Spent Brothers Productions Gene Vincent Website

Faith, Vincent good but show is poor

(late November 1962)

Despite the colossal potential of a bill headed by Adam Faith and Gene Vincent, the package which opened at the Rialto, York, last week and which ends a three-week run at Leicester on December 9, is NOT likely to go down as one of 1962’s most notable efforts…Adam Faith is fortunate in having his own half “clean” being only preceded by his own polished group, The Roulettes…Gene Vincent was not so fortunate. He followed a weak first-half bill and had the disadvantage, I’m afraid, of The Echoes backing.

Vincent salvaged his act with “She She Little Sheila,” “Movin’ On,” “Be Bop-A-Lula” and “Tutti Frutti,” but never have I seen him work so hard to such heavy opposition.

Gene Vincent

GET-WELL messages have been pouring in for hospitalised Gene Vincent…it’s a practical impossibility to answer all the messages personally…if you plan to drop…a line: Gene Vincent, St. George’s Hospital, Hyde Park Corner, London, W.1…

Gene Vincent plans a book

INTO hospital on Sunday went GENE VINCENT and before he went he let me into a secret. While he’s recovering from the operation that should rid him of the constant pain in his right leg, Gene is going to write his memoirs!

“I will be telling my story into a tape recorder and it will be written into a book for publication later in the year,” he told me.

Gene has great tragedy to tell of as well as a story of fantastic success and the injury to his leg is only one of the accidents which have scarred him.

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(17 November 1962)

SENSATIONAL plans for Gene Vincent aim at making him one of Britain’s major attractions - on stage, TV and records.

For the American rock star now settled in a small Kent town is being negotiated for important deals in all three mediums.

Gene confirmed this week that he has no plans to work in the U.S. again. “I hope to return for a short visit during 1963 but that will only to see my mother and father. I SHALL DEFINITELY NOT STAY” he told DISC.

When he begins a tour with Adam Faith next Wednesday, fans will get their first sight of a new-look Vincent. The leather jerkin, always open at the throat with a chain and medalion slung around his neck will be gone.

“It is still predominantly leather but I wear a jacket instead of a jerkin, neat black tailored trousers, a white shirt with a frill front and a fly-away bow tie.”

Always happy when he’s on the road, Gene wants to tour a lot here. His working permit says he mustn’t earn in Britain again until next March.

“But they said that months ago and I’ve managed the tour with Adam haven’t I?” says the “Be-Bop-a-Lula” star who sounds determined to play more dates here soon after Christmas.

Of his tour with Adam Faith Gene said: “I think this is an ideal package. It’s a true contrast-an American rocker and a British beat singer.

“I like Adam and I’m sure we’ll get along swell. I first met him when we appeared on a television show together. I haven’t seen him work but I watched some of his recent TV shows.”
new song

Very soon we can expect Gene back into the recording studios with a possible rush release before Christmas. He has been waiting for the return of Sounds Incorporated from Hamburg to back him on a new song he has written himself.

Like many of the hits he has written the song has a strong story line but Gene is keeping the title very secret.

Incidentally, Gene is confident that Little Richard (whom he has known well for a long time) will change his mind about not returning to Britain for rock ‘n’ roll, and keep the planned tour date with Vincent-probably next April.

Meanwhile, Gene is hoping that the questionable permit will allow him to go out on the next Brenda Lee tour here.

Whatever happens we’re sure to be seeing a lot of the inimitable Mr. Vincent from now on.

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Gene Vincent moves into Kent

(August 1962)


WHEN Gene Vincent flew back into England last weekend it was a home-coming! He has finally decided that Britain will replace the United States as his home.

I was the first journalist to be a gust in the modern semi-detached house in Kent he calls home. Over dinner, Gene talked to me about his plans for the future.

One worry currently troubling him is that he must wait until next March before he can tour Britain again. He is still officially an American citizen and has already played the number of weeks allowed by his yearly working permit, he tells me..

Setting up home here has not been easy for Gene either. He still gets a pension of $127.10 a month from the American Army as a result of an accident on a motorcycle while he was on active service.

Although this pension is peanuts compared with what he earns from singing, it gives the Army some say in where he lives! However, he’s got permission to live in England now.

He has just recovered from a bout of ‘flu he picked up during a tour of Italy and a short residency in Germany, but put plenty of energy into his new Kent home.

