Gene Vincent – Star of Rockabilly
Gene Vincent was the star of the American rockabilly mid-50s, one of the pioneers of rock and roll, went down in history with the hit Be Bop a Lula (1956).
Vincent Eugene Craddock was born on February 11, 1935 in Norfolk, Virginia. He grew up in an atmosphere of country music, rhythm and blues, and gospel music. Egmont Overture by Beethoven was one of his favorite. The boy showed real interest in music when his family lived in the town of Mundy Point, Virginia, near the border with North Carolina. His first guitar 12-year-old Vincent received as a gift from his friend. His father was US Navy Coast Guard volunteer, who patrolled US coastal waters to protect shipping allies from German submarines during World War II. His mother worked as a salesgirl in a shop in nearby town. Over time, the parents opened their own shop and sewing workshop in Norfolk. As a child Craddock wanted to become a sailor.
At the age of 17 he left school and joined US Navy in 1952. Vincent was a good sailor during his stay in the sea, but had a reputation as a troublemaker during shore leave. He never participated in the fighting, but served at the beginning of the Korean War.
In 1955, Craddock bought a new Triumph motorcycle and had a serious accident. He injured his left leg and remained crippled. He spent a lot of time at Portsmouth Naval Hospital and was subsequently put ashore for medical reasons.
Craddock changed his name to Gene Vincent and founded rockabilly group Blue Caps. In fact, the band was called Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps.
In 1956, Gene wrote Be-Bop-A-Lula, the song number 102 in the list of 500 best songs of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine. The song became a hit and made Vincent rock ‘n’ roll star.
In 1957 the band recorded another hit Lotta Lovin.
The song Dance to the Bop released on October 28, 1957 became his last American hit. Vincent’s last records were 4 tracks for Rolling Rock made a few weeks before the death of the musician.
Gene Vincent died on October 12, 1971 in California at the age of 36. The musician was buried in Eternal Valley Memorial Park.
In 1997 Vincent was inducted into Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In subsequent years, he took his place in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.