“Gene Vincent – Be-Bop-A-Lula” In early 1956, Gene Vincent performed the song on a radio show in Norfolk, Virginia, and recorded a demo version which was passed to Capitol Records, who were looking for a young singer to rival Elvis Presley. Capitol invited Vincent to record the song and it was recorded at Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee on May 4, 1956. Cliff Gallup (lead guitar), “Wee” Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), “Jumpin'” Jack Neal (string bass), and Dickie “Be Bop” Harrell (drums) comprised the band. When the song was being recorded, Harrell screamed twice in the background, he said because he wanted to be sure his family could hear it was him on the record.
The song was released in June 1956 on Capitol Records’ single F3450, and immediately sold well. The song was successful on three American singles charts: it peaked at No. 7 on the US Billboard pop music chart, No. 8 on the R&B chart, and also made the top ten on the C&W Best Seller chart peaking at No. 5. In the UK, it peaked at No. 16 in August 1956. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date.
Vincent recorded a new version of the song in 1962 which appeared on the flip-side of the single “The King of Fools”.
B-side “Woman Love”
Released June 1956
Songwriter(s) Gene Vincent, Donald Graves, Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis