Gene Vincent / Feb 11, 1935 - Oct 12, 1971

The pioneering rockabilly artist Gene Vincent whooped things up with the mighty "Be-Bop-A-Lula" in 1956 with his band The Blue-Caps, which was originally intended as a b-side. Other '50s hits included "Race With The Devil", "Bluejean Bop" and "Lotta Lovin". He became an ex-pat in '59 and lived in and toured Europe for several years, at one point his band included a young Ritchie Blackmore.

Beset by medical problems from injuries sustained in two road crashes (a '55 crash of his brand new Triumph motorcycle and a '60 taxi crash that killed Eddie Cochran), and his subsequent self-destruction through drink & painkillers, Vincent grinded his way through the rest of his life as a has-been artist in pain. He went back to the States in the late '60s and played country and folk-rock. At one point he shot at Gary Glitter (too bad he didn't succeed in killing him!). Vincent died at 36.

Check out Gene's biggest tune here:

Here's a documentary, The Rock & Roll Singer - 1969, about Gene returning to tour the UK in '69. He's shown being greeted by his Teddy Boy fans and coaxing music from his backing band (whom he'd just met) in a basement rehearsal. They play some gigs, talk conspiracy theories and Gene walks around with a sad vibe. Pretty interesting vid, and a must-see for his fans:

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