"The following is a post I originally wrote in September 2010. It's actually one of my favorite pieces. I have happened across some additional information in recent weeks thus I've added to the article and updated it"
I am someone who finds it difficult to calm my mind. It is always working, always processing things and I have experienced many a restless night because of it.
I have an obsessive interest in trivia. Like - I like to often drop the useless bit of trivia that Fletcher Christian - that infamous Bounty mutineer from long, long ago had syphilis. I don't know how I know that, but I do. I'm the guy who stays behind at the cinema, after the movie has finished because I like to watch the credits to spot who the cinematographer was or who the girl in the back ground was in a particular scene because I know - I JUST KNOW - that I have seen her in some other film in an equally obscure background scene.
I predicted a long time ago that Uma Thurman was going to be big...now that's freaky isn't it. I mean, why the F*** would I bother with that little freaky nugget???
And so it happens that I know just about every backing vocalist who has ever paired up with British rock icons Pink Floyd since the early 1970's. This particular piece of useless information is especially that...useless but I can't help myself.
Such is that, which is my mind.
And of all the backing vocalists who have ever graced the stage with this most favored bands of mine, one - in particular - has intrigued me to the point of being a little too screwy.
I speak of course of Rachel Fury.
I first sat up and took notice of the singer Rachel Fury as a 14/15 year old back in 1989 when my father came home from the video store armed with a VHS version of the world beating 'Delicate Sound Of Thunder' concert, complete with the girls wearing those figure hugging outfits and the long, sultry gloves.
From the moment I saw her, I was completely besotted by Rachel Fury. I have watched that concert over and over again in the proceeding years just to indulge in her performance - her vision. I thought her contribution to "Great Gig In The Sky" and her duet with David Gilmour on "Comfortably Numb" were sublime - hypnotic. Her captivating dance during their performance "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" that hooks me every time.
I have to profess my love for this woman.
Rachel Fury performs "Great Gig In The Sky" on the Delicate Sound of Thunder Tour, 1988 which featured some of the most impressive visual art by Storm Thorgerson.
Why it was that I forgot about her for 18 odd years afterwards is something I can't explain. I guess I grew up, stepped out of my adolescent brain and became a cynic. But my love for Pink Floyd has never waned.
A few short weeks ago, going through my music collection, I fished out David Gilmour's superb third solo album "On An Island". I was in the mood for the atmospherics of that album and I was - of course - not at all disappointed. Here you go - here's another piece of useless triva - David Crosby and Graham Nash performed backing vocals on that very album. Listening to the sounds of Gilmour and Wright, Carin and Pratt - and Crosby and Nash's contributions - something was suddenly touched off in my mind, an almost long forgotten memory of that beautiful woman from so long ago.
Rachel Fury is (or was) a session singer who first appeared on the radar in the mid 1970's. Born Rachel Brennock in or around 1961, Brennock began her acting career in 1971, appearing in various TV shows and films, a number of which, such as Mr Horatio Knibbles (1971) and Robin Hood Junior (1975), were produced under the UK Children's Film Foundation. At the same time, Brennock was building a career as a singer.
In 1972, under the name "Weeny Bopper"; she recorded the single "David, Donny and Michael", a Pye Records release intended to capitalise on weeny bopper enthusiasm for David Cassidy, Donny Osmond, and Michael Jackson.
By 1978, having adopted the stage name Rachel Fury, Brennock had established herself as a noted London session singer, known for her "sassy 'Ronettes' sound."
Through information gleaned from British guitarist Alan St.Clair - a noted musician in the punk and new wave movements at that time, Rachel Fury toured regularly with St.Clair and Howard Devoto (of Buzzcocks and Magazine fame). During this period, Rachel had her first significant exposure when she featured on the chart topping "Buggles" tune "Video Killed The Radio Star" in 1979.
Rachel Fury poses with Alan St. Clair and Howard Devoto c. 1983
Rachel Fury, date unknown (image courtesy Col Hancock).
Rachel Fury, date unknown (image courtesy Col Hancock).