He has only had a little time at the house because globe-trotting Gene is off again in a few days-to spend four weeks in Israel, followed by a tour of France.

Not being able to work in Britain has been something of a handicap to his new record “King Of Fools.” Television engagements to promote the disc this week had to be cancelled because his working permit does not allow them.

“King Of Fools” - a number written by Norrie Paramor’s assistant Bob Barrett and made here in July - was Gene’s third British recording session.

Gene was more than happy with the session, on which he waxed three other titles besides “Fools.” He was accompanied by Charles Blackwell, of whom he says: “He’s an extremely talented young man. I was particularly pleased with the ideas he came up with for “Be-Bop-A-Lula Twist,” the coupling to “King Of Fools.”

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GENE VINCENT - the star who doesn’t need hits

(July 1962)

THE artist without a record. That’s what they are beginning to call him. Gene Vincent has not had a hit record in over a year. And yet he is capable of pulling them in on one-nighters to a greater extent than some American artists who visit this country to cash in on a hit disc in the charts.

Gene Vincent is different. He is still living off the records that are behind him. It is the name, he contends, and not the disc that counts.

“I was in at the beginning of things,” he says. “Then it was the artist who was sold to the public and not, as it is now, his latest record.

“I came in at a time when the name of an artist meant more and the name I built up then has stood me in good stead. I don’t believe that I have to rely on being as good as my last record.”

But, despite this logical philosophy, even Gene has to keep on making records. And hits count. This week he cut three singles in Britain before beginning his three-week tour of one-night stands. Norrie Paramor of EMI took the sessions and the numbers he cut were penned in Britain. Two of them by Charles Blackwell.

“But I don’t think that recording British numbers in England will necessarily influence there success over here,” he said. “After all, I still sing the same kind of number-I can’t really make it British, can I?”

“I suppose the real reasons for recording here is time-I’m over here for the tour-and my friendship with Norrie Paramor-we get along very well and there are British musicians here that I think are terrific.

“Also recording in another environment can produce something from an artist that he didn’t know he had. Something just that little different.

“But I’m not necessarily relying on any of the three records I’ve cut in Britain being a chart winner. I only really need them to sell well.

“It always helps, of course, to have a hit in the charts at the same time that you are touring. That much is obvious, but what I am saying is that it is not necessary if you are a name artist; and a hit doesn’t give you guaranteed drawing power.

Not the greatest
“I’m not one to ignore the charts, but I think it is stupid to rely on them as a reflection of your popularity on record.”

“One thing that is important for Americans over here is that they should not act the big I am. It doesn’t go down at all with British audiences.

“So many U.S. artists come over here and act as if they were the biggest thing that has hit this country since the Luftwaffe. British audiences don’t like it. They like to recognise you as a regular guy, one of the boys.

“The British don’t want that glamorous untouchable aura that is supposed to surround a star name. They want to identify themselves with him. Joe Brown is like this, they know he is just one of them and they like him for it.

“When I set out to give a British audience a performance I remember this. First of all they want a show. They don’t just want to hear that voice they’ve heard on records. They don’t just want a pretty uniform and a pretty face to go with it.

“In the first place I don’t talk too much. British audiences come to hear you sing, they don’t want to hear you talk.

“In the U.S. it’s different. You can talk to them for a while between numbers without losing their attention. Here in Britain if you say more than a few sentences to them, they have lost you, they get restless for the next number.

Prefer British
“I think I prefer British audiences to American. Although I was warned when I first came over here that they were tough. I haven’t found that. They are keen and receptive.

“I was told that Liverpool was the hardest town to play. They wanted more than their money’s worth. I haven’t found that. I was also told that the dance hall dates could be tough because of rowdiness. I have never found that.

“If there is any trouble among the teenagers then it is usually just due to over exuberance.

“I remember on the last tour I visited a very plush ballroom in Motherwell, Scotland. It was a beautiful place with flowers all round the stage in pots. I asked the manager to move them away so the fans could get nearer to me, as I was sure from experience that they want to.

“He said it wasn’t necessary. I told him that he was risking his beautiful flowers. We never get any trouble here, he said. The next time I saw that manager he was screaming for the kids to get off his flowers and sweat was breaking out on his brow!

