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Eddie Cochran

Somehow, time has not accorded Eddie Cochran quite the same respect as other early rockabilly pioneers like Buddy Holly, or even Ricky Nelson or Gene Vincent. This is partially attributable to his very brief lifespan as a star: he only had a couple of big hits before dying in a car crash during a British tour in 1960. He was in the same league as the best rockabilly stars, though, with a brash, fat guitar sound that helped lay the groundwork for the power chord. He was also a good songwriter and singer, celebrating the joys of teenage life -- the parties, the music, the adolescent rebellion -- with an economic wit that bore some similarities to Chuck Berry. Cochran was more lighthearted and less ironic than Berry, though, and if his work was less consistent and not as penetrating, it was almost always exuberant.

Cochran's mid-'50s beginnings in the record industry are a bit confusing. His family had moved to Southern California around 1950, and in 1955 he made his first recordings as half of the Cochran Brothers. Here's the confusing part: although the other half of the act was really named Hank Cochran, he was not Eddie's brother. (Hank Cochran would become a noted country songwriter in the 1960s.) Eddie was already an accomplished rockabilly guitarist and singer on these early sides, and he started picking up some session work as well, also finding time to make demos and write songs with Jerry Capehart, who became his manager.

Cochran's big break came about in a novel fashion. In mid-1956, while Cochran and Capehart were recording some music for low-budget films, Boris Petroff asked Eddie if he'd be interested in appearing in a movie that a friend was directing. The film was The Girl Can't Help It, and the song he would sing in it was "Twenty-Flight Rock." This is the same song that Paul McCartney would use to impress John Lennon upon their first meeting in 1957 (Paul could not only play it, but knew all of the lyrics).

Cochran had his first Top 20 hit in early 1957, "Sittin' in the Balcony," with an echo-chambered vocal reminiscent of Elvis. That single was written by John D. Loudermilk, but Eddie would write much of his material, including his only Top Ten hit, "Summertime Blues." A definitive teenage anthem with hints of the overt protest that would seep into rock music in the 1960s, it was also a technical tour de force for the time: Cochran overdubbed himself on guitar to create an especially thick sound. One of the classic early rock singles, "Summertime Blues" was revived a decade later by proto-metal group Blue Cheer, and was a concert staple for the Who, who had a small American hit with a cover version. (Let's not mention Alan Jackson's country rendition in the 1990s.)

That, disappointingly, was the extent of Cochran's major commercial success in the U.S. "C'mon Everybody," a chugging rocker that was almost as good as "Summertime Blues," made the Top 40 in 1959, and also gave Eddie his first British Top Tenner. As is the case with his buddy Gene Vincent, though, you can't judge his importance by mere chart statistics. Cochran was very active in the studio, and while his output wasn't nearly as consistent as Buddy Holly's (another good friend of Eddie's), he laid down a few classic or near-classic cuts that are just as worthy as his hits. "Somethin' Else," "My Way" (which the Who played in concert at the peak of psychedelia), "Weekend" (covered by the Move), and "Nervous Breakdown" are some of the best of these, and belong in the collection of every rockabilly fan. He was also (like Holly) an innovator in the studio, using overdubbing at a time when that practice was barely known on rock recordings.

Cochran is more revered today in Britain than the United States, due in part to the tragic circumstances of his death. In the spring of 1960, he toured the U.K. with Vincent, to a wild reception, in a country that had rarely had the opportunity to see American rock & roll stars in the flesh. En route to London to fly back to the States for a break, the car Cochran was riding in, with his girlfriend (and songwriter) Sharon Sheeley and Gene Vincent, had a severe accident. Vincent and Sheeley survived, but Cochran died less than a day later, at the age of 21. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Singin' To My Baby/Eddie Cochran Memorial Album

