Eddie Cochran – Twenty Flight Rock

Many of us don’t learn about artists first-hand during the artist’s lifetime. We take a journey down a river that twists and turns and we find some artists that we would ordinarily never hear about. I got to know Eddie Cochran’s music through The Who. The Who covered Summertime Blues and I wanted to know where that song came from…after reading and finally finding his music I learned about Mr. Cochran. From Eddie Cochran I learned some about Gene Vincent and the story goes on and on.

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.  Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Pete Townshend. He was huge in the UK. He was one of the big 50s guitar heroes.

I first heard 20 Flight Rock by Paul McCartney and then I heard The Rolling Stones cover it. Again I wanted to know the original and I was not disappointed. No offense to Paul or Mick but it’s hard to beat the original by Eddie Cochran. I can’t imagine being in the audience watching the movie “The Girl Can’t Help It” in the 1950s. Fats Domino, Little Richard, and then up comes this fair-haired man playing this fantastic song…not to mention seeing Jayne Mansfield parade around.

He was a guitar hero before the term was ever used. The song was released in 1957 and was written by Eddie Cochran and Ned Fairchild. It didn’t chart but was appreciated more in the UK at the time.

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.

A couple of stories to come out about one of Eddie’s guitars

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.

20 Flight Rock

Ooh, well I got a girl with a record machineWhen it comes to rockin’ she’s the queenWe love to dance on a Saturday nightAll alone where I can hold her tightBut she lives on the twentieth floor uptownThe elevator’s broken down

So I’ll walk one, two flight, three flight, fourFive, six, seven flight, eight flight, moreUp on the twelfth I’m startin’ to dragFifteenth floor I’m a-ready to sagGet to the top, I’m too tired to rock

When she calls me up on the telephoneSay, come on over honey, I’m all aloneI said, baby you’re mighty sweetBut I’m in bed with the achin’ feetThis went on for a couple of daysBut I couldn’t stay away

So I’ll walk one, two flight, three flight, fourFive, six, seven flight, eight flight, moreUp on the twelfth I’m startin’ to dragFifteenth floor I’m a-ready to sagGet to the top, I’m too tired to rock

Well, they sent to Chicago for repairsTill it’s a-fixed I’m a-usin’ the stairsHope they hurry up before it’s too lateWant my baby too much to waitAll this climbin’ is a-gettin’ me downThey’ll find my corpse draped over a rail

But I’ll climb one, two flight, three flight, fourFive, six, seven flight, eight flight, moreUp on the twelfth I’m startin’ to dragFifteenth floor I’m a-ready to sagGet to the top, I’m too tired to rock


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

37 thoughts on “Eddie Cochran – Twenty Flight Rock”

    1. It is and I like it a lot…and Paul did a good version of it…I believe Paul did the first cover of it ever…I should have put that in there.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post, Max. “Twenty Flight Rock” is the type of song where just can’t sit still when listening to it. I didn’t realize Eddie Cochran died so early. Man, what a loss. My son is 21 and cannot even imagine what it would feel like…Also, like Buddy Hollie, you have to wonder what other great music we would have seen from Eddie Cochran, had his life not been taken from him.

    On a more upbeat note, have you heard about the upcoming Paul McCartney documentary? I just saw something on Facebook. Here’s another story about it:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Glad you liked it Christian and thank you.

      No I have never heard of that doc before…that is a must! It looks really good. I’m going to watch the Tom Dowd doc tonight.
      Thanks for letting me know about Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. To me, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent both are less recognized because they each sounded very much like another bigger name artist. I didn’t know any of that about Eddie’s influence on other guitar icons, or his death. What a heartbreaking tragedy. That is an astounding trail of connections, with his guitar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea they got lost in the mix. Vincent probably had the biggest hit between the two with Be bop a lula….which that song is magical to me.
      I love those stories about his guitar…funny how it involved two later famous musicians. But one thing for sure…the UK appreciated the 50s artists like these two more than America.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know…I just told someone else…the UK appreciated most 50s artists more than America. Buddy Holly included….I don’t get why America didn’t as much.


  3. Great write up, have been a fan for a long time, I discovered many like him as well via revivalists like Robert Gordon and Dave Edmunds and The Stray Cats. As always I learned something new, amazing how he lived on in his guitars. His “Summertime Blues” is one of the best songs of the season ever recorded.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you….I totally agree…. Summertime Blues is one of the best seaon songs.
      Like some other comments…him and Carl Perkins songs are better known by their covers.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post, Max! You probably already know this, but here’s one more story about “Twenty Flight Rock.” This was one of the songs that the 15-year-old Paul McCartney played to the 16-year-old John Lennon on the day they met. (July 6, 1957) Also, Sharon Sheeley, (Cochran’s fiancé’) was a songwriter. She wrote a song called “Poor Little Fool” that was recorded by Ricky Nelson. Nelson’s record stands as the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! I should have put that down. Lennon was impressed he knew the words and chords.

      A year ago or so I read that about Sheeley….she was very good. Just a sad story about Cochran and Vincent…it messed Vincent up for the rest of his life


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