Spent Brothers Productions Gene Vincent Website


Local paper review

(BEDFORD RECORD)
(February 1961)

The ringing in our ears as we left the cinema, could mean only one thing. From the fans point of view the 1961 All Stars stage at Granada on Wednesday had been a great success. Nine great turns had the fans screaming throughout, and we had the usual battle between the singer and the band to see who could be heard.
Star of the show was Gene Vincent and with Vince Taylor, particularly, preceding him with a great performance, he had to work hard to prove he was the number one boy.
But of course being Vincent he did it. Besides his great singing he disregarded his crippled leg and raised the roof as he dived on top of the piano to encourage his pianist, almost shaking the amplifier off in his frenzy, then he and his guitarists were all down on their knees for his superb closing number ‘Be Bop A Lula’. In fact the fans were so carried away that when he paused for effect in the slow opening of “Blue Jean Bop’ they just could not stop screaming and seemed to put him off his song. He opened with ‘Hey Momma’ and besides ‘Blue Jean Bop”, and ‘Be Bop A Lula’, included his latest recording, ‘Mister Loneliness’.

GENE VINCENT

(End July 1961)

GENE VINCENT got a big surprise when he appeared at Torquay’s Princes Theatre-a huge cake, featuring a 3-foot long chocolate guitar and Gene’s name in marzipan, made by a local fan. Gene and his road manager, HENRY HENROID, later sent it to a local children’s hospital.

(quoted in full)

GENE (I’M STICKING TO ROCK) VINCENT CONDEMNS HIS LATEST RELEASE

(DISC)
(16 December 1961)

GENE VINCENT, who has now returned to America, has no desire to change his style and become the kind of singer Capitol have made him on his latest release “Unchained Melody”. “THAT RECORD SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN RELEASED” GENE TOLD ME.

“It was made in 1956 for an album, but I had no say in it being released here. If I had it would never have come out. It’s a ballad and just isn’t what the fans expect of me.”

Gene, with his all-black leather suit and wild gyrations with the microphone, has not changed his style since the early Bill Haley days of pure rock music and when you ask him why, you get a direct answer.

“Listen,” he drawled, “My style has sold records consistently and the kids like rock; that’s what they pay to see. You have to have the right feeling for rock and not many singers of today have it. But if you saw my record royalties you’d realise why I don’t need to change.

“Sure I’ve thought about it from time to time but the fans don’t want it. Years ago, When I started in this business people told me it would never last. Well I’m still around and the beat is, too, and rock has become an accepted from of music.”

Certainly rock stars come and go but none come to Britain as frequently as Gene, who clearly loves it here, “I find the people are terribly kind wherever I go and your musicians have improved tremendously.

Faithful
“The people aver here have longer memories and they are the most faithful fans in the world. They come to see me because I am something of a legend to them; as far as they’re concerned it is not what you’ve got now but what success you’ve had in the past that counts.

“And if I started to change my style they would drop me quicker than that.”

But when he does return to Britain it invariably brings back memories for Gene of the fatal car crash in which his friend Eddie Cochran was killed.

“Eddie and I were great buddies,” said Gene. “It’s only natural that I should think about him when I’m here; but, you know, I only remember the good times we had.

“I see his mother quite often and his records mean a lot to her. Eddie was really her boy and if you saw her face when I play his records to her, you’d be glad that a lot of his work is still around.”

Busy trip
This has been a busy trip for Gene, who besides his tour of one-nighters, has completed a role in the film, “It’s Trad Dad,” and cut two new singles - “Spaceship To Mars” and “Whoops I’m Falling.”

“This film should be great,” said Gene, “although I’m not in love with movies - I prefer to play to a live audience. As for the records, they’re the type of songs my fans associate me with and the backings and arrangements are terrific.

“I wasn’t too happy with my previous recordings here, but this time everything has worked out great and I’m pleased.

“I’m going home for Christmas to be with my family and take a look at my business interests in the States, but I’ll be over in the New Year to tour on a big Brenda Lee package. Will it be the same act? But of course it will!”

Guy Bower

(quoted in full)

The only genuine artist delivering his kind of music

(HIT PARADE)
(November 1961)

GENE VINCENT
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)

GENE VINCENT: WHAT IS HIS FUTURE ?

