RACE WITH THE DEVIL - THE GENE VINCENT STORY (320kbs-m4a/128mb/56mins)
BBC Radio 6 Music broadcast: 16th March 2019
Another chance to hear Roger Daltrey, frontman of The Who, assessing the influence of leather-clad rocker and personal hero, Gene Vincent.
Born in 1935, Vincent Craddock was brought up in a naval community in Virginia and left school early to become a sailor. His naval career came to an end when he was hit by a car, nearly losing a leg, and he threw himself into making music.
With a new name and a manager - local radio DJ "Sheriff Tex" Davis - Vincent began writing songs and almost immediately came up with the classic he'll always be associated with, 'Be-Bop-A-Lula'.
Follow-up hits of such magnitude were not easy to come by. 'Race With The Devil', 'Bluejean Pop', 'Lotta Lovin' and 'Woman Love' did not achieve the same commercial success.
Vincent went on tour, performed on television, and starred in a film 'The Girl Can't Help It 'with Jayne Mansfield. He was one of the first rock 'n' roll stars to make a career in movies and appeared in three more, but by 1960 his star was on the wane in America.
Tours in Europe gave him a shot in the arm but trouble seemed to find Vincent wherever he went. A car smash near Chippenham killed tour mate Eddie Cochran while Gene broke his ribs, collarbone, and further damaged his weakened leg.
In 1963 he moved to England and it was here that he made his mark on the burgeoning British pop scene. His stage shows and 'dangerous' image, assisted by his trademark leather outfit, greatly influenced artists like Lennon and McCartney, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, Shane Fenton and Eric Burdon.
Gene Vincent died in 1971 at the age of 36.
First broadcast on Radio 2 in 2009.
Gene Vincent - Race With The Devil [After Hours]
Gene Vincent - Dance To The Bop [Capitol]
Gene Vincent - The Rose Of Love
Gene Vincent - Rocky Road Blues [See For Miles]
Gene Vincent - Woman Love [Virgin]
Elvis Presley - Blue Moon [RCA]
Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame [EMI]
Little Richard - Tutti Frutti [Ace]
Chuck Berry - Maybelline [MCA]
Gene Vincent - Be Bop A Lula
Gene Vincent - I Sure Miss You
Gene Vincent - Jumps, Giggles And Shouts
Gene Vincent - Somebody Help Me [EMI Pathe]
Gene Vincent - Weeping Willow [Capitol]
Gene Vincent - Crazy Times
Gene Vincent - Pistol Packin' Mama [Capitol]
Gene Vincent - Be Bop A Lula
Gene Vincent - Peg O' My Heart
Gene Vincent - Over The Rainbow [EMI Pathe]
Gene Vincent - Cruisin' [Capitol]
Eddie Cochran - 20 Flight Rock [See For Miles]
Gene Vincent - Git It
Gene Vincent - Everybody's Got A Date But Me
Eddie Cochran - Three Steps To Heaven [GTV]
Gene Vincent - I'm Going Home (To See My Baby) [Capitol]
Gene Vincent - Looking Back
Gene Vincent - Bring It On Home To Me
Gene Vincent - Party Doll
John Lennon & Yoko Ono - (Just Like) Starting Over [Capitol]
Gene Vincent - Lotta Lovin' [EMI Pathe]
Gene Vincent - Teardrops