#993: Bluejean Bop by Gene Vincent
Vincent Eugene Craddock was born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1935. He later took the stage name Gene Vincent and is best known for the rockabilly hit from 1956 titled “Be-Bop-A-Lula.” From a young age he was interested in classical music as well as country and rhythm and blues. He received his first guitar at the age of twelve as a gift from a friend. Norfolk, Virginia, was the home of a large naval base and Vincent’s parents opened a general store and sailors’ tailoring shop. Vincent Eugene Craddock dropped out of school at 17 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1952. His completed a Korean War deployment though he never saw combat. Craddock planned a career in the Navy. However, in 1955, he used his $612 re-enlistment bonus to buy a new Triumph motorcycle. In July 1955 his left leg was shattered in a motorcycle crash in Norfolk. In hospital, his leg was saved. But the injury left him with a limp and chronic pain. He wasn’t suitable for the U.S. Navy anymore. He wore a steel sheath around the leg from then onward. The female driver in a Chrysler who who ran a red light and struck him was drunk. Craddock changed his name to Gene Vincent, with his first name, Vincent, as his surname and his shortened middle name, Eugene, as his first name.