Gene Vincent

He was one of the first rock'n'roll heroes responsible for popularising the genre in the 1950s, but Gene Vincent was a troubled character who led a turbulent life until his premature death in 1971 at the age of 36. Vincent's parents ran a store in Virginia and he grew up listening to country, blues and gospel music and was given his first guitar at the age of 12. A career in the US navy was ended by a motor bike accident which shattered his left leg and he spent the rest of his life with a severe limp suffering chronic pain. Getting involved in the local music scene in Norfolk, Virginia, he formed a band the Blue Caps and built a strong following playing country music in bars. Vincent wrote his most famous song Be-Bop-A-Lula in 1956, a demo of which gained the attention of various radio stations and won him a contract with Capitol Records, going on to reach Number 5 in the US charts. Follow-up records like Bluejean Bop, Lotta Lovin and Race With The Devil failed to replicate this success, but Vincent still gained a reputation as a great live performer and his dangerous outsider image dressed in black leather put him at the centre of the rock'n'roll revolution on tours with Little Richard and Eddie Cochran. Vincent suffered further painful injuries in the same car crash that killed Eddie Cochran, while they were on tour in England and his career was further blighted by tax problems. He died of a ruptured stomach ulcer in 1971.

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Stations Featuring Gene Vincent

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