Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reaching Way, Way back...!

Most of you youngsters won't remember this song, but way back in my wild and wooly childhood it was heard just about everywhere!

Even if you don't remember it, you might ask your parents if they do. You might just be surprised! It was one of those songs that didn't get to the number 1 spot, but could be heard everywhere all the same! Very popular song, back in the old days!

May 4, 1956:
Gene Vincent records "Be-Bop-A-Lula"

When a music critic wants to indicate that a song lacks lyrical sophistication, he or she will often refer to its lyrics as being of the "moon in June" sort. It's a label left over from the Tin Pan Alley era, when even great composers like Irving Berlin churned out a hundred uninspired Moon/June tunes for every highly original classic like "Blues Skies" or "Puttin' On The Ritz." If rock and roll has an equivalent in the area of clichéd lyrics, it is probably "Baby" and "Maybe"—a rhyming pair made most famous in the smoldering early-rock classic "Be-Bop-A-Lula," which was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, by the rockabilly legend Gene Vincent on this day in 1956.

The story of how the decidedly un-complex lyrics of "Be-Bop-A-Lula" got written is shrouded in a certain amount of controversy. Officially, Gene Vincent's business manager, Bill "Sheriff Tex" Davis, is credited as the co-writer, but Sheriff Tex, a savvy 40-year-old from Connecticut, seems an unlikely source of such naïve gem. The story that has the greater ring of truth credits a young man named 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, reportedly for just $25.

It wasn't the obvious brilliance of "Be-Bop-A-Lula," but rather the uncanny resemblance between Gene Vincent's voice and Elvis Presley's that explains the speed with which Capitol snapped Vincent up and got him into the studio. In fact, when Vincent and his Blue Caps recorded "Be-Bop-A-Lula" on May 4, 1956, it was as a "B" side to a now largely forgotten tune called "Woman Love." As soon as disk jockeys began "flipping" Vincent's debut single, however, "Be-Bop-A-Lula" became a smash, rising to #7 on the pop charts and selling more than 2 million copies in its first year of release.

Man, I should have never started on this way back thing! Now I feel older than ever! Guess I should stop taking trips down memory lane! Either that, or make the trips shorter!

Let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. I'll crank up the stereo another notch!


Sixbears said...

Not to make you feel any older, that came out two years before I was born -and my beard is pretty gray.

However, I do remember it. Who can forget such a catchy tune once they hear it?

Ben in Texas said...

Good Grief!!! Now I feel old!!!
Sadly I remember that song and the neighbor who taught me how to do the BE-BOP!!! Up till then all I knew was ole country songs and the country waltz.

Sissy said...

Best descriptive expression I've ever heard: "my wild and wooly childhood"
I absolutely LOVE it! Hermit, you are so good with words and thoughts.

Now to read the rest of this post of yours.

JoJo said...

Well I remeber it I was still very young. But sister is 5 years older than I am so I remember it. My parents hated it. LOL. But it sure sticks with you doesn't it.
Pass the pot please the weather is getting better its 51 right now not bad at all.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
Thanks for the reminder of just how old I'm getting! I knew you were just a youngster!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
Just think of the fact you neighbor taught you another way to meet the young ladies!

Not that you needed it, right?

Thanks, my friend, for the visit this morning!

Hey Sissy...
You like that saying, huh? Heck, I got a lot of them!

If I can make you smile a bit, then I feel happy!

Thanks, girl, for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
I think all parents dislike the music their kids listen to! Just part of the "growing up" thing, I reckon!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping in today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Oh yea, I remember that song. It came out the year I became a teenager. Now, do you still feel old?

I love all the 50's songs.