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Vince Taylor

Vince Taylor will most likely be remembered for being the model for David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character, his 1958 B-Side "Brand New Cadillac" (later covered famously by the Clash), and for his erratic on-stage and off-stage behavior as much as for his actual musical contributions to rock & roll, but as Bowie undoubtedly realized, if Taylor hadn't existed, he would have had to have been invented, which, in fact, he was. Born Brian Maurice Holden on July 14, 1939 in Isleworth, Middlesex, England, Taylor's family moved to New Jersey when he was seven years old. Around 1955, after Taylor's sister married future Hanna/Barbera cartoon mogel Joe Barbera, the family moved again, this time to California where Taylor ended up attending Hollywood High School. At 18 he fell in love with the high-energy music of Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent and tried his hand at singing, doing several local amateur gigs. Accompanying his brother-in-law Barbera to London on a business trip, Taylor checked out the rock & roll scene there, meeting drummer Tony Meehan and bassist Tex Makins at a coffee bar where Tommy Steele was playing. In a scene straight out of a bio pic, the three agreed to form the Playboys, and Taylor, realizing that Brian Holden wasn't the ideal stage name, plucked the name Vince from the side of a Pall Mall cigarette pack and officially became Vince Taylor, rebel rocker. That initial version of the Playboys didn't last long, though (none of Taylor's various incarnations of the band lasted very long, due in no small part to his often difficult and diffident manner, not to mention his drug use, and he was actually fired from the band on at least one occasion), but a revamped and expanded lineup recorded "I Like Love" and "Right Behind You Baby" for Parlophone Records in 1958, following that single with another, "Pledgin' My Love" b/w "Brand New Cadillac," later that same year. Neither single performed as expected, and Parlophone let the band go. Taylor and the Playboys moved to Palette Records and released "I'll Be Your Hero" b/w "Jet Black Machine" for the new label in 1960. Following a pair of striking performances in Paris, with Taylor dressed in his now-trademark black leather stage gear, Eddie Barclay of Barclay Records signed Taylor to a six-year recording deal. Taylor became a major player on the French rock & roll scene, looking the part of a rebel rocker maybe even more than he performed at it. This version of Taylor and the Playboys recorded five EPs and an LP for the Barclay label and topped bills as they toured the country. The off-stage chemistry in the band was nearly always askew, though, and by 1963 Taylor was essentially performing with whatever pickup band was at hand, always calling them the Playboys. A new single, "Memphis Tennessee" b/w "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues," appeared from the Barclay imprint early in 1964. Then things started to tumble into chaos as Taylor, his mind all but blown by acid, speed, and alcohol, became increasingly erratic both on-stage and off, even at one point declaring he was the biblical prophet Matthew -- all in front of a large audience at an important gig in London. It was to be the closest to the sun Taylor would ever get as a rock & roll star (although by proxy, as the model for Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, he enjoyed a sort of revival a decade or so later), and he became yet another erratic casualty of the 1960s drug scene, occasionally rising out of his confusion to give a good performance, but more often he was bafflingly incoherent and erratic on-stage. Taylor next, maybe not surprisingly, joined a religious movement, which hardly helped his rock & roll credentials. Still, he was much revered in Europe, and Eddie Barclay allowed Taylor to record intermittedly for his label and a few scatter-shot tours and shows were mounted in the '70s and '80s, but Taylor's career, at least as an effective cultural and creative force, never really survived the '60s. He spent his last years in Switzerland working as an airplane mechanic (he had gotten his pilot's license way back in high school in California) and he reportedly said that they were the happiest years of his life. He died on August 28, 1991. ~ Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Rockin' Bones: 1950's Punk & Rockabilly

Disc 1

1. Rockin' Bones

2. Let's Go Baby

3. Baby Let's Play House

4. Little Girl

5. Cat Man

6. Lobo Jones

7. Juvenile Delinquent

8. Froggy Went A Courting

9. Rattlesnake Daddy

10. Down On The Farm

11. Rockin' In The Graveyard

12. Dancing Doll

13. Long Blond Hair, Red Rose Lips

14. Action Packed

15. Boppin' High School Baby

16. Believe What You Say

17. Sunglasses After Dark

18. Rumble

19. Down The Line

20. Pink Cadillac

21. Black Cadillac

22. Who's Been Here

23. I Need A Man

24. Please Give Me Something

25. Sinners

Disc 2

1. Rock Around With Ollie Vee

2. Lou Lou

3. Rock Crazy Baby

4. Love Bug Crawl

5. Fool I Am

6. Red Hot

7. Love Me

8. She's My Witch

9. Lordy Hoody

10. Bloodshot

11. Trouble

12. Hot Shot

13. Long Gone Daddy

14. Curfew

15. Put Your Cat Clothes On

16. Pink And Black

17. Domino

18. Jungle Rock

19. Ubangi Stomp

20. Chicken Walk

21. Chicken Rock

22. Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe

23. Shirley Lee

24. Woman Love

25. One Night Of Sin

Disc 3

1. Blue Suede Shoes

2. Duck Tail

3. Stack-A-Records

4. Daddy-O Rock

5. Move

6. Brand New Cadillac

7. Rumble Rock

8. Hep Cat

9. Cast Iron Arm

10. Switch Blade Sam

11. Ballin' Keen

12. Sweet Rockin' Baby

13. Get Rhythm

14. Rock Billy Boogie

15. Crazy Baby

16. Susie-Q

17. Worried 'bout You Baby

18. I Love My Baby

19. Come On Little Mama

20. Whistle Bait

21. Spin The Bottle

22. Bertha Lou

23. Real Gone Daddy

24. My Pink Cadillac

25. Draggin'

Disc 4

1. Action Packed

3. Who Do You Love

4. Summertime Blues

5. The Way I Walk

6. Wild Wild Women

8. Get Hot Or Go Home

9. Swamp Gal

10. Miss Pearl

11. Mercy

12. Rock Boppin' Baby

13. Rockin' Daddy

14. Rock It

16. Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll

17. Shake Um Up Rock

18. Red Hot Rockin Blues

19. Bang Bang

20. One Hand Loose

21. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

22. Fujiyama Mama

23. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket

24. Oh Love

25. School Of Rock 'n Roll

26. Rock-N-Bones

Comments

Report as inappropriate
michael19446 8
Vince is entertaining
Report as inappropriate
sounds like the blue caps
Report as inappropriate
milosdad
Original punk.

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