decca.
Fury had scored his first top ten hit earlier that year with ‘Colette,’ and in June he charted with what’s become one of the seminal British rock ‘n’ roll albums, The Sound Of Fury. Now came the new single, which featured a typically moody and atmospheric vocal performance by Fury to a subtle and persuasive arrangement. It reached only No. 25 in the UK, but spent nine weeks in the chart, six of them in the top 40.
Some 40 years later, a new generation got to know Fury’s version when it was featured in a TV commercial for the Toyota Yaris. Later still, in 2008, it was recognised by the Last Shadow Puppets, the duo of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane, when they cut it as the b-side of the Puppets’ first single ‘The Age Of The Understatement.’
‘Wondrous Place’ is on the Billy Fury compilation His Wondrous Story — The Complete Collection, which can be bought here.