Eddie Cochran

Killed in a car crash in England while still only 21, the legend or Eddie Cochran survives through classic early rock'n'roll hits like Summertime Blues, C'mon Everybody and Three Steps To Heaven - which had a big influence on later beat boom bands like The Beatles and Rolling Stones. From a background in Oklahoma, Cochran's earliest influences lay in country music, forming his first band at school and going out on the road with Hank Cochran (no relation) as the Cochran Brothers. He also worked as a session guitarist and started writing songs, getting his big break appearing in the 1957 movies The Girl Can't Help It and Untamed Youth, which fostered his image as a wild rock'n'roll singer. Cochran's first hits were Sittin' On The Balcony and Twenty Flight Rock but his real success came when he started recording his own material, breaking into both the UK and US Top 10s in 1958 with one of the great anthems of youthful rebellion, Summertime Blues. Other vibrant hits followed, but on tour in England in 1960 with Gene Vincent, he was killed while a passenger in a taxi; Vincent survived the accident. Cochran had a massive posthumous hit with Three Steps To Heaven and became a cherished symbol of the rock'n'roll era. The first song John Lennon and Paul McCartney reputedly played together was his hit Twenty Flight Rock, Pete Townshend of The Who was heavily influenced by his distinctive rhythmic guitar and Cochran came to be an inspiration for bands as varied as The Clash, Motorhead, White Stripes and Sex Pistols.

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