Eddie Cochran 50s Guitar Hero

I got to know Eddie Cochran’s music through The Who. The Who covered Summertime Blues and I wanted to know where that came from…I read about his influence on the Beatles but never heard anything from him until the mid-eighties when I bought one of his compilation albums.

Eddie Cochran was a huge influence for the up and coming British guitar players of the sixties. Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, John Lennon, and Pete Townshend. He was huge in the UK. He was one of the big 50s guitar heroes. He broke through with the song “Summertime Blues” in 1958 that peaked at #8 in the  Billboard 100 and he also did well with C’mon Everybody. He was never really big in America… he was a bigger star in Europe.

He didn’t use his guitar as a prop like some did…he played it and played it well. He also worked as a session musician. He helped bring rock guitar along in more ways than just his playing. He was one of the first to modify his pickups and he did away with the wound G string on the guitar. He replaced it with an unwound string which made it easier to bend. Many future musicians were paying attention, sitting on the front row of his British tour.

His influence can be heard throughout rock and roll…It was because Paul McCartney knew the chords and words to “Twenty Flight Rock” that impressed John Lennon to asked Paul to become a member of the Quarrymen.

During a British tour in 1960, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Sharon Sheeley (Eddie’s fiancé), and tour manager Pat Thompkins were in a taxi. They were leaving a show in Bristol, England to go to the London Airport…the taxi hit a lamp post and Eddie was thrown from the car and suffered a head injury and died in a hospital. He was only 21 years old. Gene Vincent received injuries to his already bad leg and walked with a limp after the crash. Eddie was the only one to die.

Sharon Sheeley was a songwriter. She wrote Ricky Nelson’s first hit “Poor Little Fool” and a couple of songs (Love Again and Cherished Memories) for Cochran.

There are a couple of stories about Eddie’s Gretch guitar. A 13-year-old Marc Feld met Cochran outside the Hackney Empire, a theater in the London borough of Hackney, where Cochran had just played a concert. Cochran allowed the boy to carry his guitar out to his limousine. Later Marc Feld would be known as… Marc Bolan of T Rex.

After the crash the guitar was impounded at a London police station…a young policeman used it to teach himself how to play. That policeman’s name was David Harman, but he would soon change his name to Dave Dee and help start a band called Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich…One of the soon to be British Invasion bands.

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Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

64 thoughts on “Eddie Cochran 50s Guitar Hero”

  1. I have the Eddie Cochran The Story cd within arms reach as I read this. Got to wonder another big what if- he was so young when he died. The late 50s early 60’s- kind of spooky. If there had been a conspiracy to destroy rock and roll music they couldn’t have done a better job at trying- Buddy Holly’s death- Chuck and Jerry Lee’s women problems, Eddie Cochran’s car accident, Elvis goes to the Army, Little Richard abandons the music for the church… I am sure off the top of my head I am missing a something else… If not for Eddie Cochran— the first thing that Paul did that impressed John on the greatest day of the 20th century- was he knew the words and chords to Twenty Flight Rock.

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    1. The Alan Freed payola didn’t help either. Then all the fans were left with vanilla Pat Boone, Fabian, and others that had no soul. It’s like the great were purged.
      Yes that meeting changed everything.
      The Beatles wiped the slate clean and changed everything.

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      1. Off topic- Kershaw pitches a gem! Great to see… Yes what could go wrong back then did go wrong- got to wonder if The Beatles hadn’t come along…..they were a game changer.

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      2. I was not only happy they won but happy for him.
        The only thing that was going on was Motown and them alone would not have been able to make such a change. They were not as accessible as The Beatles. The Beatles and Motown helped each other I’ve always thought.

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      3. Rock needed a big bang to revive it- and The Beatles were it…. yes happy for Clayton- tired of all the naysayers knocking him- hope his post season continues to be like last night- put that talk to rest.

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      4. I hope so also. His fastball is down but that curve still works and he mixed it well…They showed Sandy Koufax and I swear I would never know the man is in his eighties…he looks much younger.

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      5. Sandy has always looked great for his age. What a classy guy. .. Kershaw is a smart pitcher he will adjust- Maddux was always successful as a painter- he never threw that hard. I think health is the major issue- hopefully he can stay healthy!

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      6. Many people think he is still hurt because the big drop if I recall came in July when he was hurt again. But yea you are right…it’s more about location and mixing pitches.

