Gene Vincent – Be Bop a Lula

“That beginning – ‘we-e-e-e-e-l-l-l-l-l!’ – always made my hair stand on end.”
John Lennon

Can this rock and roll possibly be improved on? I don’t think so.  When Gene Vincent starts this song with “well” along with that echo all around…it’s magical. Since Friday, I’ve covered songs that helped shape the young Beatles. It wasn’t just the Beatles  but all of the bands that came out in the sixties had music like this as their backbone.

The Beatles played at least 14 of Gene Vincent’s songs in their sets before they made it. A song like Somewhere Over The Rainbow that the Beatles would never think of covering until Gene Vincent covered it and gave the song his ok.

They also got to know Vincent in Germany while playing in Hamburg.

This song was recorded by Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps in 1956. The song was successful on three American singles charts as it peaked at #7 on the US Billboard pop music chart, #8 on the R&B chart, and also made the top ten on the C&W Charts, and #16 in the UK in 1956. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date.

As far as the origin of the song…I reblogged a fellow blogger (Freefallin’) a couple of years ago with this song. Here is the story:  Donald Graves—a buddy Gene Vincent made in a Portsmouth, Virginia, Veteran’s Hospital. Vincent—born Vincent Eugene Craddock in 1935—had just reenlisted in the U.S. Navy in the spring of 1955 when he suffered a devastating leg injury in a motorcycle accident. That injury would land him in hospital for more than a year, where a fellow patient remembers Vincent and Graves tooling around the facility working out the song that would eventually become a classic. By the time Gene Vincent’s demo tape reached Capitol Records the following spring, however, Graves had been bought out of his share in “Be-Bop-A-Lula” by Sheriff Tex (Vincent’s business manager), reportedly for just $25.

John Lennon covered it on his 1975 Rock and Roll album. As much as I’m a fan of Lennon…nothing touches the original but he does a great job.

Be Bop A Lula

Well be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll

Well she’s the girl in the red blue jeans
She’s the queen of all the teens
She’s the one that I know
She’s the woman that loves me so

Say be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll
Let’s rock!

Well now she’s the one that’s got that beat
She’s the woman with the flyin’ feet
She’s the one that walks around the store
She’s the one that gets more more more

Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll
Let’s rock again, now!

Well be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby
Be-bop-a-Lula I don’t mean maybe
Be-bop-a-Lula she’s my baby doll
My baby doll, my baby doll

Gene Vincent – Race With The Devil

Gene Vincent’s voice and slap back echo go together perfectly. Every rock artist after Gene Vincent has went after that sound.

Cliff Gallup played some great guitar on this recording. He recorded 35 tracks with Vincent including Be-Bop-A-Lula. Gallup was ranked 79th by Rolling Stone magazine’s David Fricke in his list of 100 Greatest Guitarists. He ended up influencing many guitarists including  Eric Clapton, Brian Setzer, and Jeff Beck.

This song was released in 1956 and it peaked at #96 in the Hot 100 and #28 in the UK.

He continued to record and tour and remained popular in Britain, where in 1960 he reinjured his leg in the automobile accident in which fellow rockabilly singer Eddie Cochran was killed. Elvis Presley was influenced by Vincent, and bands such as The Beatles played with Vincent in Hamburg in the early sixties.

…but forget who influenced who and enjoy the song.

Race With The Devil

Well I’ve led an evil life, so they say
But I’ll hide from the devil on judgement day, I said
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move hot-rod, move me on down the the line, oh yeah

Well me and the devil, at a stop light
He started rollin’, I was out of sight, I said
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move hot-rod, move me on down the the line, oh yeah

Well, goin’ pretty fast, looked behind
A-hear come the the devil doin’ ninety-nine, I said
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move hot-rod, move me on down the the line, oh yeah

Well thought I was smart, the race was won
A-hear come the devil doin’ a-hundred and one
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move hot-rod, move me on down the the line

Well, goin’ pretty fast, looked behind
A-hear come the the devil doin’ ninety-nine, I said
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move hot-rod, move me on down the the line, oh yeah!

