IAN DURY & the BLOCKHEADS – “Sweet Gene Vincent” / “You’re More Than Fair” (Stiff BUY 23) November 1977

Ian Dury’s “Sweet Gene Vincent” is a song and single by Ian Dury. Taken from his first solo album New Boots and Panties!! it was his second solo single and third solo release and is a tribute to Rock ‘n’ Roll singer Gene Vincent. It was released November 1977 on the single BUY 23 Sweet Gene Vincent / You’re More Than Fair and there was no picture sleeve released.

“Sweet Gene Vincent” remained in Ian Dury’s set list for almost his entire career, even after other faster paced songs like “Plaistow Patricia” and “Blackmail Man” had been dropped because of the singer’s worsening health and was played at his final concert at the London Palladium in February 2000. As of 2007, the Blockheads continue to use the song in their sets.

Ian Dury was a fan of Gene Vincent since his early to mid teens and claims to have bought every single Vincent produced. In an interview reprinted in Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll: The Life of Ian Dury, Dury says that he first heard of Vincent via “Be-Bop-A-Lula”‘s inclusion in film The Girl Can’t Help It and admitted to being reduced to tears by the single as an adolescent.

For his whole career Dury would talk very sentimentally, sometimes poetically about Gene Vincent.

Gene Vincent’s death

It was Vincent’s death in 1971 that was a major prompt for Dury to make Kilburn and the High Roads a serious endeavour and his stage clothes of the time often reflected Vincent’s influence, notably black leather gloves. He also name checked the singer in one of his earliest original songs “Upminster Kid”, albeit under the singer’s ‘full’ name Gene Vincent Craddock.

Curiously Dury constantly denied that identification with the singer, also crippled and forced to wear a leg brace, was in any way an attraction. He apparently hadn’t even known Vincent was crippled when he first became a fan. What drew Dury’s attention to the singer was his voice and his look.

Dury chose Vincent’s first single, “Woman Love” as one of his 8 songs when he appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs show. (Wiki)

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