1. Sittin In The Balcony

2. Completely Sweet

3. Undying Love

5. Lovin Time

6. Proud Of You

7. Am I Blue

8. Twenty Flight Rock

9. Drive In Show

12. Tell Me Why

13. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

14. Cradle Baby

15. One Kiss

16. C'mon Everybody

17. Three Steps To Heaven

18. Cut Across Shorty

19. Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie

20. Pocketful Of Hearts

21. Hallelujah, I Love Her So

22. Don't Ever Let Me Go

23. Summertime Blues

24. Teresa

25. Somethin Else

26. Pretty Girl

27. Teenage Heaven

28. Boll Weevil Song

29. I Remember

x

Track List: Somethin' Else: The Fine Lookin' Hits Of Eddie Cochran

1. Tired And Sleepy

2. Skinny Jim

3. Long Tall Sally

4. Sittin' In The Balcony

5. Drive-In Show

6. Twenty Flight Rock

7. Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie

8. Summertime Blues

9. C'mon Everybody

10. Nervous Breakdown

11. My Way

12. Teenage Heaven

13. Weekend

14. Somethin' Else

16. Hallelujah I Love Her So

17. Guybo

18. Cherished Memories

19. Three Steps To Heaven

20. Cut Across Shorty

x

Track List: C´Mon Everybody

4. Am I Blue

6. Proud Of You

7. Lonely

10. Love Again

11. Teresa

12. One Kiss

16. Tired And Sleepy

18. Think Of Me

19. Boll Weevil Song

23. Little Angel

29. Eddie's Blues

36. I've Waited So Long

40. Pretty Girl

41. Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie

x

Track List: My Way / Cherished Memories

1. My Way

2. Little Angel

3. Eddie's Blues

4. Love Again

5. I Almost Lost My Mind

7. Little Lou

8. Blue Suede Shoes

9. Lonely

11. My Love To Remember

12. Milk Cow Blues

13. Guybo

14. Long Tall Sally

15. Cherished Memories

16. I've Waited So Long

17. Never

18. Skinny Jim

19. Half Loved

20. Weekend

21. Nervous Breakdown

22. Let's Get Together

23. Rock 'n' Roll Blues

24. Dark Lonely Street

25. Pink Peg Slacks

26. That's My Desire

27. Sweetie Pie

28. Think Of Me

Comments

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DID YOU KNOW THAT EDDIE COCHRAN , and O.J's LAYWER, JOHNNY COCHRAN are COUSINS. (Think about it for a while).....
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Yes , I agree Eddie Cochran was a great rock and roll star, died too young. Not Ed Byrnes not even close.
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Tiffany Harrell: please do not compare Eddie Cochran with a b movie actor named Kookie. Cochran was the Real Deal. When he died, rock and roll died with him. The Beatles and Rolling Stones revived it.
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did he also perform cookie cookie lend me your comb
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Eddie Cochran appeared in the movie Go, Johnny Go! with Jimmy Clanton. Cochran performed Teenage Heaven while on a stage, with his giant Gretsch guitar, not plugged in. We got to see the artists either in low grade movies, like this one, or on stage with the Dick Clark Show. In addition to the guitar not being plugged in, we see Cochran, then we see the teen audience, then Cochran, and so on, but the camera never gives us a view that shows they are in the same theater.
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When Eddie Cochran died in 1960, radio became a stale teen version of Your Hit Parade - those of you who are old enough to remember those dreadful days. In Kansas, we only had Grand Ole Opry, while Pop radio played Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and other boring acts whose novelty was teens and 20 somethings crooning Bing Crosby tunes. Back to Eddie...one of the greats.
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domenic.rucc i o
Never heard of him and now as that I listen, wow!, this guy was seminal. He's fabulous and a strong precursor to what followed. Ricky nelson? Please. This is the guy Ricky nelson was trying to be. Weird how life goes, eh? Believe me, the Beatles and Stones were listening to this guy. You can hear it. Rest well, Eddie.
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tduncan1000
real music and talent
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Summertime blues - Eddie Cochran (Off Singin' to my baby album): Can I do multiple thumbs up - great song, great memories (a juke box letting rip in a hamburger shop door way, on the Scarborough beach front in 1958 on a blistering hot day, the day I became aware of R'n'R.
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ANYTHING Eddie did was GREAT!! One day someone will chisel a Mt. Rushmore of COOL my 4 would be... Eddie Cochran, James Dean, Bill Haley and Sammy Davis jr. "DIG IT MAN"
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Eddie Cochran is just too cool for school.When I was kid growing up in Memphis he was my favorite."Su m m e r Time Blues "spoke loud and clear to me,and what else is left to say about "Twenty Flight Rock".
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Let's play a game... Think of 4 people you would LOVE to see in one concert in their prime. Mine are... 1 Eddie Cochran, 2 Chuck Berry, 3 Bill Haley, and last, opening the show, The Blues Brothers (1978) That is the concert of all concerts!! Just think tickets would be like $15. Have a great night.
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mike3345mike
Great summertime tune for youngsters to dance to!!
