Vince Gordon is born
Famed music and song writer Vince Gordon (baptized. Lasse Rosdahl Larsen) was born June 1st at Skanderborg Hospital in Denmark. As the youngest of three, he had two older sisters, Helle and Lotte.
Vince Gordon grew up in Hørning, a small Danish town close to the business and university city of Aarhus. Being a creative and inventive child, he drew cartoons and took apart and reassembled radios and other smaller machines. Vince draw this drawing when he was only 9 years old.
Vince Gordon attended a school called Bakkeskolen in Hørning, where he was known as a likeable kid who often helped others with their homework. As a child, Vince was an incredibly sensitive boy. His childhood and youth were overshadowed by much tribulation which would influence him the rest of his life.
Vince’s Near-Death Experience – A Life Lesson
Only 11 years old Vince is seconds away from death, when he is shocked by electricity through his hands and heart. Later, he writes the song, “5 More Minutes”, about tough experiences that have forced him to fight his way up only to be hit by yet another setback.
It’s autobiographical. All my life I’ve been surprised by the amount of shit I had to go through. Every time I thought things finally were going to be all right. “Bang” the next thing happened. No time to think about it – just deal with it and so I needed to take a deep breath to cope, but I was always fast at pulling myself together – about 5 minutes.
– VINCE GORDON
Vince a Self-Taught Pianist
At the age of 12, using an abandoned white piano found in his childhood home, Vince teaches himself how to play and is soon able to play “Great Balls of Fire”on it. Later Vince experiences a Jerry Lee Lewis concert in Copenhagen.
Vince a Self-Taught Guitarist
15 years old, Vince Gordon teaches himself to play his mother’s acoustic guitar. Then he buys himself a Gretsch and a Fender guitar. It is during this period that Vince Gordon starts to compose and write songs.
Vince Gordon Writes Music History
At merely 17 years of age, Vince creates Danish music history when he forms the first Danish rockabilly band, The Jime. Having seen the Stray Cats on TV in London, he decides during a math class in high school to form his own rockabilly band.
I got an uncontrollable urge to play rockabilly after hearing The Stray Cats. I also got an uncontrollable urge to leave High School (!).
– VINCE GORDON
The Jime is Formed
After 10 minutes of brainstorming, he comes up with a name for his band: “The Jime”. It had to stand out from other rockabilly bands which were all called something with “Cats”.
I just made up the name and couldn’t find it in the dictionary so I didn’t think it meant anything. As it later turned out it means “Strangulation” (!) in Judo and “Jazz Improvisation Made Easy”. It’s also a Japanese way of killing a fish with a speer through it’s brain!…makes extra fine Sushi!!!
– VINCE GORDON
Vince starts looking for musicians for his band. His child friend, Rudi, becomes the band’s first drummer. In an ad in the Danish MM Music Magazine, Vince Gordon announces his search for a bass guitarist to play slapbase in his newly formed rockabilly band. Vince gets a little room in the basement, where he can practice. He calls it “Graceland”.
I can hardly describe how unusual and offbeat the idea of a Danish rockabilly band was at the time. I talked briefly with Lasse (Vince) on the phone, and while he admitted that he was inexperienced, he had ambitions. I went out to visit him in Hørning, where he had a little room in his parents’ house, with an Vox ac30 amp, a standup piano and a three vintage Gretsch Guitars. Vince called the room “Graceland”, an example of his dry Danish humor. Lasse (Vince) looked the part with a slicked back 50’s-style hairdo and a Hawaiian shirt. He was not the accomplished guitarist that he later became, but he had already written some rockabilly songs of his own, plus a number of novelty songs, which showed the Monty Python inspired humor that we both shared. His energy and determination in constantly upgrading his skills as a songwriter and lead guitarist was a force of nature. Though I already had been playing gigs as a lead guitarist in a dance band, I had a feeling that this was something original and unusual that I wanted to be part of, so I chose to play the electric bass behind Lasse in the first two versions of The Jime”. A standup bass player who knew, and was interested in playing the slap bass style, was still years away in Denmark. Vince’s goal was, from the start, to make an album of original rockabilly material that would inspire others in the same way the Stray Cats’ first albums inspired him. A goal he would reach years later.
