Billy Fury sculpture at the Albert Dock
Billy's mother Jean Wycherley and brother Albie with the sculpture
A fitting location
The Billy Fury sculpture can be seen overlooking the River Mersey, outside the Piermaster's House in the Albert Dock. This is an appropriate location as Billy worked as a deck hand on the Mersey tug boat The Formby, owned by the Alexandra Towing Company, for approximately two years from 1956, before he became famous.
Billy Fury was born Ronald Wycherley in Haliburton Street in The Dingle, Liverpool on 17 April 1940. He first found fame in the early 1960s and is remembered as one of the most famous stars in the history of British rock and roll.
Music was always his life. He taught himself to play the guitar and write songs from an early age. Whilst on the tugs Ronnie Wycherley, as he was known then, formed a skiffle group with workmates just for fun, with the tongue in cheek name, 'The Formby Sniffle Groop'.
Sadly he had to give up the job on the tugs although he enjoyed it, because of a recurrence of rheumatic fever which he had also suffered in childhood and which damaged his heart. He was discovered by Larry Parnes, the famous London impresario shortly after this and made his first public appearance at the Essoldo in Birkenhead to an audience of screaming girls. 'Billy Fury' was born.
His total record sales were on a par with acts such as Elvis, The Beatles and Cliff Richard. Billy wrote 10 songs for his first album The Sound of Fury. He was one of the few artists before the Beatles era to do this.
After suffering a range of health problems, career decline and subsequent revival, Billy suffered a fatal heart attack in January 1983 and died at the age of only 42. Today Billy’s life is celebrated through his many fans.
The sculpture by Tom Murphy
This statue, made by Liverpool sculptor Tom Murphy in 2003, was commissioned by ‘The Sound of Fury’ fan club following six years of fundraising and donations from fans, both members and non members, from home and abroad. It was very kindly donated to National Museums Liverpool by ‘The Sound of Fury’ as a lasting tribute to Billy, one of Liverpool’s greatest stars. It was originally displayed in the courtyard of the former Museum of Liverpool Life, before moving to its current location in March 2007.
Accession number MMM.2003.91
- Read more about Billy Fury in a Liverpool Lives feature from April 2005, the month that he would have turned 65.
- Read a Billy Fury fan's story of how she came to own a very special photo of The Formby tug boat, on the Billy Fury In Thoughts of You fan club website.
- See the public's photos of the statue in our Billy Fury Flickr group .