(New Musical Express)
(August 1961)

FOR the second time in little more than a year, Gene Vincent makes a sudden departure from British shores. Again he gives his personal life as a reason, and again the loyalty of his fans is tested to the utmost.

Will Gene ever return ? That’s the question being asked by his many followers-and I’ll stick my neck out for once and warn Gene to rebuild his career on disc, and not on personal appearances.

Remember June 19 last year ? That’s when Gene limped on to a plane back to the States after his visit had been plagued with ill-health, bad luck, and the death of his best friend Eddie Cochran and his own injuries in a car crash.

This time, Gene collapsed in his dressing-room at a Glasgow ballroom. He was rushed to hospital and doctors warned his road manager, Henry Henroid, that he was very sick indeed.

Two days later Gene was back on the road again ! Mot a wise move, you may say, but he felt his actions were justified by the long string of engagements for which he was booked.

No surprise
It came as no surprise to many to learn less than a week later that he had flown back to America-the country he had decided to leave to settle in Britain.

European manager Don Arden explained that Gene was unable to carry on, owing to his illness.

Now there are several things about Gene Vincent that should be stressed.

First, he was ultra-sensitive.

Secondly, he became a different person on stage.

Thirdly, he seems to be haunted by a jinx that has struck again and again disrupting a career that was given a flying start with “Be Bop-A-Lula.”

These three facts tie in perfectly. His sensitivity meant that his manner was construed as eccentric and temperamental.

His stage appearances took a fantastic amount of energy-energy that wasn’t being replaced because of his almost permanent ill-health.

And his feeling about the jinx had a thoroughly alarming effect on him psychologically.

Taking all these things into account, I maintain that Gene should record worthwhile hit parade material, and make no personal appearances at all.

After all, if you’re sick, it’s foolish to work, isn’t it ? And while recording isn’t exactly a piece of cake, at least Gene needn’t step into a studio if he doesn’t feel like it.

One school of thought expresses the view that an artist should have no personal life; that “the show must go on” maxim should apply no matter what-but I know from personal knowledge of Gene that he really is ill and to have carried on would have been disastrous.

Don’t be surprised, though, if Gene’s legion of fans in this country altogether understand why he should suddenly desert them when he has said both on stage and radio that he is going to settle here.

There are plans to bring him back when he is fit, but I think he will be foolish ever to set foot here again.

His make-up is such that a strange country, people and places to whom he is unused, upset him, and an artist of his sensitivity cannot work properly under these conditions.

MIKE HELLICAR
(quoted in full)

AILING GENE VINCENT RUSHES BACK TO U.S.

(quoted in full)
(New Musical Express)
(August 1961)

GENE VINCENT’s tragedy-scarred personal life has again caused him to break off a tour of Britain and return to the States because he is too ill to carry on.

The decision for Vincent to wind up his tour was made at the weekend - five days after Gene collapsed in his dressing room at Glasgow and was rushed to hospital.

Although his condition was serious, he insisted on leaving hospital two days later to fulfil bookings.

Last summer, while Vincent was touring under Larry Parnes’ auspices, he returned to the States suddenly.

Vincent flew form London Airport on Monday morning, while European manager Don Arden cancelled his dance-hall bookings…

“Gene is very sick, and at one point near death,” Arden told the NME this week. “It is best that he should return to the States, but I expect to start soon on setting up a plan for him to return later in the year.”

The title of Gene’s latest record, recorded in London last month with Sounds Incorporated backing him and issued by Capitol today (Friday) is entitled, coincidentally, “Going Home”!

(quoted in full)

Gene Vincent cuts short British tour

(DISC)
(August 1961)

Leaves for U.S. a sick man

AMERICAN rock star Gene Vincent has cancelled all engagements, including the final three weeks of his British tour, and has flown back to the States. He had been taken ill at his Glasgow date early last week and spent two days resting in the infirmary. He recovered sufficiently to complete two dates, at Lydley and Romford, and was then taken ill again.

Included in the cancellation were recording sessions with Norrie Paramor and EMI’s Luxembourg “Monday Spectacular.”

Manager Don Arden spoke to DISC after seeing Gene off at London Airport on Monday.

“He is definitely ill,” Arden said. “He is tired and his leg is giving him a great deal of pain.”