Well I’ve led an evil life, so they say
But I’ll hide from the devil on judgement day, I said
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move, hot-rod, move man
Move hot-rod, move me on down the the line

Eddie Cochran – Somethin’ Else

The first thing I noticed are the huge drums that start this song off. Eddie was one of the great rock and roll guitar players in the 50s. His guitar playing influenced bands such as The Clash, The Ramones, and The Sex Pistols.

Cochran wrote this with the help of Sharon Sheeley, who became Eddie’s girlfriend. There weren’t many female songwriters at the time, but Sheeley’s first effort, “Poor Little Fool,” became a #1 hit for Ricky Nelson.

She met Eddie when she asked him to record one of her songs.

On April 17, 1960, Cochran was killed in a car accident at age 21. Sheeley and Gene Vincent were also in the car and injured in the crash, but Cochran went through the windshield.

Sheeley continued to write songs for artists like Brenda Lee and Irma Thomas. She died in 2002 at age 62.

Somethin’ Else

A look a-there, here she comes
There comes that girl again
Wanted to date her since I don’t know when
But she don’t notice me when I pass
She goes with all the guys from outta my class
But that can’t stop me from a-thinkin’ to myself
She’s sure fine lookin’ man, she’s something else

Hey, look a-there, across the street
There’s a car made just for me
To own that car would be a luxery
But right now I can’t afford the gas
A brand new convertible is outta my class
But that can’t stop me from athinkin’ to myself
That car’s fine lookin’ man, it’s something else

Hey, look a-here, just wait and see
Worked hard and saved my dough
I’ll buy that car that I been wanting so
Get me that girl and we’ll go ridin’ around
We’ll look real sharp with the flight top down
I keep right on a-dreamin’ and a-thinkin’ to myself
When it all comes true man, wow, that’s something else

Look a-there, what’s all this
Never thought I’d do this before
But here I am a-knockin’ on her door
My car’s out front and it’s all mine
Just a forty-one ford, not a fifty-nine
I got that girl an’ I’m a-thinkin’ to myself
She’s sure fine lookin’ man, wow, she’s something else

Gene Vincent – Lotta Lovin

The lead guitarist on the track was Johnny Meeks, who had replaced Cliff Gallup. The song has a great rockabilly vibe to it…from this came rock but it’s hard to top this. 

In August 1957, a year after he had scored a million-seller with his debut single, Be-Bop-A-Lula Gene Vincent returned to the U.S. Top 20 with Lotta Lovin’ which, briefly restored his career here that was all too ready to overlook him.

‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ had propelled  Vincent into the limelight while he was still an amateur with only a few hometown appearances to his name. Years later, he blamed his quick baptism of fire for his rapid descent into alcohol.

What didn’t help was the car accident he had on April 16, 1960…with Eddie Cochran in a taxi which killed Cochran. Vincent whose leg was weak due to a wound incurred in combat in Korea…was injured. He walked with a noticeable limp for the rest of his life. 

In 1962 he was in Hamburg and played on the same bill as the Beatles. The Beatles got pretty close to him.

0248 Blue Jean Bop – Gene Vincent (1956) | The beatles, The quarrymen, Paul  mccartney

Lotta Lovin’

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta huggin’
So baby can’t you see that you were meant for me
I want your lovin’, yes-a-ree.

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta huggin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta kissin’
So baby please proceed to get the love I need
I want your lovin’ yes indeed.

Well, I want you, I love you, I need you so much
Why don’t you give out with that magic touch
You send me, you thrill me, baby you’re so fine
I want your lovin’ baby all the time.

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta kissin’
So baby don’t forget I gonna get you yet
I want your lovin’, aw you bet. (Rock)

Well, I want you, I love you, I need you so much
Why don’t you give out with that magic touch
You send me, you thrill me, baby you’re so fine
I want your lovin’ baby all the time

Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta-lotta huggin’
So baby don’t forget I gonna get you yet
I want your lovin’, aw you bet. (Rock)

Well I wanna-wanna lotta lovin’
Well I wanna-wanna lotta huggin’
So baby don’t forget I gonna get you yet
I want your lovin’, aw you bet
Well,I need your lovin’, aw you bet
Well, I want your lovin’, aw you bet
Well,I need your lovin’, aw you bet
Well, I want your lovin’, aw you bet.