Sweet Gene Vincent - Lyrics


Ian Dury spent six weeks researching his lyric and read two biographies of Gene Vincent before finishing it and handing it to the song's co-writer, Chas Jankel. Had it been kept in its original draft, Jankel jokes, it would have taken 15 minutes to sing.

Dury’s research and knowledge allowed a large percentage of the lyric, which tells the rough life-story of Vincent, to be made up of references and/or extracts from Vincent’s songs. For instance the Song’s opening line Blue Gene Baby is a faithful re-creation of the first line of Blue Jean Bop and the line Who, who, who slapped John? shouted as the song speeds up to its full tempo is directly lifted from Who Slapped John. Another line 'and you lay that pistol down' is a bastardisation of a lyric from Pistol Packin' Momma used to reference Vincent's partiality for waving guns around in-studio (an act that once scared The Beatles). Be-Bop-A-Lula is also referenced at least once, as one character in the song 'Uncanny Annie' is 'the one with the flying feet', 'she's the one with the flying feet' being a line in Be-Bop-A-Lula.

Referencing Dury's interest in Vincent's look, the song contains two sections solely focussing on Vincent's typical black and white dress. Dury would constantly forget the second set Black gloves, white frost, black crepe, white lead, white sheet, black knight, jet black, dead white when singing Sweet Gene Vincent live and replace them often with totally different lyrics.

Suggs, the lead singer of Madness and a fan of Dury, included several references to the lyrics of "Sweet Gene Vincent" in his tribute song to Ian Dury, "Oranges and Lemons", which he recorded with Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra for the Small World, Big Band Volume 1 album. Suggs also quoted the song's lyrics his introduction for re-runs of On My Life a documentary about Ian Dury.

Read more about this topic:  Sweet Gene Vincent

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