Gene Vincent: Woman Love (1956)

 |   |  1 min read

Gene Vincent: Woman Love (1956)

When the late Ian Dury appeared on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs it was no surprise that he would pick a song by Fifties rock'n'roller Gene Vincent.

The surprise was the song he chose as one of the eight to take to some isolated place.

Dury -- who wrote the terrific tribute Sweet Gene Vincent -- hah had his life turned around when he heard Vincent in the film The Girl Can't Help It.

"It's in the film for about 18 secondfs," he said, "and you can hear him in the background. I couldn't believe it.

"I thought, 'What's that?' The voice, the song and the visuals together. My brain exploded, my heart exploded."

Once Dury found out about Vincent -- after a car accident at 17 his left leg was in a steel brace so he walked with a limp -- there's little doubt the young boy (who walked with calipers after childhood polio) had found a figure he could relate to.

Vincent's image also profoundly affected the teenage Dury: the black jacket and glove, the white shirt, the black hair greased back. Vincent looked like rock'n'roll when it was a rebel music.

Vincent's career as a charting star was short but he did deliver a rock'n'roll classic with Be-Bop-A-Lula in '56. But a car crash in 1960 while touring in Britain (which killed Eddie Cochran) pushed him down even lower and he combined drink with pain killers until his death in '71.

Vincent's first and greatest hit Be-Bop-A-Lula however was originally the B-side of his first single (and even not on his debut album).

The A-side was the terrific and indecipherable Woman Love (banned by some US radio stations because they presumed it to be filthy) and it was that song which Dury picked for that radio programme.

The sign of the true fan is that they know B-sides . . . and in this instance the A-side of the song which became the hit.

Ian Dury was a true Gene Vincent fan. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Hank Williams Jr: Don't Give Us a Reason (1990)

Hank Williams Jr: Don't Give Us a Reason (1990)

War is good for business (if you are part of the military-industrial complex), but also a fine time for stay-at-home patriots to get bellicose . . . among them songwriters who can reduce heroism to... > Read more

Lenny and Squiggy: Foreign Legion of Love (1979)

Lenny and Squiggy: Foreign Legion of Love (1979)

You don't dig into From the Vaults looking for good taste or class, but you do find oddities like this which resonates on many levels throughout rock culture. Lenny and Squiggy were the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: Sunday morning, coming down

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: Sunday morning, coming down

The sky is a perfect and pale comic-book blue, the breeze as warm as a whisper. Palm trees line the white sandy beach, the very image of a Pacific cliché. In the downtown streets before the shops... > Read more

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Afghanistan (RG/Southbound)

Although it would take an expert in this field to say whether this 15 track collection (with a bonus disc of mesmerising music by Ahmad Sham's qawwali group) is a fair overview, you can't help but... > Read more