|Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps
The original Blue Caps:
Gene Vincent was born Vincent Eugene Craddock on February 11th, 1935. In his hoemtown Norfolk, Virginia, he began singing in church as a youngster and later learned to play the guitar. While stationed in Korea with the Navy, he badly injured his left leg. The injury was so severe that the doctors wanted to amputate the leg, but Gene chose to live with the pain and a limp for the rest of his life. After the Navy, he returned to Norfolk, where he formed his own singing group. He called them the Blue Caps (they actually wore blue caps) after the hat that the then President Eisenhower always wore on the golf course. The group played in the Norfolk area until Gene heard of a talent contest that Capital records was conducting on the West Coast to find an Elvis-type singer.
In April 1956 he went to Los Angeles, with a song he and his friend Sheriff Tex Davis had written called "Be-Bop-a-Lula" (inspired by the comic strip character Little Lulu) and won first prize in the talent contest. He received a recording contract with Capitol and his group went on to cut the record, which became a top-ten national hit and million seller during the summer of 1956. From 1960 until 1967 Gene lived in London, England, attempting a comeback. Times were tough for him in the late sixties and resulted in acute depression which led to bleeding ulcers. He died on October 12, 1971, in Newhall, California.