We've Got Your Back: The 10 Best Backing Bands of All Time
We've got your back — Guitar World's guide to the 10 best backing bands of all time.
08. The Blue Caps
Of the major "named" backing bands of rock’s first generation — Buddy Holly’s Crickets, Bill Haley’s Comets, Johnny Burnette’s Rock n’ Roll Trio and Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps (We'll even include Johnny Cash's Tennessee Three) — the Blue Caps had a monopoly on super-serious chops. Among their lineup was — to quote Jeff Beck — the “demon-like” Cliff Gallup.
Gallup, whose playing and sound are perhaps best described as "ahead of their time," was a true pioneer who had a massive influence on the first wave of British Invasion players, particularly Beck, who incorporated Gallup’s lightning-fast triplet pull-offs into his own playing. Gallup's quick "slap-echo" delay, as heard on Bluejean Bop and Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, is still considered the gold standard sound for rockabilly guitarists.
The Blue Caps also included Willie Williams on rhythm guitar, Jack Neal on upright bass and Dickie Harrell on drums, a crew that could drive fans into a frenzy with relentless rockabilly beats as heard in “Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back,” “B-I-Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go” and “Hold Me, Hug Me, Rock Me.”
Gallup, who left the band in 1956, was replaced by Russell Williford, followed by Johnny Meeks. He died in 1988.
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