Remembering Eddie Cochran

04/17/2012
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(Gibson) On this day in 1960, Touring in the U.K., 21-year-old singer Eddie Cochran was killed when the taxi he was traveling in crashed into a lamppost on Rowden Hill, Chippenham, Wiltshire (where a plaque now commemorates the event). Songwriter Sharon Sheeley and singer Gene Vincent survived the crash. Cochran's current hit at the time was "Three Steps to Heaven." Gibson takes a look back:

Just before the birth of The Beatles and after the first angry flush of rock and roll, Cochran and Vincent reminded the U.K. that real rock and roll should be tough and dirty. No wonder George Harrison was a huge fan and Paul McCartney played Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" to impress John Lennon at their famous fete meeting. Aside from that rock and roll barnstormer, Cochran also had hits with all-time classics "Summertime Blues" and "C'mon Everybody."

By spring 1960, the tour with Vincent was drawing to a close and on Monday, April 11, Eddie and his girlfriend, songwriter Sharon Sheeley, arrived in Bristol for a final weeklong residency at the Hippodrome with Vincent and support acts Georgie Fame, Johnny Gentle and Tony Sheridan.

After the final Saturday show, an exhausted Eddie decided to head back to London and someone arranged for a taxi. At around 11 p.m., a Ford Consul and its driver George Martin (no, not The Beatles producer) showed up to take Eddie, Gene, Sharon and tour manager Pat Thompkins to the capital.

Thompkins rode shotgun with Eddie, Sharon and Gene sitting in the back. Taking a short cut through Chippenham, Martin suddenly realized he'd taken a wrong turn. He hit the brakes and swerved but lost control of his vehicle. The car spun into a lamppost and Cochran was pushed into the car's roof that forced the back door open and he was thrown onto the road.

The driver and Thompkins suffered only mild knocks and walked away, but Vincent, Cochran and his girlfiend lay still on the ground. Sharon was suffering from shock and Vincent from a broken collarbone, but Cochran looked much worse. more on this story

Gibson.com is an official news provider for the antiMusic.com.
Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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