Gene broke his leg in a car crash eight years ago and today wears a brace.

“But,” said Arden, “he will be back. He will have a rest, and in a few days time I will be able to announce a return date. When Gene returns he will fulfil his engagements.”

(quoted in full)

GENE IN WHITE

(December 1961)

Usually U.S. rock star GENE VINCENT performs in a black leather outfit-but you’ll see him clad in white, singing “Spaceship To The Stars,” in “It’s Trad Dad!”, the film which is now being shot at Shepperton studios.

Exciting news about Gene is that he will be joining forces with Brenda Lee for several concerts ! What a combination they should make.

GENE VINCENT IS BALLROOMS’ ROCK KING

(New Musical Express)
(14 July 1961)

Five years ago, at the birth of rock in Britain, theatres were its showcase. Now the centre has changed - it is more often to be found in the ballroom.

This year has seen more and more rock artists in the dance halls. Who is the King?

“Gene Vincent,” says L.B.Fancourt, who heads Top Rank Dancing, controlling 23 ballrooms, the second largest in the world.

“Vincent has visited most of our ballrooms this year,” Fancourt recalled. “He has been to some of them several times. Wherever he goes he is a tremendous draw…”

If it’s undiluted rock you’re after -

(HIT PARADE)
(June 1961)

GENE VINCENT IS YOUR MAN
Unlike some American performers, Gene Vincent is always welcomed back to this country with his legions of fans flocking to his stage and dance hall dates, expressing a loyalty rarely witnessed towards an artist whose discs do not have a great deal of chart success.

But perhaps one of the reasons Gene’s fans stay loyal, is because he keeps his own allegiance to them…by making sure of a high standard of singing and recording, and keeping well in touch with British followers.

Gene came to the top in the rock era, with “Be Bop-A-Lula,” and although he later waxed numbers that were more distinct rock numbers, he has never strayed from the frantic, beaty type of song presentation that first gained him honours.

Few disc artists do this-many feel the need for a change of style before their fans are ready to accept them in another vocal sphere, and the result is often disastrous.

Many American artists who come to Britain after one, two, or even more hits, often find they cease to be so popular again because, in their stage act and subsequent recordings, they did not play up to the picture their fans wanted to remember.

But, in Gene’s case, fans are assured of an out-and-out session intermingled with blues.

No matter what his critics-and there are many-say, Gene is adamant: “Rock put me into the top bracket and that’s what I am going to continue to give my fans.”

Proof of the reason for Gene’s continued popularity is given by the membership of his British fan club…who were asked recently to send in their own list of favourite Gene Vincent recordings.

Top of the tree in a list compiled especially for “HIT PARADE” is “Be-Bop-A-Lula”.

Second is “Say Mama,” a fast-moving rock number that Gene nearly always features in his stage and radio appearances.

Third comes “Baby Blue,” where Gene is accompanied by a girl-and-four-boys singing group (unusual for him), and fourth comes “Rocky Road Blues.”

Fifth is “Bluejean Bop,” and sixth “My Heart.”

Other numbers voted into the Vincent Top Twenty include “Wild Cat,” “Over The Rainbow,” “Summertime,” “Frankie And Johnny,” “Lotta Lovin’,”, “Wedding Bells,” “Race With The Devil,” “I Got It,” “Git It,” “Little Lover, “Dance To The Bop,” “Anna-Annabelle” and “Mr. Loneliness.”

In the LP section, “Crazy Times” scored most heavily, with “Gene Vincent Rocks,” and “Gene Vincent Record Date” as runners-up. “Sounds Like Gene Vincent,” “Bluejean Bop,” and “Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps” follow closely behind.

A new Vincent single was issued by Capitol to coincide with his arrival at the end of April-and latest reports are that, following in the tradition of Gene’s discs, it is selling well. Taken from the “Crazy Times” album, the titles are “She, She Little Sheila,” and “Hot Dollar.”

Although Gene hasn’t had a chart entry since “Pistol Packin’ Momma,” his subsequent releases - “Accentuate The Positive” and “Jezebel” did well.

But in the recording field, Gene is hoping to wax as much new material as possible, since his disc company have been relying on the re-issue of oldies.

There is talk that Gene will again record while in Britain-a move which will be applauded by many.