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      7. I think the Dodgers will use him correctly- the days of pitchers throwing over 100 pitches a game etc are long over. If he can give them a good 7 at 100 pitches they will be happy. I think he will be able to adjust. Some can’t but I see him doing well if his back cooperates.

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      8. had a debate with a guy on twitter who doesn’t think Blake snell should win AL Cy Young despite being 21-5 with an ERA below 2. His argument- he never goes beyond 6 innings. And I say, yeah, I like the old days when there were Roy Halladays at least, if not Nolan Ryans and Wilbur Woods- guys who WANTED to finish what they start. But those days seem to be in the past- I was shocked this year looking at boxscores how many starters got yanked after 4 innings, pitching a solid game…

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      9. You will never see those days again. With the money tied into the pitchers now…Kershaw is one that wants to go but they don’t let him because of his back troubles.

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      10. I think Snell is the Cy Young.. and I am not sure it is the pitchers to blame. I think if Bob Gibson were around today- he wouldn’t be pitching complete games either- it is how management has decided to use the pitchers. .. I think baseball is changing as it always has- the TB way this year is going to become the norm. I don’t know if that is either good or bad- but different.

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      11. It’s turned into a battle of the bullpens now. I hate to see a pitcher in a groove yanked out but when you have 20-30 million locked into that pitcher you want him to last.
        Saying that…I never thought it was good to let a pitcher throw 160 pitches a game just to complete it.

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      12. I think they are still stumbling around to find out what is the best way to use a pitcher- some pitchers in the past were built to go 9- and pitch 300 innings a year- some broke down. The “Get Off Of My Lawn” crowd forgets the many pitchers who broke down due to overuse- and like to think everyone could. Denny McLain never threw a pitch in his 30’s- a lot of people like to say it was his wild life style- but fact was his arm was dead…

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      13. The pitching coach of the Braves in the 90s was on the other side. He thought pitchers should pitch at least once every day to strengthen their arms. You are right though. Some can pitch many innings like Ryan but how many pitchers are you going to go through finding out who can do it.

        There is no magic number of pitches during a game.

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      14. There is a book out there I read a couple years ago- that is just about pitchers- and how they are used- excellent book – The Arm by Jeff Passan- one of the pitchers he writes about is Daniel Hudson- and how he has dealt with multiple Tommy John’s… the book covers all the theories on how to use a pitcher and how they have been used in the past– and the book concludes there is really NO answer at present. The arm wasn’t made for throwing a baseball and every arm is different as far as what it can take..

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      15. That sounds interesting..
        .Look at Urias for the Dodgers. They did everything but pitch for him and it still didn’t work…a major surgery so young.
        I don’t know if there will ever be an answer. It will always vary from pitcher to pitcher.

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      16. In the book he talked how- if they wanted to bring back the 300 inning a year guy- they could- the last i think we Carlton in like 1983- but it would be an experiment- some guys would make the cut- some would blow their arms out- …. all it takes is one team do try something different and have it work and everyone will do it- like the bullpen game and TB this year… I have always found it interesting how rooted baseball is in the past- in the NFL new developments are accepted and praised- in baseball- slow to change. I really don’t care how fast the ball comes off the bat etc- and being told about it- but I can see where teams can use this info and am all for that- just don’t need to hear about it constantly.

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      17. Yes we have been statcast to death. Baseball does play off it’s past more than Football. Watching a game now would be similar as getting into a time machine and watching a game in the 50s…Football it would be very different.
        I guess people want the continuity that baseball provides…
        Minor Leagues tried a new thing where in extra innings you get a runner at second to start off… I don’t see it happening though.

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      18. I am not against change- but the starting a runner at second base in extra innings- is junk- it’s like putting video gaming into the olympics- just wrong in every way.

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      19. Oh no I don’t agree either…of course its about one thing…making the game faster. I don’t understand that. An NFL game can last forever…the last two minutes can be an enternity….
        Some things like coaches visits to the mound I don’t mind them trimming back but don’t mess with the fundamentals.

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      20. They can cut minutes off- by getting rid of the songs between hitters- but they don’t want to do that because it is entertainment. Yes dont mess with the way the game is played- but some small things can be worked on. Sometimes I think baseball is its worst enemy- they are always talking about these things like time of game. … yes my will ask me how many minutes to go in the game and i will say 2 minutes-[nfl game] and she will say that will take a half hour! usually it does.

