>He teamed up with another singer, Hank Cochran, and went on
the road. Although the two were not related, they toured as The
Cochran Brothers. In 1955, they saw Elvis Presley perform and
it had a profound influence on Eddie. This was the kind of music
that he wanted to play and he changed his style from hillbilly
to harder rock.
Real Name: Ray Edward Cochrane
Born: 3 October, 1938, Albert Lea, Minnesota, USA Died: 17
April, 1960 Age: 21
In company with Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran was one of the
first rock 'n' roll guitarists to write and play his own material.
Although he was born in Minnesota, he was brought up in California,
which he always regarded as his home. Eddie was a natural musician
and he could play the guitar before he was twelve years old. By
the age of sixteen he was playing professionally.
Hank Cochran preferred the more traditional country sound
and the Cochran Brothers split. Hank retumed to Nashville, where
he became a successful songwriter - one of his well-known compositions
was Patsy Cline's 1961 hit, 'I Fall To Pieces'. Eddie began a
collaboration with a young aspiring songwriter and drummer, Jerry
Capeheart. Between the two of them, they were to produce some
of Eddie's finest work.
Still only eighteen, Eddie was cast in the 1956 rock 'n' roll
film, The Girl Can't Help It. Also in the cast was Gene Vincent,
who became a good friend of Eddie's. Eddie's performance of the
number 'Twenty Flight Rock' was electrifying. As well as making
him a teenage idol, it brought him a recording contract with Liberty
Records. Another film followed, but music was Eddie's first love.
He cut a singles 'Sittin' On the Balcony' (1957), and to publicise
it joined the Biggest Show of Stars for '57, along with Buddy
Holly (who also became a close friend), Chuck Berry and The Everly
The following year, Eddie had his first Gold Record with sSummertime
Blues'. Co-written with Jerry Capeheart, this song reflected all
the hopes and yearnings of teenage life and was a resounding success
on both sides of the Atlantic.
Scheduled to join the 19S9 Winter Dance Party tour with his
friend Buddy Holly, Eddie was prevented from doing so by the film
Go~ Johnnyt Go'. When Buddy7s plane crashed, killing him, The
Big Bopper and Ritchie Valensn Eddie was devastated. He and Ritchie
Valens had been filming together only days before. Afterwards,
Eddie avoided flying whenever he could. He recorded John D~ Loudermilk's
song 'Three Stars~ as a tribute to his friends, but ironically
it was not released until after his own death.
Eddie's personal life, unusually for the music business, was
harmonious. His girlfriend, Sharon Sheeley, was also a songwriter
and understood the vagaries of the business. They had been introduced
by Phil Everly (Sharon had been his girlfriend), and following
Eddie's next single, 'Csmon Everybody', the couple worked together
to produce 'Somethin' Else' (1959).
'C'mon Everybody' proved much more popular sn Britain than
in the United States, and Eddie decided to consolidate his popularity
there. To the rapture of his ecstatic fans, Eddie undertook a
tour of Great Britain with his friend Gene Vincent.
Eddie was the darling of the British teenagers. They loved
his music and his all-American good looks, turning out in number
for his live television and radio appearances. The tour was such
a resounding success that it was decided to extend it for a further
ten weeks. Flrst, though, Eddie had recording commitments in the
Umted States. With Sharon Sheeley, now his fiancee, and Gene Vincent,
he decided to fly back to the States for the Easter break.
En route to London Airport their car blew a tyre and crashed
into a lamp post. All three were rushed to hospital. Gene Vincent
was treated for broken ribs and collar-bone and further in3ury
to his bad leg. Sharon Sheeley suffered a broken pelvis. Eddie
Cochran had been thrown through the windscreen and had brain injuries.
He never recovered, dying the next day in hospital at the age
of twenty-one. He was buried quietly at Forest Lawn Cemetery in
Eddie7s record 'Three Steps To Heavent, which was in the charts
at the time, rocketed straight up to Number One sn the UK charts.
He haci had three major hits before he died.
Over the years, Eddie's records have remained popular. Previously
undiscovered material has been released and various artists have
covered his biggest hits. In 1987, he was elected to the Rock
'n' Roll Hall of Fame. In1988, 'C'mon Everybody' was used on the
soundtrack for an ad for Levi~s 501 Jeans, to commemorate the
fact that Sharon Sheeley had been wearing jeans on her introduction