I was trolling through my music collection recently and decided to give some Eddie Cochran records a spin. It dawned on me that 2010 represented the fiftieth anniversary of his death at the age of 21.
He is best remembered for his 1958 hit “Summertime Blues.” His rocking tale of adolescent life resonated with the fifties generation of teenagers. His guitar playing was innovative for the time and would lead to his induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987. Rolling Stone Magazine placed the song at number 73 on their list of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. His session drummer for the track was Earl Palmer who was also inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at the 2000 ceremony in the Sideman category.
He was a big star on both sides of the Atlantic. During a tour of England; he, Gene Vincent, and his songwriter girlfriend Sharon Shelley were involved in a one car taxi accident on April 16, 1960. Cochran died the next morning and Vincent would remain in pain for the rest of his life. The taxi driver would spend sixth months in prison.
His legacy has been kept alive through many artists covering his most famous composition. Probably the best cover was The Who’s bone crunching version on their Live At Leeds album. Blue Cheer would resurrect it as a hard rock/psychedelic track during 1968 which would become a top twenty single in The United States. Alan Jackson would take it to the top of the country charts during 1994. The less said about Olivia Newton-John’s and Cheech Martin’s versions the better.
For the last half century Eddie Cochran has rested in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Orange County, California. And for teenagers everywhere there still “ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.