In a recent piece about the late Hank Cochran, I mentioned that the veteran singer/songwriter had once formed a rockabilly singing duo with another young performer, Eddie Cochran. Although the two were not related they billed themselves as the ‘Cochran Brothers’ and did well for a while before going on to separate careers. In Eddie’s case, he would emulate a shooting star by flashing brightly but briefly, dying in a car crash at just age 21.
Edward Ray Cochran was born in Minnesota but his family moved to California during his teen years, and it was there that he began to gravitate to music. After teaching himself guitar and gaining experience in school bands, he began to aim toward a professional career.
By the mid-Fifties he was still in his teens but was beginning to make his mark, not only by teaming up with Hank but also as a songwriter. He’d even performed his own song in a movie, 1956’s The Girl Can’t Help It, starring Jayne Mansfield. It would begin a period of several years during which he would make a name for himself with songs like “Somethin’ Else,” “C’mon Everybody,” and his best-known, “Summertime Blues.”
He was charismatic, multi-talented, and possessed of a bold style that fans found irresistible. And even though his life would end in a 1960 auto accident that occurred while he was on tour in Great Britain, his legacy would live on. Rockers like his friend, Gene Vincent (who was injured in the same accident) and later performers like The Who, The Beach Boys, The Beatles and many others, would be inspired by his music.