The next significant snippet comes from some information on the noted music producer, James Guthrie, who was associated with Pink Floyd and in a relationship with Fury at the time.
After the tumultuous near-disintegration of the band following "The Final Cut" album, and the acrimonious split between David Gilmour and Roger Waters, it appears Guthrie introduced Rachel Fury to Pink Floyd as David Gilmour and Nick Mason were preparing to continue recording under the band's name. Fury's talent as a session singer must have impressed the band because she is credited as a singer on the reimagined Pink Floyd's 1987 album "Momentary Lapse Of Reason" and was contracted to tour with the band for the world beating "Delicate Sound Of Thunder" tour between 1987 and 1989.
Rachel Fury and James Guthrie (date unknown).
During rehearsals with Durga McBroom.
Various Pink Floyd message boards have suggested there may have been some sort of romantic "thing" between David Gilmour and Rachel Fury during the 87-89 tour. Commenters refer to concert footage suggesting an "innate" chemistry between the two. I read this as drawing a very long bow and I prefer to think that it is more a case of there just being a good vibe between all the members of the mid 80's Pink Floyd line-up. In fact, it is perhaps because of this good vibe, that an additional side project was fostered during this period that Rachel Fury participated in. "The Fishermen" was conceived by David Gilmour as a loosely fashioned band that would play secret gigs at various venues throughout the DSOT tour.
(Update - November 2021; Having received a kind message from Machan Taylor - one of the original DSOT backing vocalists - I have been able to confirm that it was not Rachel singing "Respect" on the bootleg recording. It was in fact, Machan herself - with Durga McBroom sharing backing vocals. Rachel Fury was not present during The Fishermen recordings).
Liner notes from a bootleg recording of The Fishermen in Copenhagen c. 1988 (http://www.hokafloyd.com)It is after the successful DSOT tour that Rachel Fury drops off a precipice. It seems that no-one - least of all her vocal colleagues from the tour - know what happened to her. I have reached out to Machan Taylor, Durga McBroom and Guy Pratt over the years and, while they were all kind enough to reply, they either couldn't - or wouldn't - reveal anything useful The only singer from the DSOT trio to continue with Pink Floyd was the equally fabulous Durga McBroom (who is credited on "The Division Bell" album and appears in the "P*U*L*S*E" tour line-up). Machan Taylor remains active in the music industry.
Lorelei McBroom, Gary Wallis & Rachel Fury circa 1989 (? Venice).
The last snippet of significance I can find is a mention that by 1995, Rachel Fury had given up singing altogether and had become involved in the animal rights movement.
Rachel Fury, her enigma is powerful - with Lorelei McBroom & Gary Wallis, circa 1989.
I consider it a tragedy that a singer, with the obvious talent and magnetism that she possessed, could have so comprehensively disappeared from the public consciousness. It is clear Fury was on a trajectory to become a solo performer with, at least, the profile of her contemporaries such as Lisa Stansfield, Marcella Detroit and Sam Brown (who - it should be noted appeared on Pink Floyd's follow up P.U.L.S.E. tour in support of "The Division Bell" album).
I live in hope that Rachel might surface one day.
Perhaps she is living on ... I dunno ... Guernsey perhaps? Happily married with a couple of kids, still looking beautiful and running - say a successful vet practice ... ??? Would she, one morning, open her laptop while sipping her coffee and indulge in that little thing that I'm sure we've all done and Google herself? She might see this and decide to respond? Either that or she's dead, a hippie who renounces all forms of modern technology or she's just not that into all this worship...
I take heart in the knowledge that I am not alone in wondering just what happened to this beautiful siren. All over the world, people just as (crack potted) dedicated as me are posing the same question. Where did she go? Does she still sing? Is she actually alive??
One can but live in hope...
Update - February 27th 2016: This post just never gets old does it. Quite by accident, I have discovered the secret "Fishermen" gig as a YouTube video. Clocking in at just over an hour, this gig was captured in 1988 in a Copenhagen nightclub and features a number of the DSOT lineup.
Dean's new collection of reflective essays - including a revised & updated version of "Oh Beautiful Fury" is available now in print and digital from Amazon.