Gracie performed at weddings, local restaurants, and parties, and on local radio and television. He also won many regional talent contests. The little money and prizes he received were turned over to his mother to help support the family.
After cutting two more singles for Cadillac, Charlie moved on to 20th Century Records, a subsidiary of Gotham, where he put out another four sides, including Wildwood Boogie. The discs he made embraced a wide variety of styles: jump blues, gospel, and country boogie with the influences of Big Joe Turner, B.B. King, Louis Jordan, Roy Acuff, and Hank Williams. Between 1951-53, Charlie Gracie was experimenting with many types of music, years before many rock heroes had ever set foot inside a recording studio.
Charlie's personal appearances grew until he performed and headlined some of the biggest venues of that time: Alan Freed's rock and roll shows at the Brooklyn Paramount, The Ed Sullivan Show, Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" and the 500 Club in Atlantic City. He appeared in the 1957 film Jamboree, and toured with the likes of Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and his close friend, Eddie Cochran.
Charlie became only the second American, guitar-toting rock and roller to bring this new art form to the British concert stage. His two extensive tours in 1957 and 58 were a whirlwind, topped off by headlining the Palladium and the Hippodrome in London. He played to packed houses and drew rave reviews. In the audiences, among Charlie's fans and admirers, were future rock greats: Graham Nash, members of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker and Van Morrison. These performers and many other well-known acts have credited Charlie as an influence. George Harrison referred to Charlie's guitar technique as "brilliant" in a March 1996 interview with Billboard Magazine; Paul McCartney invited Charlie to the premiere party of his 1999 release which paid tribute to the early pioneers of rock music.
Charlie found himself somewhat miscast at Cameo. He moved on to other labels such as Coral, Roulette, Felsted, and Diamond, performing more of the R&B he preferred. Even if success slowed, Charlie continued to perform in clubs, theaters, and resorts, from the 60's through the 90's. He still enjoys a loyal following in Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands. Charlie is a devoted family man, has been married for more than 40 years to his first and only wife, Joan. They have two children, a son and a daughter.
Charlie Gracie's pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. (Info last.fm)