Over Gene Vincent
Any real fan of 1950s rock 'n' roll recognizes the brilliance of Gene Vincent, also noting how horribly underrated and overlooked he is. Capitol Records signed Vincent in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Elvis Presley as the king of rock 'n' roll. Compared to Vincent, Presley was like Wonder Bread -- an easy sell across race and class boundaries. With his pock-marked face, greasy hair, lanky stance, and limping walk -- not to mention his haunting, trembling voice -- it's a wonder Vincent made it as far as he did. However, his strident Rockabilly songs with his backing band the Blue Caps have always stood out. Shaped by Cliff Gallup's remarkably brisk guitar work, a wobbly echoing bass, and snappy snare action, the Blue Caps' songs could send listeners into a frenzy just as easily as they could sedate them into a close slow dance. Vincent's music stands well on its own, without overused Presley comparisons. He still doesn't receive as much credit as he's due, but his impact has left an undeniable impression on rock 'n' roll.