Who was… Vince Taylor

Posted by Dee-Ann On November - 25 - 20103,798 views

Vince Taylor

According to David Bowie, Vince Taylor was the main inspiration for Bowie’s character Ziggy Stardust. 

The band Golden Earring referred to Taylor in their 1976 live performances, and their recording, Live, with the song “Just Like Vince Taylor”.

A lot of rockabillies already know a lot about our original heroes. But for the newcomers, I’m starting this new series: a quickstart guide to who inspired us. No endless history lessons, but quick need to knows, how they sound and look like.
Part one starts with… Vince Taylor.

Vince Taylor was a British singer. Born July, 14th 1939.

Early ages:
When he was seven years old, he and his family emigrated from Isleworth, Middlesex, to America. Around 1955, his sister, Sheila, married Joe Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera, who became his manager for a little while.

Early carreer:
Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley inspired him to sing at age 18. He met drummer Tony Meehan (later of The Shadows) in London and bass player Tex Makins. They formed a band called The Playboys.
On the package of Pall Mall cigarettes it said: ‘In hoc signo vinces’, so his stage name Vince Taylor was invented.

His first singles “I Like Love” and “Right Behind You Baby”, were released in 1958, followed several months later by “Pledgin’ My Love” b/w “Brand New Cadillac”. “Brand New Cadillac” has been covered by many other artists, such as The Clash on their 1979 album, London Calling.

Although he was a burning sensation on stage, he had a strong and unpredictable personality, which caused some problems within the band. So The Playboys fired Taylor and changed their name to ‘The Bobbie Clarke Noise’.
Unfortunately a combination of drugs and alcohol, made him more unpredictable even on stage. At one point Taylor declared he was the biblical apostle Matthew in front of a large audience at an important concert in London. And then in France which caused him to be booed off the stage.
Taylor quit music and joined a religious movement.

During his last years, Taylor lived in Switzerland and worked as an airplane mechanic. He said it was the happiest time of his life.

Taylor died in August 1991, from cancer, at the age of 52. He was buried in Lausanne, Switzerland.

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