Eddie Cochran Killed – April 17, 1960

This Rolly Ford photo with Eddie Cochran showing me how to hold a guitar was taken backstage at the Georgia Auditorium in October 1957.

Eddie was killed in a car crash in England while on tour with Gene Vincent. It happened April 17, 1960 – 60 years ago today. Eddie, girlfriend Sharon Sheeley and Gene were in a limousine heading to London when a tire blew out, causing a collision. Eddie sustained severe head injuries and died a short time after the crash. His body was flown to California, where he was buried in Hollywood.

Eddie Cochran was just 21.

Eddie was a guitar man. He was without question, influenced by Country music. It was the love of this type of music that probably motivated him to pick up a guitar at the age of twelve. His amazing recordings were the result of overdubbing, therefore all the guitar work on his recordings was his. He came to national attention through his appearance in one of the early Rock and Roll films, “The Girl Can’t Help It”. The song from that movie “Twenty Flight Rock” was Eddie’s first single.

By 1957 it was evident that his career was not setting the world on fire. His “Drive-In Show” recording was a hit in Vancouver and in America’s Midwest, but never went anywhere nationally. It wasn’t until the Spring of 1958 that he came up with an unforgettable smash called “Summertime Blues”.

It has since been recorded many times by many singers and is quite a salute to this fine young performer. When I asked Eddie during his Vancouver visit how he liked touring he said, “It is without question the one part of show business I hate most.” There is no question that those road tours took their toll on performers and still do. Eddie liked playing his guitar, singing and producing music. These were his first loves.