"Sweet Gene Vincent" as written by and Ian Robins/jankel Dury....
Blue gene baby
Skinny white sailor, the chances were slender
The beauties were brief
Shall I mourn you decline with some Thunderbird wine
And a black handkerchief?
I miss your sad Virginia whisper
I miss the voice that called my heart

Sweet gene Vincent
Young and old and gone
Sweet gene Vincent

Who, who, who slapped john?
White face, black shirt
White socks, black shoes
Black hair, white star
Bled white, died black

Sweet gene Vincent
Let the blue roll tonight
At the sock hop ball in the union hall
Where the bop is there delight

Here come duck-tailed Danny dragging Uncanny Annie
She's tehone with the flying feet
You can break the peace daddy sickle grease
The beat is reet complete
And you jump back honey in the dungarees
Tight sweater and a pony tail
Will you guess her age when she comes back stage?
The hoodlums bite their nails

Black gloves, white frost
Black crepe, white lead
White sheet, black knight
Jet black, dead white

Sweet gene Vincent
There's one in every town
And the devil drives 'till the hearse arrives
And you lay that pistol down

Sweet gene Vincent
There's nowhere left to hide
With lazy skin and ash-tray eyes
A perforated pride

So farewell mademoiselle, knicker-bocker hotel
Farewell to money owed
But when your leg still hurts and you need more shirts
You got to get back on the road

Lyrics submitted by twotonepoet

"Sweet Gene Vincent [Live]" as written by Ian Robins Dury Charles Jeremy Jankel

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Sweet Gene Vincent song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentGene Vincent was from Norfolk, Virginia and enlisted in the US Navy - hence the reference to the "Skinny White Sailor" with the "Virginia whisper".

    "Who slapped John" was Dury's favourite Gene Vincent song.
    Massapequaon November 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've never heard that Who Slapped John was Dury's favourite, he chose another for Desert Island Discs for instance.

    The song is about rock ‘n’ roll tragedy Gene Vincent, Vincent suffered a motorbike accident that left his left leg in callipers (very similar to Dury’s) and caused him sufficient pain, while in hospital he bought his hit Be Bop A-Lula off another patient. After being in the same car-crash that killed Eddie Cochran his leg became worse and became addicted to alcohol and pain killers before eventually dying of an ulcer in his mothers arms, his last words were ‘you can call the ambulance now momma’

    He's what i have

    Blue Gene Baby – this is the first line of Blue Jean Bob, sung almost identically to how it is in the original
    Skinny white sailor – Gene Vincent used to be in the Navy
    Who, who, who slapped john? – reference to the song ‘Who Slapped John’ the B-side of Blue Jean Bop.
    Let the Blue Caps roll tonight – The Blue Caps were Gene Vincent’s backing band ala The Crickets.
    She’s the one with the flying feet – a line lifted wholesale from Be Bop A Lula
    and you jump back honey in the dungarees, tight sweater and a pony tail – references to two more Gene Vincent songs ‘Jump Back Honey Jump Back’ and ‘Red Blue Jeans and a Pony Tail’

    and the devil drives ‘till the hearse arrives - I’m pretty sure this is a reference to Vincent’s song ‘Race with the Devil’
    and you lay that pistol down – if you haven’t heard Gene Vincent sing Pistol Packin’ Momma your worthless life isn’t complete, anyway it’s from that song.
    More to come

    This is pretty much all my own research and unverified for the most part, but i think it's all correct or near enough, some lines have double meanings related to Vincent's life.

    dwitefryon October 28, 2008   Link

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