Halfway to Paradise

One of my favourite songs in Halfway to Paradise, sung by Billy Fury. Although a great sound, and a wonderful epitome of the decade from which it came, it’s not spiritually uplifting despite its title. It is sung by a frustrated lover whose beloved will not admit him to more than Platonic friendship. Arrival at paradise is nothing more than full physical contact for the singer. Billy Fury, whose real name was Ronald Wycherley, was required early on in his career to tone down the sexually provocative nature of his live performances. In his personal life, he was involved with a number of women, whose wooing must have brought his most famous song to life:

I want to be your lover

But your friend is all I've stayed

I'm only halfway to paradise

So near, yet so far away

I long for your lips to kiss my lips

But just when I think they may

You lead me halfway to paradise


So near, yet so far away, mmm

Bein' close to you is almost heaven (heaven)


But seein' you can do just so much

It hurts me so to know your heart's a treasure (treasure)

And that my heart is forbidden to touch, so

Put your sweet lips close to my lips

And tell me that's where they're gonna stay

Don't lead me halfway to paradise

so near, yet so far away


Oh, uh, oh so near, yet so far away

Mmm so near, yet so far away

He died prematurely aged 43 of a heart attack, perhaps as a result of having a weakened heart from childhood illness. His wealth, good looks and successful pursuit of pleasure must have made him feel close to the paradisiacal utopia he had been chasing all his life, but never achieved. Happiness is not found in hedonism or slaked lust, but a right relationship with our Creator. Billy could only sing of being half way to paradise; Jesus on the cross promised another dying man that he would, that very day, obtain it in full.