Eddie Cochran Biography


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.

>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.

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 Brothers.

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 California.

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 to Eddie.


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