– HENRIK POULSEN, Guitarist
The Career as a Rockabilly Guitarist is Full on
A year before graduating high school, Vince opts to leave school to pursue a career as a musician. This happens despite him excelling in physics. He and his second set of band members quickly obtain various gigs, and in 1984 the band plays at the prestigious high school called Viborg Katedralskole. This was the band’s first paid job. Vince with his The Jime band debuts on one of the most popular Danish TV stations, ATV in Aarhus, performing one of his own songs. His career as a rockabilly guitarist, composer and songwriter has been launched.
The Ballad “Bed of Roses”
Vince was heartbroken from his first love. He writes the song “Bed of Roses” for Elizabeth, but never publishes it. The song remained one of Vince’s favorites.
Rockabilly Revival – Denmark’s First Rockabilly Record
Vince Gordon with yet another set of The Jime bandmembers publishes with Sun Studios the record Rockabilly Revival. Again, Vince Gordon makes Danish music history, as his album was the first Danish Rockabilly Record published in Denmark.
The lead song is called “Cool Cat” and was written by Vince in 1984 at the age of 19. He performed it on Danish TV on the program “Rock som vor mor lavede det” (“Rock like our mom made it”).
Warner/Chapell – An Opt Out
Vince is about to sign a record label contract with Warner/Chapell, but opts out last minute as he refuses to give up his artistic integrity. Vince Gordon was inspiring musisians all over the world. He is one day asked to give an advice to a fans 15 years old daughter who would like to play rockabilly. Vince writes back:
My best advice to your daughter would be to stay as clear of the “Industry” as possible and focus on enjoying the music. “Don’t quit your daytime job” is not the worst advice to a talented musician. That way you’re hard to put pressure on. I turned down quite a few “opportunities” in my time and never regretted a single one of them. Especially after seeing what it has done to my colleagues to “go for it!”. Luckily these days there’re many alternative ways of reaching an audience. I would recommend that.
– VINCE GORDON
A new home
Vince buys a house in the village of Sattrup outside of the Danish town called Horsens. Here he can practice without disturbing any neighbors. Being a skilled craftsman, Vince restores the house himself, builds a professional recording studio and acquires his first mixer. He starts to produce his own music and it is from here that he will produce and record most of The Jime music.
A Cornucopia of Songs
Stine Poulsen, the girlfriend of Vince Gordon, moves in.
The Vince Gordon Sound
It is during a concert this year that Vince experiences an attack of stage fright. He manages against all odds to finish the concert. For a while he is unable to perform and rejects many requests for concert tours from around the world. Instead, this becomes a time in his life, when he focuses entirely on writing, composing, and recording songs and on working on his special approach to the rockabilly genre that is later to become The Vince Gordon Rockabilly Sound.
Vince was a cornucopia of songs. There was always a new song or tune from him. He could hardly pick up the guitar, without producing a new song, even when he was supposed to finish another one! He had so much music in him and so much to offer. The songs came from within, from his experiences, thoughts, and being. He had a very rich inner life. The inspiration came from deep within him. In fact, we didn’t really listen to much music from other artists. Vince wrote a lot of very good numbers, and every song just had something in the tune – some notes that just hit you. He could always hit a tone, a riff that just hit something inside of you and lingered there. Vince experimented with the tunes till he found the sound he was looking for. He was a perfectionist and could sit for over an hour listening to a certain tone. He mastered many instruments, and would teach himself new ones as needed.
– STINE POULSEN
Danish Royal Academy of Music
Vince gets accepted into Musikkonservatoriet, the Danish Royal Academy of Music. When it turns out that too many students have been accepted, he willingly gives up his spot to help others keep theirs. He knows that he stands a better chance of making it by himself than many of the other young kids.
In Your Dreams
At the end of the year Stine and Vince part ways. He writes her the song “In Your Dreams” and delivers the recording to her in person.
