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Summertime Blues   Eddie Cochran I just shoveled 7 inches of snow, so I'm trying to remember summer.
Tags: Summertime  Blues--Eddie  Cochran 
Added: 22nd February 2008
Views: 1761
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Posted By: Cliffy
Posted by: Naomi on 2008-02-22 
Now THIS was rock and roll!!

His life story reads like a movie script: From poverty to stardom, from hit records to movie contracts to an untimely death at age 21. Rock historians consider Eddie one of the most significant figures in rock music. Paul McCartney played one of Eddie’s songs on the guitar to audition for John Lennon’s group that later became The Beatles.

On Sunday, April 17, 1960, after a tour in the UK, Cochran, who had originally intended to catch a train to London after the show, abandoned the idea after learning that services from the West Country shut down at night. Instead, a cab was hired for the 100 mile journey.

The cab arrived littered with confetti and the driver, a 19 year old named George Martin, explained that it had been used for a wedding earlier in the day. After packing most of their baggage, Gene Vincent, Cochran, Sharon Sheeley and Pat Thompkins left their hotel at 11pm. The cab hurtled through the dark Wiltshire night at 70 mph winding its’ way through a series of small towns. At approximately midnight, they reached the outskirts of Chippenham, a small town 20 miles from Bristol. Passing under the narrow Chippenham railway viaduct, the car had to negotiate a gradual curve in the road leading up to a gentle uphill gradient called Rowden Lane. The road had recently been re-graveled and the driver, racing like crazy to get Eddie back, had taken a wrong turn and was doubling back on himself to Bristol. When Pat saw the road signs, he said, 'You’re going the wrong way, mate, and you should have turned left there somewhere. We’re going back where we came from.' So the driver hit the brakes.

Martin misjudged the curve of the road as the car emerged from the viaduct, lost control and hit the curb on the far side with his brakes locked. The impact spun the car around and it went into a backward skid, bouncing uncontrollably of the curb on both sides of the road, careening crazily for about 150 yards before impacting a concrete lamp standard. The impact snapped the rear left roof support away from the body and badly buckled the left rear panel which bore a perfect imprint of the lamp post. Cochran had was thrown upwards against the roof of the car by the force of the crash, then propelled on to the road as the door burst open on contact. Vincent sustained a broken collar bone while Sheeley received back injuries, while Martin and Thompkins emerged unharmed.

The injured passengers were rushed to St. Martin’s Hospital in Bath where they were treated by emergency staff. Cochran did not regain consciousness and died of severe brain lacerations at 4pm Easter Sunday, sixteen hours after the crash. Although his death made headlines in Britain, the news received only minor coverage in the US.

On Wednesday, April 20th after less than three days in the hospital, Vincent discharged himself with the apparent intention of flying back to Los Angeles with Cochran’s body. He immediately rang his mother in Norfolk, Virginia. Gene said 'Eddie and I started together and we’re coming home together'.

Eddie Cochran was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Cypress, California on Monday April 25, 1960.



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