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Surprised there wasn't already an entry for this one...
Gene Vincent was born Vincent Eugene Craddock, and with his band The Blue Caps made some of the most visceral rock 'n' roll of the fifties.

His leather clad image, odd stance (the result of a bad leg due to a motorcycle accident) and general demeanour influenced thousands of early rockers, especially the Beatles, who played with him in the early 60s (there is a famous photograph of Vincent, John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the Cavern Club, with Lennon and McCartney dressed in obvious imitation of Vincent).

He is best known for his first hit, the self penned Elvis soundalike Be Bop A Lula, and his appearance in the film The Girl Can't Help It, but he recorded many other greats such as Race With The Devil and Blue Jean Bop.

He was injured in the car crash that killed his close friend Eddie Cochran, and after that never regained his powers fully, taking to drink and dying in the early 70s. In recent years the reputation of the Blue Caps' guitarist Cliff Gallup (a huge influence on Jeff Beck amongst others) has overshadowed Vincent, but no-one can deny his greatness who has put the needle at the start of the record and heard 'WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL - AH Be bop a lula she's my baby'.....

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