Be Bop-A-Lula, a rebel song to compete against Elvis Presley
Recorded in Nashville on May 4, 1956, 'Be Bop-A-Lula' by Gene Vincent is a classic rock 'n roll song.
Vincent was signed by Capitol Records, who were desperately looking for a young singer with a rebel image to rival Elvis Presley.
"Be-Bop-a-Lula" was released as the B-side of Vincent's first single, a provocative number called "Woman Love".
Radio stations didn’t want to get "Woman Love" on the radio and when the BBC banned it, Capitol flipped the sides and put out "Be-Bop-a-Lula" as the A-side; for some reason this change worked.
In 1956 the song went on to be a US & UK Top 20 hit, this debut single sold 200,000 copies in the first month it was released and the song helped Vincent gain a large cult following and obtain the rebel image.
Behind the origin of this song there are several stories.
The writing of the song is credited to Gene Vincent and his manager, Bill "Sheriff Tex" Davis.
Vincent and his record company circulated the story that he wrote the song when he was recuperating from a motorcycle accident at the US Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. He came up with the tune because of inspired by the newspaper cartoon strip Little Lulu.
This story was disputed by Dickie Harrell, who was the drummer with the band The Blue Caps.
According to Harrell, Vincent and his first manager Bill "Sheriff Tex" Davis, bought the song for $25 bucks from Donald Graves, a guy recovered in the hospital as well.