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Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps

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Biography

Gene Vincent, real name Vincent Eugene Craddock, (February 11, 1935 – October 12, 1971) was an American rockabilly pioneer musician, best known for his hit “Be-Bop-A-Lula”.

Early life:
His parents, Ezekiah Jackson and Mary Louise Craddock, were shop owners in Norfolk, Virginia. He grew up in Virginia under the influence of country, Rhythm and Blues and Gospel music. He received his first guitar as a gift from a friend at the age of 12.

In 1952 Gene left school and joined the Navy. In 1955 he was stationed in Korea, where he suffered a severe motorcycle accident that shattered his left leg. He refused to have it amputated, the leg was saved, but left him with a permanent limp and considerable chronic pain for the rest of his life.

Early career:
He left the Navy and started playing in various country bands in his native Norfolk, Virginia. In 1956 he wrote “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, which helped him sign a contract at Capitol Records with his backing band The Blue Caps.
After “Be-Bop-A-Lula” had become a huge hit, Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps were unable to follow it up with the same level of commercial success but recorded critically acclaimed songs like “Bluejean Bop” and “Race with the Devil”. That year, Vincent was reputedly convicted of public obscenity and fined $10,000 by the state of Virginia for his live performance of the erotic song, “Woman Love”, although this is now believed to have been just a rumor.

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