The only genuine artist delivering his kind of music
Fans answer the critics who claim Gene is dated “when he sings ‘Over the Rainbow’ we flip”
Dogged persistence is helping Gene Vincent to win through the illness and bad luck that has surrounded him for the past few years, and many of his followers believe he will one day return to the heights he achieved when his “Be Bop A Lula” was a world-wide hit.
Vincent’s persistence follows right through to the songs he sings. He refuses to change the style that originally made him famous, or even the manner in which he presents his act-dressed in a black leather suit, or some equally startling rigout.
Thought of retiring
He told a Stateside reporter once: “I reckon that I have made enough money over the years to live comfortably and to make sure my family has plenty of luxuries, so I don’t see why I should take a gamble on my livelihood by starting all over again.
But Vincent’s critics insist that his style in song and dress is somewhat dated - reminiscent of the days of crude rock ‘n’ roll, which luckily didn’t last long in Britain.
One noted disc critic wrote: “I don’t know how Gene manages to attract so many enthusiasts when officially he should have been written off as a has-been years ago.”
Hard words ? Not really, for this critic had his finger on public taste and being a genuine student of the charts couldn’t see why Gene’s distinctive type of music was still popular.
But the answer comes from a group of Gene’s fans who, in a letter to Hit Parade recently, agreed that the roustabout rock ‘n’ roll sung by Gene is hardly 1961 tastes, but said: “The reason so many people flock to see Gene is that he is the only genuine artist delivering this kind of music. Although we like his ‘Say Mama,’ ‘Bluejean Bop’ and others, we also like ballads, and when Gene sings ‘Over The Rainbow,’ we flip. There’s only one Gene
“If there were a dozen or so entertainers circulating the country and singing Gene’s songs with the same enthusiasm and sincerity, then neither Gene nor they would be box-office attractions.
“Luckily, there are enough fans of Gene’s rock to make his British trips worth while.”
Someone else who has faith in Gene’s style and popularity is independent film producer Milton Subotsky, who is planning the spectacular “It’s Trad Dad” film for Columbia.
Alongside Helen Shapiro, John Leyton, then Brook Brothers, Craig Douglas and our top trad bands, Gene will perform the only rock number in the film.
Even the American contingent of artists, including U.S. Bonds, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Clarence “Frogman” Henry are sticking to their current style of music for the film, while Gene’s cameo appearance will be memorable for its difference !
Back in Britain
Gene will return to Britain early this month for his fourth tour this year. He first flew over in January, went back to the States five weeks later, returned in May, broke off his tour to visit South Africa, flew back to Britain and finished his tour.
In August, while on yet another tour of Britain he had to return to the States because of illness.
He will be here for little more than a month, although it is quite likely he will renew his efforts to settle in Britain next year.
On this trip he undertakes a Scottish tour, at least three TV appearances, including “Thank Your Lucky Stars”, and a string of one-nighter dates.
A plan for him to tour with Jess Conrad and newcomers to chart success the Springfields had to be dropped.
His contribution to “It’s Trad Dad” will probably be filmed at Shepperton in December and may be his last commitment before he flies back to the States.
Vincent, blues singer
In Texas he is booked for a major Christmas telecast which will feature the Gene we don’t often see - blues singer! A host of country-and -western artists and blues singers from the Deep South will appear with him.
At the same time as Gene undertakes all this activity, he learns that his health is improving. Good news for everyone.
The life of a public entertainer is a gruelling one and physical fitness is an essential if a performer is to give of his best.
(quoted in full)