Vincent, Gene

Vincent, Gene

▪ American singer
original name  Vincent Eugene Craddock 
born Feb. 11, 1935, Norfolk, Va., U.S.
died Oct. 12, 1971, Newhall, Calif.

      American rockabilly singer whose swaggering, black-leather-clad image defined the look of the rock rebel. Discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1955 following a motorcycle accident in which his leg was seriously injured, Vincent tried his hand at country (country music) music. In 1956, with record companies frantically seeking their own answers to Elvis Presley (Presley, Elvis), Vincent recorded “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” When the record sold 200,000 copies in June alone, Capitol Records seemed to have found its Presley. Driven by Vincent's assured vocals and the stellar guitar playing of Cliff Gallup—the standout among Vincent's excellent backing band, the Blue Caps—“Be-Bop-A-Lula” became a rockabilly classic. Although Vincent would subsequently score minor hits (notably “Race with the Devil” and “Lotta Lovin'”), he never equaled the success of his first. He continued to record and tour and remained popular in Britain, where in 1960 he reinjured his leg in the automobile accident in which fellow rockabilly singer Eddie Cochran (Cochran, Eddie) was killed. Touring and drug and alcohol abuse eventually took their toll; Vincent died at age 36. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

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Universalium. 2010.

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