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      21. She is on the money with that remark….
        Baseball does get in it’s own way most of the time. If they would just use common sense and not try to be radical…like the extra innings ploy…

        Football and Baseball don’t get judged in the same light whatsoever. Now though people are looking at football a little differently than before because of the CTE…and Bob Costas remark turned some heads.

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      22. Football is in trouble- they might not really know it but they are- just a matter of time.. boxing was one of the most popular sports in American..

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      23. When I say this to a football fan I’m laughed at but yes they are in trouble. Not as many kids are playing now and that is a fact…and that is where the development begins…the source is getting cut off.

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      24. What happens when the lawsuits start involving high schools. I have a friend whose son played high school ball- and not a lot of it- got a terrible concussion and ten years later is still suffering some effects. What happens- high schools will quit playing the sport…. the NFL acts like nothing is wrong. I have a problem when you see these old former players suffering and the NFL tries to say -the problem really isn’t that bad… getting hit in the head thousands of times isn’t going to do anyone well..

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      25. If high schools stop…that will be the end… They always act like there is no problem at all. They now center on concussions but the main Doctor has already said.. concussions are not the only thing…it’s the everyday beating. I know many parents who will not let their kids play now. Back in the early 2000s Bailey was asked to play but he never was interested in football much. My wife would have not have liked it. She worked as a medical transcriptionist for almost 30 years and typed up many football injuries to kids…

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      26. There are players in the NFL who I really think don’t like playing… when have you seen MLB or NBA players retiring early like you do in the NFL_ some of them aren’t even suffering from visible injuries at the time—I think a lot of the players play because they are good at it and make a lot of $- so they play. I played one year in Junior High and didn’t enjoy it much so I only played one year. 20 years ago few would have been opposed to their kid playing- those days are over. If I had a son I wouldn’t want him to play. There are other better alternatives.

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      27. Jake Locker is one I know about because of the Titans…he had rich offers but got out while still intact… The Jurnior High School coach drove my bus I rode on…he played for Bear Bryant in the 40s or 50s and tried to talk me into playing…I saw their practice…hitting dummys all day and not playing the game much…I kept telling him no…I’ll stick with baseball.

        Just like boxing…it’s the money but is money worth the thought of what could happen? You have retired NFL players in their 20s with headaches and ringing in their ears.

        We didn’t know about CTE’s at that time but when I thought about it…kids are just developing then…one wrong land or hit…even at that age could affect you the rest of your life….could happen in any sport but the odds go way up in football.

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      28. They had to know back then that this wasn’t a good thing. I remember the high school coach cornering me and a friend and trying to talk us into playing- neither of us were interested. When former players- and some who were great players say they wish they had never played or if they had to do it over they wouldn’t… makes you think.. Who knows how many concussions some of these players have suffered a lot of the time they just ignore it and go on- especially years ago. That was the mentality.

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      29. Shake it off, Tough it out… Not only troubles with that but just walking right without horrible pain. Yea they had to know that…common sense would say so.

        The NFL is like the mafia… no bad press or else you won’t cover us anymore… they are the most arrogant of all the leagues.

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      30. Put some ice on it…..i agree with you on the NFL- i see they just gave Junior Seau’s kids a payoff no doubt part of it is- you say nothing more!

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      31. I’ve always said that too and few people seem to notice it. If I tune in for a TV show and a football game is going late, if there’s 3 minutes left on the clock Iknow I’m probably not going to see my show at all. I even saw, at last, a column in the football mecca of central Texas stating clearly that Baylor college games , and other football games, are just too darn long these days

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      32. 160 is probably excessive, but while I think you’re right about the mentality behind the new way of playing, I think their theory is wrong. If injuries were just a result of too many innings or pitches we shouldn’t see so many relievers getting Tommy John surgery or pitchers blowing out their arms in May when they’re at about 40 innings. Not sure what the answer is, but I think the training and conditioning needs questioning these days

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      33. What doesn’t help also is kids playing baseball in spring, summer and fall leagues. Position players are fine but pitchers…that is a lot of innings on young developing arms before they even reach high school.

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      34. absolutely. There are bound to be some lazy dudes there in the clubhouse, but I think most starters want to stay out there and win and are irked when they see the manager come out of the dugout 45 minutes into the game…

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      35. never got to see a whole lot of G.Maddux and haven’t seen many Kershaw games thus far but both are great. I liked Maddux a lot more than the prototypical fireballers of that era

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      36. I liked Maddux because he was such a painter- smarts of course he had great talent but he wasn’t going to survive by just throwing the ball past anyone with a fastball.