He recorded “Pistol Packin’ Momma” (sic) here last year under Norrie Paramor’s direction and excited a great deal of interest.

Vincent’s close friend, Eddie Cochran, was responsible for the arrangement - you’ll recall he died in a road crash soon afterwards.

There’s talk of Gene settling in Britain for good now that he is so well established here.

His European manager, Don Arden, has been bogged down with inquiries about Gene’s availability for some time, and feels that Gene’s short visits to this country do not do justice to the amount of work awaiting him.

It is unlikely that a decision will be taken either way for a month or two, as a residency in Britain would mean Gene tearing up all his roots in the U.S. and almost starting a new life, although he is by no means a stranger here.

If he does decide to stay, it’s probable that he will use London as an operating base for most of the world, as there are many offers for him to tour abroad.

His highly successful visit to South Africa at the end of last month would also be repeated.

But the thousand-dollar question that many of Gene’s admirers keep asking is: “What’s happened to the Blue Caps?”

Those of you who know anything at all about the Vincent legend will recall that his backing group have never been seen in this country, except on films, as Musicians’ Union restrictions have proved an obstacle.

There were hopes that the Blue Caps would be able to make this current trip with Gene, but as a suitable group of the same size couldn’t go to America to make the musician “swap” complete plans fell through.

Perhaps the very near future will see Gene and his group blasting full force from our theatres-but it will need a near-miracle to bring the Blue Caps to these shores.

(quoted in full)

Life-lines of GENE VINCENT

(New Musical Express)
(2 June 1961)

Real Name : Gene Vincent Craddock.
Birthday : February 11, 1935.
Birthplace : Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A.
Height : 5 ft 10 in.
Weight : 158 lb.
Colour of eyes : Brown.
Colour of hair : Dark Brown.
Sisters : Three.
Wife s name : Darlene.
Children : Two girls, one boy.
Present home : Niles, California.
Instruments played : Guitar and piano.
Musical education : Self-taught.
Age entered show business : 21.
First public appearance : Local county fairs in and around Norfolk, and after leaving the U.S. Navy in 1956.
Biggest break in career : Winning the Capitol Records audition out of 200 other applicants.
Biggest disappointment in career : Losing his lucky charm on tour. It was given to him by a spastic fan in the USA.
TV debut here : Jack Good’s “Boy Meets Girls” on December 12, 1959.
Radio debut : In the U.S. - Virginia’s “Country Showtime.” In Britain - BBC’s “Saturday Club” on March 5, 1960.
First important public performance : Sands Hotel in Las Vegas.
Million - selling records : “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” “Bluejean Bop,” and “Wear My Ring.
No. 1 disc hits : “Be-Bop-A-Lula.”
Other discs which appeared in charts : “Bluejean Bop,” “Wildcat,” “My Heart,” “Pistol Packin’ Momma,” She She Little Sheila.”
Latest release and current hit : “She She Little Sheila.”
Albums : “Bluejean Bop,” “Gene Vincent And The Bluecaps,” “Gene Vincent Rocks And The Bluecaps Roll,” “A Gene Vincent Record Date,” “Sounds Like Gene Vincent,” and “Crazy Times.”
EPs : “Hot Rod Gang,” and “Record Date” (Parts 1 and 3)
Present disc label : Capitol.
British manager : Don Arden.
Name of group : The Bluecaps.
Compositions : “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” “Bluejean Bop,”, “Baby Blue,” “Be-Bop Boogie Boy,” “The Night Is So Lonely,” “Race With The Devil,” “Important Words,” “Teenage Partner,” and “I Love You.”
Film debut : “The Girl Can’t Help It” in 1957.
Other film appearances : “Hot Rod Gang” and recent “State Fair.”
Biggest influence on career : Listening to the coloured people in his home town singing blues.
Former occupations before show business : Boiler tender in the U.S. Navy, also a despatch rider.
Hobbies : Playing guitar, listening to records, farming, driving.
Favourite colour : Blue.
Favourite singers : Brook Benton, Little Richard, Connie Francis, Johnny Cash and Cliff Richard.
Favourite actor : Late James Dean.
Favourite food : Steak.
Favourite drink : Coffee.
Favourite clothes : Very casual.
Favourite instrumentalists : The late Eddie Cochran, Joe Brown, and The Shadows.
Car : Pontiac saloon.
Miscellaneous likes : Eating, being with close friends, Britain, talking about records.
Best friend : Was the late Eddie Cochran. Now Gene says that he and Jerry Lee Lewis are like brothers.
Tastes in music : Blues, country-and-western, rock, ballads, but not jazz.
Origin of stage name : Just dropped surname-Craddock !
Personal ambition : To own a farm when he quits show business, although he has no idea when that will be.
Professional ambition : To become a better performer and sing rock ‘n’ roll a whole lot better than he does at the present moment.