“But this wasn’t rowdiness-just enthusiasm. You can’t blame any audience for being enthusiastic.”

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(July 1962)

GENE VINCENT recorded a new version of his fantastic hit “Be-Bop-A-Lula” in London on Tuesday. It was one of four sides which he recorded under Norrie Paramor’s direction at EMI on his third British session.

Vincent, who plans to live here, made slight changes to the song. The Charles Blackwell Orchestra provided a twist backing.

The first two sides will be issued next month. It is not certain whether “Be-Bop-A-Lula” will be his next single. It may be shelved for subsequent release.

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(March 1962)

It seems that the job of welcoming the perennial Gene Vincent in print is becoming a regular, but not unpleasant chore. For Gene begins his fifth tour of Britain in 18 months on March 31 - and already his trip has been extended twice!

Originally, he was only to have played concerts with Brenda Lee, but enquiries about other theatre and ballroom appearances have resulted in promoter Don Ardent, who is also Gene’s European manager, extending the tour to accommodate other shows with her, and-when fans were still not satisfied-he cabled Gene asking him to stay for a total of five weeks!

Happily for the thousands who flock to see him on stage, Gene has agreed, and on March 28, this curly-haired, shy character with a perpetual air of loneliness, flies into London Airport, then rehearses for a couple of days before embarking on a long itinerary.

Isn’t it strange that an artist who has not had a big hit record for some time continues to attract full houses?

Presenting his rock ‘n’ roll songs, Gene uses a style that is six years out of date. He does not bother about putting his own interpretation on other artists’ hits, and, by and large, sticks to a now familiar repertoire.

Any other artist trying to get away with this approach would surely be laughed off the stage. But Gene’s fans take him as seriously as he takes himself. He is devoted to the life he leads, and is completely carried away when he has a mike in his hand and a rockin’ band behind him.

Perhaps one explanation for Gene’s perpetual attraction is the fact that there are still many people who respond to the excitement he generates. It is an excitement that has to be seen, as well as heard, to be properly experienced.

Even Gene’s appearances on TV - remember him in “Boy Meets Girls” with Eddie Cochran ? - failed to show exactly why the crude rock ‘n’ roll he revitalised brought the crowds in.

Only those who have seen him on stage will know the difference between the “real Gene” and the “electronic Gene” as projected on disc and TV.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that the Gene Vincent who stormed the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with ” Be Bop-A-Lula” will reach his fantastic best again until he completely recovers from the illness that has dogged him since April 1960.

Remember he was seriously injured in a car crash - the same crash that killed Cochran, his best friend - and he has never been completely fit since then. For months after the accident he went through much mental anguish, and great discomfort because of his insistence that he should keep on working.

Hurt health
As later visits showed, Gene’s stubbornness in this direction did tremendous harm to his physical condition. He was caught in a vicious circle because the energy he put into his act wasn’t being fully replaced.

Luckily, he has had four months rest in the Californian sunshine since his last trip here.

As if to emphasise Gene’s visit, the film in which he makes a brief guest appearance, “It’s Trad Dad,” will be released during his stay.

In this, Gene, clad in white, sings “Spaceship To Mars,” penned by recording manager Norrie Paramor and the film’s producer, Milton Subotsky.

At the moment, there are no plans to release this as a single, but it will be incorporated on the LP from the film, which is being issued on the Columbia label in May.

He is backed by his British accompanying band, Sounds Incorporated who are also featured in their own right in the film.

Gene’s current single “Lucky Star,” coupled with “Baby, Don’t Believe Him,” was released earlier this month.

On this his backing is supplied by the Dave Burgess Band, instead of the Blue Caps, who have yet to make their British bow.

Incidentally, Gene’s fans may be interested to know that the Blue Caps are still in existence. They do not always use their name, but accompany who record in Hollywood and Nashville.

One of their more recent tasks was backing their friend Troy Shondell on his hit parade waxing of “This Time.”

The story is that the Blue Caps crowded into a room of Troy’s home to help him wax the number. A keen recording enthusiast, Troy had enlisted their help, never dreaming that the tape would turn out to be a big hit.

What are Gene’s plans for the future ? Is he still planning to settle in Britain, which he already treats as his second home ?

These and other questions cannot be answered until Gene arrives - and if I can snatch a few minutes of his time during the hectic itinerary, I’ll tell you what he says.

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