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Eddie STILL makes me stop and say... DAMN HE IS GREAT!!!!!! This ladies and gentleman would have been "The King of Rock n Roll" if he would have just stayed one more day. Enjoy his sound, if it wasn't for Eddie we would not have R/R!!!!
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Love it. Great song
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Make that Labamba and the actor that played Eddie was the Stray Cats lead singer Brian Setzer.
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Does any one know and remember the movie that. Eddie was in,thanks. Jespos7249
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This song describes my summers. One of my favorites.
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Make that the LaBomba film
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The Eddie Cochran actor was too great in Lbomba movie about Ritchie Valens...Ace s , ^5
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I've got an Eddie Cochran Greatest Hits CD and it's very good. Even with some over dubbing a lot of those early rock recordings have great fidelity and on a good stereo with big speakers and cranked up loud are surprisingly entertaining . It would have been interesting to see where his career would have gone had he not died so young.
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I was 10 and still love His music. These were the days!
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I'm only 12 and I love his music, along with Elvis' and many others such as Little Richard and Fats Domino.
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Doesn't get any better
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Charlie Gracie, a Philly original from the '50s who is still playing, always mentions Eddie Cochran in concert today.
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marvins39
great talent; underated; music still sounds great!!
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leilanilouis e
Love it
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norman1021
This is about good "ROCKIN MUSIC"
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I Like this Song :-)
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RASP!!!!! I love it!
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Yes 'rand855 'I understand that but, that is not my gripe
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all the GOOD ones diappear to young....
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Yes, he was great. But...Eddie, like all musicians, didn't reach the level of mastery in his music without the work of those who proceeded him. By referencing Paul's use of Eddie's work is to recognize the Beattles, like all others, didn't reach the heights of their talent on their own. The Beattles stood on the shoulders of greatness. Because in part Eddie influenced everything the Beattles did after experiencing his music, just as other influenced Eddie's music. Crap?, not hardly!
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Oh wow, i like eddie cochran even more, now i know it was the song paul sang for john 'and he even knew all the words'...who writes all this crap... ? The president of the nerdist beatles fan club ? Why is every 50's rock'n'roll hero given credit because 'oh the beatles did that' ... Sorry, but, that pisses me off....eddie was great, regardless of the f**kin' beatles...
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to me twenty flight rock should have been in the top ten instead of summertime blues, i just like twenty flight rock better, i dont know why...
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Eddie Cochran was a young phenom in every sense like Buddy Holly, who was - like Holly - taken away from us far too soon and under tragic circumstance s .
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mcj17car
Way cool!
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Something'El s e sums it up,get some wheelsand the girls will follow,WOW
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I think Eddie Cochran is my favorite right now. My name is Ed too.
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Love him!
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ilmwa
Nice song ;) !!!!!!
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sassyjan
GREAT rock-n-Roll Summertime Blues
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Summertime Blues, one of the all time best rock'n'roll songs ever!
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Eddie was on Liberty Records
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punk bands will always cover somethin' else
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brijampar
Ever notice the "Eddie Cochran" in Brian Setzer's style and voice? No coincidence he was cast as Eddie in the 1987 movie La Bamba.
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Gene and Eddie are still rockin, definately. RIP boys.
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"Somethin' Else" is one of the all-time great statements of teen optimism.
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Cochran rocked harder than any of his contemporari e s . . . t h e pride of Austin, Minnesota!
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His great niece is my wife.
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