IT IS 30 years ago since the death of rock ’n’ roll idol Billy Fury who was hailed as Britain’s answer to Elvis Presley.

But his name and music with classic hits such as Halfway to Paradise will never be forgotten.

Now the 30th anniversary of his passing is being marked with The Billy Fury Years which is stopping off at 44 cities and towns including Eastleigh and Basingstoke.

Hailed as the “best Fury since Fury,”

Michael King will take audiences on a musical journey through the career of Britain’s best loved rock ‘n roll legend.

In the 60s, Fury had more Decca hits than any other artists including Rolling Stones. He equalled The Beatles record of 24 hits and spent a total of 332 weeks in the UK charts.

He was the fourth biggest selling artist of the sixties after The Beatles, Sir Cliff Richard and Elvis.

The Tornados, who included Hampshire’s own pop idol, Heinz Burt, were the backing band for Fury when he was at the height of his fame.

Heinz, who grew up in Eastleigh and was the bass guitarist, died nearly 13 years ago after losing his brave battle with motor neurone disease.

And The Tornados’ legendary drummer Clem Cattini will be joining The Billy Fury Years Tour which stops off at The Anvil Basingstoke on February 21 and The Concorde, Eastleigh on May 31.

Clem performed on more than 45 number ones singles and played with Fury.

On the eve of the tour he spoke to DUNCAN EATON and reveals here how it was through Heinz that The Tornados came to back Fury.

Q: Does being on this tour bring back happy memories of when you backed Billy Fury?

A: I have many happy memories of working with Billy. Good part of my career.

Q: How did you rate Billy Fury as a singer?

A: Very highly and with the right management he would have been as big as Cliff.

Q: What was your favourite Fury record?

A: Halfway to Paradise.

Q: Did you play drums on any of his recordings?

A: Loads. We Want Billy! album and some C&W 45s.

Q: Do you remember when you first met Fury. Was it at the 2Is Coffee Bar?

A: No it was when I did the Larry Parnes tours.

Q: How did The Tornados come to be backing Fury?

A: Heinz phoned Parnes and suggested it and as I was in the band having worked with Billy he said yes.

Q: I understand that when The Tornados’ were number one with Telstar they were backing Fury at Great Yarmouth. Billy never had a number one so how did he react to your success?

A: He was fine.

Q: Would you agree that Fury was Britain’s answer to Elvis Presley?

A: No Billy was Billy.

Q: How do you think Billy Fury will be remembered?

A: For being a star and a great song writer.