Written and sung by Gene Vincent
In early 1956, Gene Vincent performed Be-Bop-a-Lula on a radio show in Norfolk, Virginia, and recorded a demo version which was passed to Capitol Records, who were looking for a young singer to rival Elvis Presley. Capitol invited Gene Vincent to record the song, and it was recorded at Owen Bradley's studio in Nashville, Tennessee on May 4, 1956. The band comprised Cliff Gallup (lead guitar), "Wee" Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), "Jumpin'" Jack Neal (string bass), and Dickie "Be Bop" Harrell (drums). When the song was being recorded, Harrell screamed in the background, he said because he wanted to be sure his family could hear it was him on the record.
The song was released in June 1956 on Capitol Records' single F3450, and immediately sold well. The song was successful on three American singles charts: it peaked at #7 on the US Billboard pop music chart, #8 on the R&B chart, and also made the top ten on the C&W Best Seller chart peaking at #5. In the UK, it peaked at #16 in August 1956. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date.