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      37. I haven’t heard that name in forever…I remember him on the California Angels. It must be so hard not to have that weapon you have been using since a kid.

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      38. I remember when he came up at like 20 or 21 and was a real fireballer- had arm problems and was able to adjust. Imagine Tanana and Ryan in the early 70’s for the Angels… or JR Richard and Nolan briefly with the Astros. The most feared of those two was JR Superstar.

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      39. Oh JR he was just awesome. Someone said that he was the hardest pitcher at the time to hit against. He was a big man and could bring it. He had enough wildness to scare you.

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      40. A lot of hitters told their manager they weren’t feeling too well- need a day off- on the day JR pitched. It seemed like when he released the ball he was right up on the hitter. I think his illness- which everyone at the time accused him of faking- until he had the stroke- was a turning point in how teams treated players. I remember reading stories how people thought he was jaking it- just being a complainer- then it turns out he was telling the truth. .. I always remember the Pirates announcer Bob Prince always went on and on about him- and always called him by his full name- James Rodney Richard!

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      41. He deserved full respect. I just read an article on him a week or so ago and his wife of the time was talking about that. He would tell the trainers he had a dead arm and they just kept sending him out…he lost feeling in some of it…I remember the news of his stroke…just sad.

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      42. Never through another pitch in a game. If I recall they said his depth perception was shot- which would be dangerous for a pitcher so close to a hitter.

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      43. The Astros had some great teams then also…no telling what they could have won. He is one pitcher that could jump into todays game and still win I think.

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      44. I agree…. can you imagine going into a 3 game series and facing JR- then Joe Niekro and then Ryan- that would put your hitters out of sync for weeks.

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      45. I just started to laugh…thinking about seeing those high 90s fastballs and then here comes the knuckleball floating everywhere. Not just any knuckleball but one of the best. That would have been tough.
        I like knuckleball pitchers…I think there should be more. They can give you a lot of innings without hurting their arm. If you get a RA Dickey who can sneak a high eighties fast ball in…you have a good 4th or 5th pitcher most years.

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      46. They said Hoyt Wilhelm who was pitching at 49 i think- was finished not because of his arm having any issues but his legs went- I agree wish there were more knuckleballers- teams just don’t have the patience to develop them and stay with them…. I remember how stupid the Pirates were casting aside who went to the Red Sox and won 186 games there. Was he an ace? Not really but he was a good pitcher and an innings eater- bullpen saver…. I still think instead of bringing in Stan Belinda in 1992 Game 7 9th inning Leyland should have brought in Wakefield. I don’t agree with the answer he gave- ” we have done it this way all year etc..”–Beliinda was one of those star struck players- when he came in I should have went to bed…

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      47. That is a painful memory…not as painful to me as to you but I didn’t want the Braves to win at all and I wanted another Pirates World Series. I still can see it happening.
        I don’t agree with that answer either. The playoffs are different period.

        Yea that was a bad mistake to let Wakefield go. He was a tireless worker on getting better…I thought with Dickey’s success a few years back that we would see more.

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      48. It is a shame the only thing teams care about is how fast on the radar gun a guy can throw.. there are probably a number of pitchers who don’t get the opportunity they deserve because of that… I hope Urias can come back- it would be a shame if such a promising young arm- was done before he began.. reminds me of Juan Nieves with the Brewers back in the day.

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      49. He pitched in releif at the end but with 5 days in between. He was actually hitting 94 but they didn’t want to chance it with him or he would be on the roster right now. He pitched very well.

        I agree… it’s movement and location

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      50. If it were Tommy John he had I wouldn’t be worried for him- but those shoulder injuries- back in spring training the Brewers were counting on Jimmy Nelson being back at the ASG- he never made it back- now they hope to get him back on the mound in the fall..

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      51. Yes Tommy Johns are expected now and they have it down pat…that is what worried me when he got hurt. Ryu had a shoulder issue and it took him 3 years to get back to what he was…

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      52. haven’t understood why there aren’t more pitchers who aren’t overpowering trying to learn the knuckleball at least to add to their regimen. Anything really unusual seems to work because hitters don’t expect it…. sidearm pitchers , for example

        Liked by 1 person

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