This book has an interesting history in that it is a direct result of research done for an original musical stage show of the 1960 UK tour by Gene and Eddie which sadly never made it to the London West End for a long run after a regional UK tour. The author has then added the prior history of Eddie up to the UK tour and the story of Gene before and after the tour and post the tragic death of Eddie at the tour end in a car crash on the way to London to catch a plane home to the USA.
The best and most interesting aspect is the story of the UK tour itself and the memories of many people who saw the tour and the impact it had on them including the musicians on the tour plus the recording of various national and local press comments (the often quoted story of George Harrison going to several shows in Liverpool and being converted to rock music as a result is missing but not a lot else).
The UK '60s pop scene and its ensuing global presence probably owes a lot more than the author credits to this event given this was probably the first true rock'n'roll concert tour the UK had ever had with highly regarded US rockers featured as the stars supported by other British rock acts of that time. All the prior ones especially Buddy Holly and Bill Haley had been lumped into family style variety shows by their promoters much like the early Elvis tours in the USA arranged by Tom Parker.
Also the exposure of many UK musicians to an accomplished US session player such as Eddie, who like Gene proved to also be a great live performer (plus they also made several appearances on the only weekly UK radio and TV rock shows the UK then had which added to their national impact), gave the UK its first taste of what might be, even if both performer's recording careers were then in decline in their homeland. One of the British guitarists backing Eddie on the tour (Jim Sullivan) went on to teach many 60s musicians including a young Jimmy Page and the recent Jeff Beck tribute CD to Gene Vincent reflected in part his seeing him live on tour as a teenager, Gene virtually moving to Europe to perform in the early 1960s.
The separate histories of each performer are in large part well known territory to their fans but there is enough in anecdotes and new facts to avoid any feeling of it just being regurgitated material. The tragedy of Gene Vincent's decline post Eddie's death is the best I have read and that includes the biographies on Gene alone that exist.
John Collis has nailed down very well a key event in UK rock history and one is left at the end feeling more than ever that the death of Eddie Cochran at the hands of an inexperienced car driver (like Buddy Holly before him in a plane crash, which apparently haunted Eddie if the book is true)was a great loss given the direction his musical skills were then moving in.