Gene Vincent records in Britain again soon

(June 1961)

GENE VINCENT is to record in Britain again, on his return from America next month. The rock star is to wax two sides under Norrie Paramor’s supervision for Capitol.

He made his first disc here a year ago-”Pistol Packin’ Momma,” a top twenty entry with a new arrangement by the late Eddie Cochran.

Now recovered from his fall at Newcastle Magestic last week, when he was unconscious for nearly an hour, Vincent returns to the States on Monday…

Gene Vincent accident

(June 1961)

Gene Vincent was unconscious for almost an hour on Wednesday night after he fell down a flight of 30 steps after leaving the stage at Newcastle Magestic.

The American rock star had just been mobbed by a large crowd of teenagers who had swamped the stage at the finish of his 50-minute act.

After Vincent’s fall-he was hurrying to his dressing room-he was moved to his hotel room where he was attended by doctors.

The rock singer is due to fly back to America later this month to clear up outstanding affairs prior to settling with his family in Britain.

He is expected to leave on Monday, June 26, but will return within two weeks to fulfil concert bookings already set…

GENE VINCENT HELPED OFF STAGE AT PLAZA

(local Guildford weekly newspaper)
(May 1961)

…There was no need for famous American pop star Gene Vincent to speak when I met him in the house behind the Guildford Plaza on Sunday. His expression was one of complete exhaustion. As he relaxed in an armchair he panted that he had been up since 5 o’clock that morning and had been working under fierce lighting equipment on a television set all day. This had ended at 7.30, when he was rushed to the Guildford Plaza to face 600 enthusiastic teenagers who had been building up an atmosphere of restless excitement since the beginning of the evening. The wonderful climax was partially due to the jazz band, ‘Sounds Incorporated.’ who were specially selected to perform with Gene.

FORWARD SURGE
When an announcement was made that Gene would be on in ten minutes’ time, any hopes of more jiving were dashed: the crowd surged forward to the stage. Those who were too far back to see went upstairs for a birds-eye view.

The build-up was certainly justified when the slim figure in black leather jeans and jacket burst on to the stage, grabbed the microphone and in a split second had extracted from the restless, stimulated audience a roar of appreciation and applause. Whether his songs were current or old made no difference to his astounding performance, and he was so exhausted after 20 minutes that he had to be helped off the stage.

It was the first time British teenagers had seen him perform in a ballroom and he was unquestionably a huge success.

Vincent should record in U.S.

(DISC)
(20 May 1961)

There are rumours that Gene Vincent may decide to settle down in this country. That would be great. I think our fans know better how to appreciate Gene’s talents than the Americans seem to. Over there you have to have appeared recently in the charts or you are nobody.

What a strange attitude. As far as I’m concerned it couldn’t matter less whether Gene never makes the charts again. His records never fail to sell in large quantities-though over a longer space of time-and he remains in the front rank of exponents of the beat.

One thing I would suggest, though, is that Gene should continue to make his recordings in Hollywood with the backing he has on his latest “She-She-Sheila” (sic)/”Hot Dollar.” I must confess that I didn’t think the backing he had on his British-made efforts were up to standard.

“She-She-Sheila”/”Hot Dollar” takes us right back to vintage Vincent. More please.

(quoted in full)

Frantic Vincent breaks two mikes!

(DISC)
(18 February 1961)

JUNE HARRIS REVIEWS THE GENE VINCENT PACKAGE

GENE VINCENT and Jess Conrad, heading the latest all-star rock package, are a knockout !

The tour opened last Sunday at the Granada, East Ham…

Vincent is even greater than he was before. The highlights of his performance were some of his more established numbers, “Blue Jean Bop” and “Summertime.” And in his closing song, “Be Bop A Lula,” he broke two mikes through his frantic actions…

GENE VINCENT - CROWD STOOD AND CHEERED

(February 1961)

Have you ever seen almost the entire audience in the stalls of a theatre leave their seats and run down to the foot of the stage to applaud a finale for a full five minutes ?