In Your Dreams – Vince Gordon
|We had our (F) times We said goodbye But it’s (Bb) not as bad as it (F) seams Good luck (Bb) darling And may god (C) bless you In your dreams (F/Bb/F/C7)Well I wonder ‘What life will bring you And will you be Be allright Good luck darling And may god bless you In your dreamsWhen I met you I was down And then you came And turned it around Good luck darling And may god bless you In your dreams||Well I guess I song so many songs But this is the last I’ll sing for you Hey, hey, hey Don’t you cry now Like you always doWell it’s strange We used to be so close What ever happend Heaven knows Good luck darling And may god bless you In your dreamsGood luck darling And may god bless you And may he bless Your children too Hey, hey, hey It’s okay That it’s done|
Vince’s Mother Dies – Mean Side of Town is released
Vince’s mother, Bente, dies of cancer at the age of only 58. She had always been a major supporter of his music career, and throughout her illness he was there to support her, often sitting by her bedside into the evening till she had fallen asleep. Vince wants his mother to hear his latest CD “Mean Side of Town”, before she dies. When he is not at the hospital, he is working far into the night finishing the CD. She listens to it on her deathbed.
Around the World
Vince is heartbroken by the death of his mother. He wants to write a song in her memory. It becomes the song “Around the World” from the CD New Set of Rules. “Around the World” is, moreover, one of the many The Jime releases, on which Vince besides singing the vocal, also plays all the instruments himself.
I wrote the song on the 29thof July 1999 in the evening. My mother died that day in the morning. It strikes me as being strange to write something as joyful a day like that, but then again, the song is very basic feelings. I recorded it later and mixed it on the 29thof July, 2000.
– VINCE GORDON
I had a borrowed double-bass in my house and my mother was visiting. She’s always been a great fan of bass playing, and she wanted me to show her something to play, so I taught her the bass line for “Fever” (Elvis) and the next day I remembered that I once wrote a song with a similar groove so I picked up the bass and turned on the tape machine and made the arrangement up as I went along. I had so much fun playing bass and percussion on that song… I improvised a guitar solo, while I was thinking of what to play when I would do the “real” solo, but then I played the track back, and realized that I had already said what I wanted to say. Everything on the recording is first or second take
– VINCE GORDON
Mean Side of Town
Vince Gordon releases “Mean Side of Town” on SMP. He also signs a contract with New York based Skully Records to write a song for their international rockabilly compilation series. Nervous Records, England contacts Vince Gordon to release “Mean Side of Town” in England.
Stunningly brilliant Neo-Rockabilly, somewhere between The Stray Cats and The Blue Cats. The production is just superb, with a great “big” sound, and the guitar playing is wonderful
– NERVOUS RECORDS
Mean Side of Town clearly reveals The Vince Gordon Style. A sound that he has been working to achieve since the album Rockabilly Revival. Vince Gordon is offered 8 different record deals from the USA, England, Germany and Denmark.
Vince Gordon tours with a new set of The Jime musicians hired for this occasion. He and his musicians are on tours, festivals, radio, and TV to promote the album “Mean Side of Town”. Vince and The Jime play in Scandinavia, Spain, Holland and a number of other countries. In Amsterdam, Holland, they even perform on D-Day, as well as on a TV show. Meanwhile, he is still working on new songs and on refining his unique guitar play.
It’s Still Rock’n Roll to Me
Vince Gordon has finished a new album “It’s Still Rock’n Roll to Me”. He has composed all songs on the album except for the title song. Nervous Records releases the album in England. It quickly becomes the bestselling foreign rockabilly album for a period of six months. The critics lavish their praise on the album and especially on Vince Gordon’s unique guitar play.
Vince pulls out some leads that would even make old Setzer himself a little green with envy.
– PLANET ROCKABILLY, USA
6 Hour Show in Finland
Vince Gordon and his band The Jime ends its 2002 tour in Paradise Garden in Salo, Finland. The Jime is the headline band. The excited audience cannot have enough of the music and Vince and his band are called back on stage again and again. The concert ends up lasting six hours!
