|Eddie Cochran, Rock 'n' Roll Blues
Born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on October 3, 1938, Eddie Cochran was the youngest of five children. He started playing the guitar at the age of twelve. In 1953, his family moved to Bell Gardens, California. Two years later, at a music store in Bell Gardens, Eddie met a songwriter named Jerry Capehart who asked Eddie to record some songs for him. This marked the beginning of a very important friendship. In 1956, Si Warnoker of Liberty records heard of Eddie's talents and signed him up to record for the label. At the time, Eddie was recording for Jerry Capehart's label, Ekko records, with a friend named Hank Cochran (no relation) as The Cochran Brothers. Hank left for Nashville and began writing songs, and Eddie went with Liberty. Eddie was offered a cameo role in the film The Girl Can't Help It, in which he sang the song "Twenty Flight Rock". This was to be Eddie's first release for Liberty in 1956. However, before it was released, Liberty chose a John D. Loudermilk song called "Sittin' in the Balcony" for him to record. The song became a hit for Eddie in early 1957, but it really wasn't the particular sound that he was trying to capture, it leaned too much toward an Elvis imitation.
It wasn't until the spring of 1958 that Eddie really found his sound with a song that he and Jerry wrote called "Summertime Blues". In the song, Eddie utilized a sort of "King Fish" voice for the low, answering portions of the song. It became his biggest hit that summer, and it established his sound with acoustic guitars, hand clapping, and the driving beat. His follow-up song that fall was a song that Eddie and Jerry wrote called "C'mon Everybody", which was originally recorded as "Let's Get Together". In 1959, Eddie began to write another song with a young lady named Sharon Sheeley, the same girl who wrote "Poor Little Fool" for Rick Nelson. The result was "Somethin' Else". Sharon became a close friend of Eddie's during this time. While touring England in early 1960, Eddie met his untimely death. On Sunday, April 17, 1960, Eddie was motoring in the early morning hours to London, after a week at the Bristol Hippodrome, ending a ten week British tour. In the limousine with him, as they were heading toward the airport, were Sharon Sheeley, Gene Vincent, and their chauffeur. A tire blew out on the limo, causing a collision near Chippenham, Wiltshire, where Eddie sustained severe head injuries. He died in Bath Hospital in England, a short time after the crash. His body was flown to California, where he was buried in Hollywood.