Until last Sunday at East Ham Granada, I’d never known such a demonstration of enthusiasm, but to see a packed house rise to its feet and rush down the aisles was terrifying-for it could have had disastrous results for members of the audience and the cast on stage.

The show was the first performance of a package headlining Jess Conrad and Gene Vincent…

Drowned
Gene Vincent was rather more uninhibited, kneeling on the floor and swirling the microphone about, and, sorry to report, even louder screaming and applause completely drowned his act. I did hear snatches of “Be-Bop-A-Lula” and “Say Mama,” however.

In Britain Again

(HIT PARADE)

(February 1961)

THAT RIP-ROARING ROCKER GENE VINCENT

Every performance whips the fans into frenzied excitement
If there’s one American singer that British fans will always welcome back to these shores-irrespective of whether or not his discs rocket to the top of the charts-it’s Gene Vincent.

For Gene, currently on another tour of Britain, which will give his followers in many provincial towns a chance to see him again, is a performer whom you never tire of watching once you have got accustomed to his unique style…

Reports reaching us from the States, immediately prior to Gene’s opening performance here last month, indicated that he was anxious to try out a lot of new material…

There’s no doubt that no disc Gene has ever waxed will be capable of capturing the excitement, the feeling and the sheer pulsating climax of his stage performance.

It has yet to be rivalled by any similar type of artist-British or American.

As audiences are finding out right now, Gene starts his act off quietly-at least for about the first eight bars-and then begins to rock.

Gripping hold of the microphone, sweat pouring from his brow, his legs kicking, sliding, bending; doing everything in fact but stand still, he rips into a number.

Few will forget his first stage appearance after the accident involving Gene and Eddie Cochran.

Although his leg was in plaster and various other parts of his body were strapped up, he gave the most fantastic performance that most of his audience have ever seen.

As the theatre manager remarked, frantic, frenzied fans yelling all around him: “The way that fellow’s going on, he’s going to fall to pieces any moment.”

…Perhaps the strangest teaming of all will be later this month, when Gene undertakes a series of one-night stands with Jess Conrad.

Compare Jess’s quiet manner to Gene’s rip-roaring stage performance, and there’ll be quite some contrast!

Finally, HIT PARADE can predict that Gene is going to have something special by which he will be able to remember this tour.

His fan club president Mike Bartlett and Alan Vince held a whip-round of members to buy Gene a present for his birthday.

The result: a plush gold watch, inscribed “To Gene From His British Fan Club,” which will be presented to him on February 11 at Maidstone Granada.

Although this isn’t his birthday - it falls a day later - Mike and Alan feel that Gene won’t mind. After all, what more of a token of esteem could an artist wish for ?

Gene Vincent may live here

(New Musical Express)
(June 1961)

Gene Vincent, currently in the NME Charts with “She She Little Sheila,” is involved in discussions that could make Britain his permanent home !

Now undertaking his second tour of the country within six months, Vincent is due to fly back to the U.S. during the summer with his European representative Don Arden, to clear up outstanding business affairs there.

If negotiations are successful, Vincent will return with his family towards the autumn and use Britain as a base for making world-wide stage appearances.

As reported last week, there is a possibility of his returning to Africa-he returned from Rhodesia on Tuesday…

GENE TO SETTLE IN ENGLAND ?

(DISC)
(May 1961)

Gene Vincent flew into London Airport last Friday (April 28) for what may be his last visit to these shores…Gene is thinking of settling here permanently. As DISC closed for press he hadn’t made any definite decision, but at least he’s going to be here for some time on this current trip. He’ll be playing ballrooms, one-nighters and with some TV appearances. There’s a pointer in the fact that so far Gene hasn’t arranged any date for his return to the States.

(quoted in full)

GENE IS BACK !

(New Musical Express)
(late May 1961)

It’s becoming quite a frequent occurrence for the NME to welcome Capitol’s Gene Vincent back to these shores. Once again the dynamic young entertainer is due into London Airport (today Friday) to begin another lengthy tour of the country.

