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Rock'n'roll balladeer from Liverpool
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 09/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Billy's UK chart success began in 1959, but he was not the first pop star to emerge from Liverpool, as both Lita Roza and Michael Holliday preceded him. Although generally thought of as a rock and roller, there isn't much evidence of that here, most of the songs being upbeat ballads. He never had any chart success in America although his American record sales are said to have been healthy. He had more than twenty British chart hits - this compilation simply takes the twenty biggest and leaves out the others.In Britain, he is best remembered for Halfway to Paradise, a Goffin-King song that was an American hit for Tony Orlando at around the same time. Americans will also recognize Jealousy (a song that dates back to the 1920's but was a massive hit for Frankie Laine in 1951), It's only make believe (a top 10 UK hit despite Conway Twitty having topped the British charts with it only a few years earlier), Because of love (Elvis Presley) and I will, a song recorded by several American singers including Vic Dana and Skeeter Davis among others and which returned to the British charts in the seventies when covered by Ruby Winters.Billy originally wanted to be a songwriter and his first three chart entries, Maybe tomorrow, Colette and That's love, were all self-penned. I'd never find another you, Last night was made for love, Like I've never been gone, When will you say I love you and In summer were other original songs that were successful for Billy though not actually written by him.Billy's hottest period ran from 1961 to mid 1963, when his star faded as other Liverpool stars became more popular, but even the Beatles acknowledged the part that Billy played in putting Liverpool on the musical map. Billy is still regarded as an important early British hit-maker and his music may appeal to you if you like the music of Bobby Vee, Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly and the Everly brothers."