Tribute to Waylon Jennings
I bought a CD with Waylon Jennings on the day he died not knowing he had died. It was a strange coincidence. I listened to his version of “Don’t Think Twice – I’ts Alright” about 50 times in a row and because it made such an impression on me I decided to put a link to him on our website. I looked for his homepage through a search engine and THEN I found out he just died. It was late in the evening but I called Kris and two other friends. We went to almost every bar in town telling the bartenders we’d all be buying Jack Daniels if they’d put the CD on. All of them did. Man, Waylon was different. I just had to do a rockabilly version of the song.
– VINCE GORDON
Vince Gordon is again touring with The Jime. This time Vince and the Jime rocked across Spain, Holland, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark.
In Holland he performs with The Jime on Dutch TV. This time he has hired Dutch musicians for his band. Among others, he performs at One-Stop-GiG at Star Sound Studio, Utrecht, Holland on March 13th. Vince is met by excited fans everywhere, and at Silver Wings, Berlin, The Jime ends up playing for two and a half hours for an exuberant audience. They were only supposed to have played for an hour and 15 minutes.
The Rockabilly Guitar Page is Born
Vince launches The Rockabilly Guitar Page. The reason for this initiative is the numerous people who have throughout the years contacted him to ask about his instrument, other music gear and about the way he produces his unique sound. At the same time, he also fulfills his great wish to inspire others to start playing rockabilly themselves.
Vince Gordon gets married to Maria Heinesen. He writes the incredibly beautiful ballad Till the End of Time for her. In it you recognize Vince’s unique talent as a pianist through his beautiful and sensitive piano play. Vince loves his garden, in which he finds inner peace.
Vince is offered more tours from around the world. Among the places are New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Chile. In Liverpool, England, he plays in the legendary The Cavern, where The Beatles used to play.
Vince was music. He always had a new song, a new tone or was playing. He loved his garden, and all it´s colours. He took his instruments out in the garden playing. He really sensed the nature and small things, which is important and wrote about it.
– DANILA, Wife
Illness – New Set of Rules
At only 42 years of age, Vince Gordon is hit by a blood clot in the brain. He survives only due to the help of a Swedish brain specialist who happens to be visiting the Odense Hospital on a teaching assignment. The doctor operates on Vince. Vince has, since youth, been suffering from serious headaches. It turns out that he is suffering from a hereditary illness that will eventually produce a deadly stroke. He is told that he will not have long to live. This message makes him reflect on the priorities in his life. These thoughts lead to the song “Closer to the End”. After the blood clot, Vince manages to return to his amazing guitar playing and even to develop it further during the coming years.
New Set of Rules
Vince Gordon releases the album “New Set of Rules”. All 16 songs on this album are composed and written by Vince himself. He is also the producer and the album is released by SMP.
I sure was looking for a new set of rules. It seemed to me that most rules didn’t last a lifetime. Then I found God and that solved my problem. It’s as simple as that.
The Scotty More Sound Recreated
Based on his unique knowledge and insight into guitar playing and the sound of the “old” rockabilly guitarists, Vince Gordon recreates the legendary Scotty Moore sound, which the old master, among other places, used in the songs “Mystery Train” and “My Baby Left Me”, both recorded together with Elvis Presley. Vince Gordon shows on his home page, The Rockabilly Guitar, how he does it. Later Scotty Moore himself sees the video and recognizes Vince for his work.
Vince Gordon releases the album “Travel On”consisting of 16 new and uniquely his-style songs. On this album, he plays his favorite guitar, Epiphone, which he has, so-to-say, customized. The critics are raving.
International Recognition as World’s Best Rockabilly Guitarist
At the age of 46 Vince makes again music history, when he as the only rockabilly guitarist outside of the USA is recognized as one of the world’s best rockabilly guitarists still alive. This happens when the rockabilly bible “Rockabilly Guitar Method” is published with the world’s largest music publisher Hal Leonard in New York by Fred Zokolow, an American music expert and multi-instrumentalist. Fred Zokolow introduces the next generation of the World’s best rockabilly guitarists and points out Vince Gordon:
Vince Gordon left his mark on Rockabilly history with his unique style and sound. He definitely deserves his place in Rockabilly hall of fame. His take on rockabilly is as authentic as any American band, in fact, truer to the music than many US bands. Of course, he also had the looks well as the sound! And the moves and attitude on stage.