But you can take it from me that there is absolutely no danger of Gene outwearing his welcome here. And I can offer you solid proof of the fact. For I am always impressed by the volume of readers’ letters about him.

Irrespective of whether of (sic ) not he has a current record hit, and regardless of the fact that he may not have a British tour immediately pending, the letters arrive in a steady stream all through the year, asking for details and news of this distinctive performer.

If the amount of correspondence we receive is anything to judge by, then Gene is in continual demand in Britain.

That’s why thousands of cheers arose from the throats of teenagers throughout the country, when they heard that their idol was scheduled to make another British tour this spring-despite the fact that his last tour here took place only three months ago.

There may also shortly be a further development in Gene’s career, which will give his many British fans even greater satisfaction if it materialises.

For some time, Gene has been tinkering with the idea of settling in this country permanently.

He likes it here very much indeed, and there’s no doubt that audience reaction to him over here is every bit as good as-if not better than-that which he receives in the States.

Decision ?
WE shan’t know exactly what decision Gene has come to on this subject until he arrives. But it’s possible that the visit that is due to start today may develop into residency.

Meanwhile, what has been officially lined up for Gene on this visit is an extensive ballroom tour, a spell in variety, a television appearance and a seven-day trip to South Africa towards the end of May.

It is possible that this current visit will help to create another hit for Gene, too. Capitol are issuing a new Vincent single next Friday.

The titles in themselves are not brand new. They are taken from his album “Crazy Times,” which was released here last summer. But they are two swinging tunes, ideally suited to his rip-roaring style, and his presence will no doubt help to boost them considerably.

The titles, by the way, are “She, She, Sheila” (sic) and “Hot Dollar,” so keep a look out for them.

Actually, Gene is now overdue for a hit. His last impact upon the charts was with his revival of “Pistol Packin’ Mama.”

But, although he subsequently came along with two further revivals of oldies, “Accentuate The Positive” and “Jezebel,” these didn’t register with the fans sufficiently to push them into the top table.

And the same applies to his last record released here, a February issue titled “If You Want My Lovin’.” But Capitol have great hopes that his next issue will fare appreciably better. We shall soon see.

But regardless of whether or not Gene is in the hit parade, his army of fans remain loyal to him. And there’s no doubt that they are all eagerly waiting for him to swing back into action around Britain once more.

(quoted in full)

Now Gene Must Face The Music

(Disc)
(28 January 1961)

Gene Vincent is back. He flew into London last Friday a healthier, happier and heavier man than when he left so hurriedly last June. He’s here for a tour which promises to be one of his most successful. Already there’s talk of extending his visit so good have been the advance sales.

For Gene this is going to be quite an ordeal. Last June, you’ll remember, he broke off in the middle of a tour and flew home, saying his young daughter had died.

The fans, and people in the business understood what had happened…but many people didn’t. As far as they were concerned Mr. Vincent could go for good.

What had really happened? The car crash which so tragically killed Eddie Cochran had also given Gene concussion: “I should have stayed in hospital longer after the accident.” said Gene. “Instead all I wanted to do was get out.”

The price he paid was a complete breakdown. “It’s no good asking me much about it now,” said Gene. “I don’t remember a thing about it. When I got home I didn’t even recognise my family.”

Changed man
A long spell in hospital and taking life easily since then have made him a changed man. When I saw him a few days before he went home last June his limp was accentuated, his face was almost gaunt and he was incredibly tired.

Now he really looks fit…he’s even put on weight, especially in the face-and he’s much happier.

He has a great disc out, “Jezebel” and “Maybe,” voted a hit by our reviewer Don Nicholl, but Gene is worried about how the fans are going to react after he left many of them disappointed after his last tour.

“When I first heard about the tour I was frightened,” said Gene. And even after everyone had tried to reassure him that everything would be all right he was still understandably apprehensive. “It’s a challenge,” said Gene, “and now I’m really looking forward to it.”

I told him how, after he’d gone last year, we had dozens of letters arriving in the office saying how the writers understood Gene’s troubles, wished him luck and hoped to see him again when he was better. “That was very nice of them,” said Gene…but he won’t be convinced until those dates are under way..

During his stay here Gene is making sure that he has enough time to look up his old friends-he made many while he was working over here. He’s a difficult person to get to know but when he does make friends, they’re real friends.

