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» Gene Vincent

Gene Vincent
Born: February 11, 1935 in Norfolk, Vi
Died: October 12, 1971 in Newhall, Ca
Active: '50s, '60s, '70s Major
Styles: Rockabilly, Rock & Roll
Instrument: Vocals Representative
Albums: "The Screaming
End: The Best of Gene Vincent", "Gene Vincent's Greatest", "The Capitol Collector's Series" Representative
Songs: "Be-Bop-A-Lula", "Lotta Lovin'", "Race with the Devil"

UPC Type Title
4000127168467 (i) CD Ballads of Gene Vincent
602498496053 (i) CD Be Bop a Lula 1956
894231417924 CD Be-Bop-a-Lula & Other Favorites
724354068522 CD Blue Jean Bop
090431271223 CD Blue Jean Bop/& the Blue Caps
724353363222 (i) CD Blue Jean Bop/Gene
725543342119 Vinyl Bluejean Bop!
670917091714 Vinyl Bluejean Bop!
093652361216 Vinyl Born to Be a Rolling Stone
077779407422 CD Capitol Collectors Series
823564621128 CD Capitol Years
790051713423 CD Gene Rocks
739497702226 CD Gene Vincent Tapes
724354068423 (i) CD Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
8436542013314 (i) CD Gene Vincent Record Date + Sounds Like Gene Vincen
8436542011860 (i) CD Gene Vincent Rocks!
725543342416 Vinyl Gene Vincent Record Date with the Bluecaps
725543342317 Vinyl Gene Vincent Rocks & the Blue Caps Roll
725543342218 Vinyl Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps
670917092018 Vinyl Gene Vincent Record Date
715187762329 CD Greatest Hits
8712177050567 (i) CD I'm a Man
5013929598898 (i) CD I'm Back & I'm Proud
090431003824 CD Legend at His Best
090771515810 Vinyl Live at Town Hall Party
723724047624 CD Lonely Street
4000127168429 (i) CD Outtakes
4000127162571 (i) CD Road Is Rocky-Complete Studio Masters 1956
724357153423 (i) CD Rock N Roll Collection
015668507426 CD Rockabilly Fever
723721173753 CD Rockabilly Rebel
723721526559 CD Rockabilly Rebel
4000127171344 (i) CD Rocks
090431271421 CD Rocks & the Bluecaps Roll/Reco
090431272022 CD Sounds Like/Crazy Times
670917101819 Vinyl Sounds Like Gene Vincent
5033531022123 (i) CD Sweet Gene Vincent
682970000428 CD White Lightning

Biography: Gene Vincent only had one really big hit, "Be-Bop-a-Lula," which epitomized rockabilly at its prime in 1956 with its sharp guitar breaks, spare snare drums, fluttering echo, and Vincent's breathless, sexy vocals. Yet his place as one of the great early rock & roll singers is secure, backed up by a wealth of fine smaller hits and non-hits that rate among the best rockabilly of all time. The leather-clad, limping, greasy-haired singer was also one of rock's original bad boys, lionized by romanticists of past and present generations attracted to his primitive, sometimes savage style and indomitable spirit.

Vincent was bucking the odds by entering professional music in the first place. As a 20-year-old in the Navy, he suffered a severe motorcycle accident that almost resulted in the amputation of his leg, and left him with a permanent limp and considerable chronic pain for the rest of his life. After the accident he began to concentrate on building a musical career, playing with country bands around the Norfolk, VA, area. Demos cut at a local radio station, fronting a band assembled around Gene by his management, landed Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps a contract at Capitol, which hoped they'd found competition for Elvis Presley.

Indeed it had, as by this time Vincent had plunged into all-out rockabilly, capable of both fast-paced exuberance and whispery, almost sensitive ballads. The Blue Caps were one of the greatest rock bands of the '50s, anchored at first by the stunning silvery, faster-than-light guitar leads of Cliff Gallup. The slap-back echo of "Be-Bop-a-Lula," combined with Gene's swooping vocals, led many to mistake the singer for Elvis when the record first hit the airwaves in mid-1956, on its way to the Top Ten. The Elvis comparison wasn't entirely fair; Vincent had a gentler, less melodramatic style, capable of both whipping up a storm or winding down to a hush.

Brilliant follow-ups like "Race With the Devil," "Bluejean Bop," and "B-I-Bickey, Bi, Bo-Bo-Go" failed to click in nearly as big a way, although these too are emblematic of rockabilly at its most exuberant and powerful. By the end of 1956, the Blue Caps were beginning to undergo the first of constant personnel changes that would continue throughout the '50s, the most crucial loss being the departure of Gallup. The 35 or so tracks he cut with the band -- many of which showed up only on albums or b-sides -- were unquestionably Vincent's greatest work, as his subsequent recordings would never again capture their pristine clarity and uninhibited spontaneity.

Vincent had his second and final Top Twenty hit in 1957 with "Lotta Lovin'," which reflected his increasingly tamer approach to production and vocals, the wildness and live atmosphere toned down in favor of poppier material, more subdued guitars, and conventional-sounding backup singers. He recorded often for Capitol throughout the rest of the '50s, and it's unfair to dismiss those sides out of hand; they were respectable, occasionally exciting rockabilly, only a marked disappointment in comparison with his earliest work. His act was captured for posterity in one of the best scenes of one of the first Hollywood films to feature rock & roll stars, The Girl Can't Help It.

Live, Vincent continued to rock the house with reckless intensity and showmanship, and he became particularly popular overseas. A 1960 tour of Britain, though, brought tragedy when his friend Eddie Cochran, who shared the bill on Vincent's U.K. shows, died in a car accident that he was also involved in, though Vincent survived. By the early '60s, his recordings had become much more sporadic and lower in quality, and his chief audience was in Europe, particularly in England (where he lived for a while) and France.

His Capitol contract expired in 1963, and he spent the rest of his life recording for several other labels, none of which got him close to that comeback hit. Vincent never stopped trying to resurrect his career, appearing at a 1969 Toronto rock festival on the same bill as John Lennon, though his medical, drinking, and marital problems were making his life a mess, and diminishing his stage presence as well. He died at the age of 36 from a ruptured stomach ulcer, one of rock's first mythic figures. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi