His parents, Ezekiah Jackson and Mary Louise Craddock, were shop owners in Norfolk, Virginia. Baptised Eugene Vincent Craddock he grew up in Virginia under the influence of country, rhythm and blues and gospel music. He received his first guitar as a gift from a friend at the age of 12.
In 1952, Gene left school and joined the Navy. In 1955 he was stationed in Korea. In July 1955, while in Norfolk, he was involved in a severe motorcycle accident that shattered his left leg. He refused to have it amputated, the leg was saved, but left him with a permanent limp and considerable chronic pain for the rest of his life.
Gene Vincent died on October 12, 1971 from a ruptured stomach ulcer while visiting his father in California, and is interred in the Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, California.
He was the first inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame upon its formation in 1997. The following year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Gene Vincent got a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (at 1749 N. Vine St.) in the Category Music.