The tour is being organised so that Gene will get some time off. He wants to meet the people and see the country.

“Last time I was here I wasn’t able to do any of these things.

“This time I’m taking things easily.”

In past months he’s been keeping to this formula. “Five days work and then a couple off,” he told me. “I’ve been doing a lot of one-nighters back home, but now I take time off for a rest.”

No date has yet been fixed for Gene to return home after the tour. If the TV dates now being discussed materialise, he may stay over here for some time.

I knew that on his last visit Gene had missed his wife and daughter terribly. Would they be joining him here after the tour gets under way? “No,” said Gene. “I want to face this alone.”

(quoted in full)

SCREAMIN’ GENE VINCENT EXPLODING NEXT WEEK !

One aspect of Gene Vincent’s vocal prowess that isn’t too well known in this country is his noteworthy ability as an earthy blues singer. And Gene, let’s face it, has every right to sing the blues, for few other artists have had to fight against bitter disappointments and setbacks that have dogged his every step in show business.

On two occasions, the tousle-haired American rock star has been involved in serious road accidents. The first, early in his promising career, was a motorcycle crash in America, which left him with a crippled left foot that necessitated the constant wearing of a leg iron.

But Vincent triumphed over adversity and fought his way back into the big leagues of rock ‘n’ roll. Then came an even more serious road accident in which Gene narrowly escaped death. It happened on April 17 last year-the car crash that robbed the music world of one of its brightest young talents, Eddie Cochran.

Multiple head injuries and a fractured collar bone meant a spell in hospital for Gene, but it wasn’t his physical losses which hurt him so much as the loss of his close friend.

But he didn’t sing the blues for long. Within a matter of weeks, Gene was back on stage and working as hard as ever. He appeared under a tremendous mental and physical strain, and there were times when he was on the verge of collapsing.

Exhaustion finally took its toll soon after Gene’s return to the States last year, and he was finally persuaded to enter hospital for a well-deserved rest.

Some U.S. concert engagements last year marked Gene’s return to active show business, and right now he’s on his way back to Britain. On Monday he begins a tour with Chris Wayne and the Echoes at West Bromwich, and next month, teams up with a package show headed by rising young Jess Conrad.

Gene’s lengthy visit last year (it actually began late in 1959 with a guest appearance on the ABC-TV “Boy Meets Girls” series) did much to stimulate interest in his work.

He launched three discs into the best sellers during 1960-”Wild Cat”, “My Heart” and Eddie Cochran’s modernised arrangement of the oldie “Pistol Packin’ Momma.”

In recent months, Gene has been enjoying a modicum of success via his “Annabelle” disc and he’s hoping that his forthcoming personal appearances will help put him back in the charts. To coincide with his visit here, Capitol have issued his revival of the old Frankie Laine hit “Jezebel.” A few in-person plugs could well boost the disc to hit parade status.

A strange thing about Gene is that, unlike the majority of today’s rock stars, his popularity is greater with the fellows than the girls.

The reason, I imagine, is that Gene’s down-to-earth, unromantic approach and extremely masculine stage rig (black leather jacket and trousers) prompts the fellows to assume he’s “one of the boys”- an everyday guy looking for kicks and getting them from hard, driving music.

What is Vincent like as a person ? Basically, he’s an introvert-a shy, retiring person who keeps himself to himself and, on first meeting, gives the wrong impression of being somewhat unsociable and extremely uncommunicative.

But when you get to know him well, as I did, he overcomes his natural shyness and opens up.

His obvious modesty is no act-he declines to talk about himself for any length of time and quickly changes the subject when someone is about to compliment him. But on the other hand, he is eager to lavish praise on other artists, and eulogises about such stars as Ray Charles and Brenda Lee at the drop of a hat.

During his last visit, Gene acquired a lasting affection for Britain and his imminent return here comes as no real surprise. “I like Britain a whole lot, and I would like to spend more time here in the future,” he once told me. “And the fans are just great-very friendly and loyal people. It’s a real pleasure to work here.”

Well, Gene’s going to have that pleasure again next week-and it’s going to be no less a pleasure for his many thousands of British fans, who this week join me in bidding the rocking Mr. Vincent a warm welcome back to the country he calls his “second home.”

Keith Goodwin
(quoted in full)



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