– FRED ZOKOLOW
The Twang Heard ‘Round the World: The Illustrated History
Vince Gordon contributes to “The Twang Heard ‘Round the World” with a section about Grady Martin, whom Vince and his freind Pete Dijkema identified as the lead guitarist on the best recordings by Johnny Brunette and the Rock´n roll Trio. Vince also contributes with his knowledge on the history of European Rockabilly.
Poul Burlison (1929-2003) was a great guitarist and he definitely deserves his place in Rock’n Roll history, but Grady Martin (1929-2001) was a brilliant guitarist, and he should be credited for some of the best rockabilly guitar work ever, simply because he did it.
– VINCE GORDON and PETE DIJKEMA
Carl Perkins Guitar
Each year his disease gets progressively worse leaving him unable to work for more than just a few hours a week. Nevertheless, he manages to compose, write, and produce his own music. In 2012 he writes his article on Carl Perkins and his Rockabilly Guitars and gear, where he identifies the guitars used on his biggest hits ”Matchbox”, ”Honey Don´t” and ”Blue Suede Shoes”.
It’s a Wheel
Vince Gordon releases the album “It’s a Wheel”. Here Vince’s experimentation with the sound and the renewal of the rockabilly genre comes to light again. It is both rockabilly – more fifties than twenty-tens. A clear influence from Perkins, Lewis, Holly, and Cash is detectable. It is a perfect mix of the modern Rockabilly style and the original Rockabilly sound. Vince uses for the first time the saxophone in two of his songs. Listen for instance to the song “A Man on Mars”.
…which could have been a Sinatra or Bobby Darin classic and beautiful pulp fiction-like ballad “Aching Dreams”. Other than that, it’s stripped down rockabilly with raw guitar, slap bass and drums a la W. S. Holland of Johnny Cash on every track.
– VINCE GORDON
Check out “Lonesome Me” (Vince Gordon original – Not the Hank Williams classic) played in the best tradition of the famous Nashville A-team with Grady Martin, who used to back up Johnny Burnette. You’re in for a treat.
Vince Turns 50
June 1, Vince turns 50. When he woke up he wrote a song about turning 50. Earlier he conveyed his thoughts about getting older as it related to his song “I’m Still Around”.
If you listen to the lyrics, it’s almost a gospel song. I remember I was surprised making I past 21 – I’m not kidding – then I got surprised when I turned 30. Then one day I thought to myself ‘Hey! I’m still around?! Never thought that would happen, but I’m glad it did!
– VINCE GORDON
Vince Gordon Dies on August 4th, 2016, 51 years of age.
He is given a beautiful funeral service in the idyllic village church, Tiset Kirke, near Aarhus, Denmark, in which he was once christened. Vince Gordon is buried under his given name of Lasse Rosdahl Larsen next to his mother.
I’ll be home
The music was Vince’s language. He wrote from the heart and stayed for ever true to his rockabilly values.
Vince Gordon vas a pioneer within the European rockabilly genre and was a trail blazer for many European rockabilly bands. He left his personal touch on international rockabilly with his unique style and managed to – despite his short life – write himself into international music history.
His passion for rockabilly stayed with him from the London trip in his youth to his death. He leaves behind seven amazing albums, a web guitar school, and more than 250 texts.
Throughout his childhood everybody around him just knew that Vince being so unusually gentle and compassionate possessed something quite unique. An exceptionally open heart. From which the music flowed.
The chors and the words came almost simultaneously one night, and it was recorded right away because I had my guitaramp set just right…it’s not a happy song but I think it’s a good song.
– VINCE GORDON
I’ll Be Home – Vince Gordon
It’s (G) been (G7) awhile
Love is sad
If you should ask me why I’m here
and when my soul has found it’s peace
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