Eddie Cochran: Rebel With a Guitar

Eddy Cochran color publicity  photo playing the guitar in front of a black background
Eddie Cochran
Eddie Cochran
Birth name: Ray Edward Cochran
Born: October 3, 1938
Albert Lea, Minnesota, U.S.
Died: April 17, 1960 (aged 21)
Bath, Somerset, England
Occupation: Singer-songwriter, musician
Instruments: Guitar, vocals
Years active:1952–1960

Eddie Cochran was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Two of his songs, “C'mon Everybody” and “Summertime Blues,” appear on the Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock list and are among Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 choices of the 
500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Summertime Blues  (1958)

Eddie Cochran

"Summertime Blues" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. It ranks number 74 of Rolling Stone's 2003 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It's also on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's list of "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll;"

Cochran was 19 years-old when he recorded "Summertime Blues." He wrote it with Jerry Capehart, a songwriter who helped him get a record deal. It's about a teenager's struggles with his parents, his boss and his congressman during summer vacation. Capehart explained the inspiration for this song in Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 songs issue:

"There had been a lot of songs about summer, but none about the hardships of summer.

James Dean color photo in his red coat by a black car
James Dean

It was a big hit with teenagers who related to the lyrics. It created for Cochran a "James Dean" type of image: a Rebel With a Guitar. His legend was secured two years later when he died at 21 year-old while riding in the back of a taxi. 

"Summertime Blues" was planned as the B-side of "Love Again," a song written by 17-year-old Sharon Sheeley. Female songwriters were rare at the time, but Sheeley's first effort, "Poor Little Fool," was a number 1 hit for Ricky Nelson. Eddy's record company knew "Summertime Blues"  was the bigger hit. Sheeley provided the hand claps on it. 

Eventually, she became Cochran's girlfriend. She was in the car when it crashed and killed him in 1960.

Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan of T. Rex recorded the song in 1970 as the B-side to their breakthrough "Ride a White Swan" single. In a strange turn of events. Bolan died at 29 years-old in an automobile accident. His girlfriend, Gloria Jones who first recorded "Tainted Love," was driving the car that killed him.

Marc Bolan & Glorida Jones color publicity shot dancing in front of a lilac purple background dan
Gloria Jones & Marc Bolan

C'mon Everybody (1958)

"C'mon Everybody" by Eddie Cochran" was originally released as the B-side of his hit song "Summertime Blues." 
It was Cochran's biggest hit before his death. In the United States, the song got to number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. It's ranked number 411 on the 2003 Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. 

Eddie Chochran & Sharon Sheely publicity photo
Eddy Cochran & Sharon Sheely

The Sex Pistols covered it in 1979 and it's on the soundtrack to their movie "The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle." The song charted at number 14 in the UK a second time  in 1988 after it was used in a Levi's jeans commercial. The ad featured Cochran's former fiancĂ©, Sharon Sheeley. The storyline was about how she got Eddy's attention by wearing Levis.

Somethin' Else (1959)

Cochran wrote "Somethin' Else with Sharon Sheeley and his older brother, Bob Cochran. The lyrics describe how Cochran wants a convertible he can't afford and a girl he doesn't think will go out with him. He saves his money, buys an older car, and asks the girl out. It peaked at 22 on the UK Singles Chart, but only reached 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. 

Sid Vicious on a motercycle
Sid Vidious

The Sex Pistols recorded a version of "Something Else" with vocals by Sid Vicious. Vicious overdosed on heroin at 21 years-old the day he was released from prison; out on bail for the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungeon. His version of  "Something Else" was released three weeks after his death and peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart.


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