From the Vault...


Gene Vincent
"Capitol Collectors Series"

© Capitol Records

Year of Release: 1990

track listing
  • Be Bop A Lula
  • Woman Love
  • Race With The Devil
  • Gonna Back Up Baby
  • Bluejean Bop
  • Important Words
  • Crazy Legs
  • Bi-Bickey-Bi Bo-Bo-Go
  • Five Days Five Days
  • Lotta Lovin'
  • Wear My Ring
  • Dance To The Bop
  • I Got It
  • I Got A Baby
  • Walkin' Home From School
  • Baby Blue
  • True To You
  • Rocky Road Blues
  • Git It
  • Say Mama
  • Rocky Road Blues
    (Backing Track)

  • WSVNRadio Archives
    A B C D E F G H I J K L M
    N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    Gene Vincent related sites:
    Gene Vincent Website
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    Gene Vincent
    "Capitol Collectors Series"

    Vincent Eugene Craddock (better known as Gene Vincent) only lived 36 years. But what he will always be remembered for was the 1956 hit, "Be-Bop-A-Lula." The song was written by him, and easily compared to Elvis Presley's early Rock & Roll years. Easily compared to Elvis, yes, as I would take this song as my lip-synch assignment for Speech class, in my Freshman year of High School. Oh yeah, I did the whole "Elvis the Pelvis" thing while lip-synching this song in class. And yes, the girls in the class, including the female teacher, went nuts. A survey was taken after everyone who participated (of course, there were some students who chickened out, not doing this assignment), to see who did the best lip-synch tune. I had won this, hands down, losing count of how many actually voted for me. And yes, I even voted for myself.

    Gene Vincent's Capitol Collectors Series is a great retrospect of his years with Capitol Records. Sure, he may not have had as many hits after "Be-Bop-A-Lula." Yes, he did not have as many hits as Elvis did. But, in comparing to the early Elvis, and other early rockers as Carl Perkins, Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly, 1950s doo-wop, this best-of is surely a great comparison to the early years of Rock & Roll.

    Having the 45 single of "Be-Bop-A-Lula," the Capitol Collectors Series just happened to have the B-side, "Woman Love." Another easy comparison to it's A-side, this song was another good rockin' rockabilly tune. Other true rockabilly tunes follow: "Race With The Devil," "Gonna Back Up Baby." Speaking of, "Bluejean Bop" starts out slow, sounding like a slow Elvis tune (Vincent's voice is an almost runner-up to Elvis). But then this song kicks into the another good rockabilly number.

    "Important Words" -- a very impressive and excellent slow ballad, comparing again to Elvis, and one of his slower paced songs. "Crazy Legs" starts out with a Chuck Berry intro, and is another early 1950s Rock & Roll/Rockabilly comparison. "Bi-Bickey-Bi Bo-Bo-Go" has the comparison of Elvis'/Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes."

    1950s doo-wop has "Five Days Five Days," early Ricky Nelson/Elvis on "Lotta Lovin'" Doo-wop/Elvis for "Wear My Ring." Rockabilly, 1950s early rock & roll on "Dance To The Bop," "I Got It," "I Got A Baby," "Walkin' Home From School" (doo wop). Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" comes to mind on "Baby Blue." Buddy Holly on "True To You." Rockabilly on "Rocky Road Blues," doo wop/rock & roll on "Git It." "Say Mama" is early rock & roll, and "Rocky Road Blues (Backing Track)" is an instrumental version.

    No doubt, the Elvis Sun years is the best comparison, and to Rockabilly, and the early years of Rock & Roll. His career lasted up until 1971, recording for Capitol, EMI's Columbia (British), Challenge, Dandelion, Forever, Kama Sutra, Beeb, and Norton. He traveled and recorded in Europe. His years with Challenge included recording with the ex-members the group the Champs and Glen Campbell.

    He had dropped out of high school, and joined the Navy in 1952. His father had served on the Coast Guard. By 1955, he was planning a career in the Navy. He had bought a motorbike, where he was involved in a accident with it, causing his leg to be amputated. He ignored the operation, as he would would encounter pain and a limp for the rest of his life. Later biographies would write that his leg was the result of an injury from the Korean War.

    The early 1960s were spent in Europe. On April 16, 1960, while on tour in the UK, he was riding in a car with Eddie Cochran and songwriter Sharon Sheeley. The car crashed, and he broke his ribs, collarbone and further damaged his weakened leg. Sheeley suffered a broken pelvis. Eddie Cochran suffered brain inuries from being thrown from the car. He died the following day. Vincent returned to the U.S. after the accident.

    His later years weren't as popular. He had a problem with alcohol. He tried to shoot Gary Glitter in 1968, in Germany. He fired several shots, and missed. While visiting his father in 1971, he suffered a ruptured stomach ulcer and died. He was 36.

    Although he would be known for one hit, "Be-Bop-A-Lula," it's a wonder that the songs on Capitol Collector Series were not as popular. The rockabilly and Elvis-sounding songs could easily have been as successful. The best news for Gene Vincent was that he was the first inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame upon its formation in 1997. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a year later. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His band, the Blue Caps, were retroactively inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by a special committee, alongside Vincent.

    The Capitol Collectors Series is an excellent compilation of Gene Vincent's music. Not only is his one biggest hit is here, it's the other songs that makes it an even better album to listen to. It's just a wonder how some of these songs did not accomplish the popularity as "Be-Bop-A-Lula." That being said, these songs can be enjoyed over and over, and it is obvious, that they make his name as part of other Rock & Roll legends in it's Hall of Fame.

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    Previous Review: #1412
    Chicago--Chicago IX-Chicago's Greatest Hits
    Next Review: #1414
    Elvis Presley--Back In Memphis