His persona was of an iconic 50s rocker: clean-cut, good-looking, and rebellious. But his persona belied a deeper understanding of musical forms and styles. His skill as a guitarist led to him being a session musician on countless tracks in the late 50s, and his own recordings demonstrated experiments with early examples of multitrack recording and overdubbing.
Born in Albert Lea, MN on October 3, 1938, Eddie Cochran’s family moved to Bell Gardens, CA while he was in high school. There he formed a partnership with Hank Cochran (no relation) and formed a successful local group called The Cochran Bros. One of their songs, “Skinny Jim”, is still considered a rockabilly standard to this day.
When his friends Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens died in an Iowan corn field, Eddie grieved their loss and became convinced he would die young if he wasn’t able to stay in the studio and avoid the dangers of touring on the road.
But financial demands led to a tour of the UK in 1960. On April 16, 1960, Eddie Cochran’s taxi was involved in an accident at Rowden Hill near Bath, England. He died the next day of head trauma.
Although Eddie Cochran’s career was tragically cut short, his influence on popular music was substantial. For example, Paul McCartney got into the Beatles by playing “Twenty Flight Rock” for John Lennon when they first met. Here’s a list of locations associated with the early rock legend, Eddie Cochran:
- Eddie Cochran’s birthplace– Eddie Cochran was born at the old Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea, MN on October 3, 1938.
- Tail Fins Malt Shop– Located about 12 miles west of Eddie Cochran’s birthplace, the Tail Fins Malt Shop features the Eddie Cochran Room.
- Freeborn County Historical Society Museum- A permanent Eddie cochran display features gold records, vintage 45s and 78s, photos and a pair of Eddie’s leather pants.
- Bell Gardens High School– Eddie’s family moved to Bell Gardens, CA from Albert Lea, MN, and he attended high school for one year before becoming a professional musician.
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park– Eddie Cochran is buried in this cemetery (the same as Michael Jackson).