It is an absolute irony to die when your latest single is "Three Steps From Heaven." It's an absolute tragedy to die at 21. But that's what happen to Minnesota born, Oklahoma raised, Eddie Cochran. His musical education began with the clarinet, drums and trombone but his love was the guitar and soon he was picking Country music off the radio. In '53 Eddie's family moved to California. It was there he started bands and played local halls. He also met fellow songwriter Jerry Capehart and began a partnership. In '57 Eddie was signed to Liberty Records and released his first single "Twenty Flight Rock." The next Cochran/Capehart composition was the incredible "Summertime Blues." Few songs in the entire history of Rock have made such an impact. The song flawlessly captured teenage trials and tribulations - especially how the older generation had no regard for teens. Not only was it an international hit, the song was covered a decade later by Blue Cheer and became their biggest song. The Who made it the centerpiece of their "Live At Leeds" album. Finally, Alan Jackson had a top selling Country hit with it in the '90s.
In the U.S., Cochran is remembered as a one-hit wonder, even though "C'mon Everybody," was a strong follow-up. In England however, Cochran was huge. When Lennon and McCartney first met they talked about Cochran and "Twenty Flight Rock." Legend has it that George Harrison was such a fan that he followed Cochran from town to town on his UK tour. That '60 tour was so successful that it was extended from five to fifteen weeks. On his way to Heathrow airport and home, his taxi blew a tire and hit a lamp post. Cochran was killed and fellow Rocker Gene Vincent was seriously injured.
During his brief life, Cochran had an incredible impact on British Rock and created Rock 'n' Roll that starts but doesn't end with "Summertime Blues."
Rock-A-Billy master Eddie Cochran is known for "Summertime Blues," and "C'mon Everybody" and the incredible "Twenty Flight Rock." In the '50s Capitol Records and RCA (mainly due to Elvis) were the only major record labels paying attention to Rock. EMI (Capitol's parent company) has produced an excellent collection of Cochran's best tracks, "Eddie Cochran: The Legendary Masters Vol. 1." Razor & Tie also produced a fine compilation entitled "Somethin' Else-The Fine Looking Hits of Eddie Cochran." Individual albums and other compilations are not as good. Cochran's blend of Country/Blues influenced several British Rockers all the way from The Who to the Sex Pistols.