On January 12, 1998, Gene Vincent (Vincent Eugene Craddock) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Would he really want to be here, though? Nothing came easy to Gene in his life; this was no exception. The people he was closest to were turned away by the Hall of Fame - unable to share his induction. The band members who shared fame with Gene were turned away at the door - with not even an honorable mention.

Ignored by the nominating committee for years, Gene was finally nominated to be in the Hall of Fame, following years of lobbying by loyal fans, fellow artists, and family members alike. But, as usual, this did not come easy for him.

In his music, Gene paid tribute to fans. If Gene was the showman, it was because it was what his fans wanted to see. Gene said to family members, on more than one occasion, that he wouldn't be where he was if it wasn't for his fans.

And something the Hall of Fame forgot was to remember his fans. There were a lot of fans that would have wanted to see Gene receive this honor; they will be able to - courtesy of VH-1 (thank you to VH-1).

Famed for his hit "Be Bop a Lula," in 1956, Gene Vincent continued on to become a pioneer to rockers who followed. Such songs as Lotta Lovin', Woman Love, Blue Jean Bop, inspire to this day aspiring performers.

At a black tie event at the Waldorf Astoria, in New York City, attended by such stars as Richard Gere and Danny DeVito, joining other legends such as Santana, Mamas & Papas, Fleetwood Mac, and The Eagles, Gene was inducted by John Fogerty, who approached the mike, and paid tribute by breaking into 'Lula - a cappella.

Commented Fogerty, "I do believe that this record ('Lula) is probably one of the greatest records ever made. That voice, man, Gene Vincent! Anyway, the sound of Cliff Gallop's guitar, the drummer screamin' in the background - I think it's what we call attitude. And I sure learned that from Be Bop a Lula."

Jonny Lang is a blues guitarist who toured with Aerosmith last year and is in the new Blues Brothers movie.

Jeff Beck paid tribute this great artist by performing Be Bop a Lula, with Jonny Lang on vocals.

Would Gene Vincent have been impressed by this honor? His sisters think so. Says his sister Tina, "He would have been happy that he was finally inducted, but it wouldn't have hurt him if he wasn't. He was used to being ignored."

Says his sister Evelyn, "We're all very proud of Gene. This should have happened a long time ago. Of course, our family always knew that was where he belonged."

Says his sister Donna, "I am so proud to see my big brother receive the recognition he deserves. Now, if the hall of Fame could just get his name right, I would be even happier!" (Ed. - The Rock & Roll HOF has Gene's name down as Vincent Gene Craddock.)

Accepting in Gene's place was Melody Jean Craddock. Melody didn't have a lot to say; however, she did say that she and her brother, Gene Jr., were both very proud - a sentiment echoed by the rest of the family, who were down in the lobby of the hotel.

All in all, it was a special evening, a special award for a special person. If you're up there, Uncle Gene, looking down, I hope that all of the pain is gone, and that you're happy with this recognition. God bless you.

-Brandi Stollak,
reporter for the Official Gene Vincent and Rockabilly Hall of Fame websites.