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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things do go wrong, 25 Jun 2011
By 
Mr. M. Sanders "TX41" (Powys, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Things Do Go Wrong: Eddie, Gene and the UK Tour (Paperback)
For those of us interested in the original Rock and Roll artists of the 1950's, Eddie Cochran must surely stand out as one of the leading figures. Like Buddy Holly, Eddie was a versatile musician and composer. He played using the new multi-tracking studio techniques on many of his recordings contributing bass, Guitar, vocals and drums.

Eddie's output for his brief career was sizable, but in the USA where he had become famous, Rock and Roll was a waning star, unlike in the UK where it was popular, hence many US artists came to the UK to perform their music and generate record sales for their US labels to get them more studio time and career opportunities back home. Rock and Roll was seen as raucous, dangerous and subversive much as punk rock would be for another generation in the mid 70's 20 years later.

Eddie Cochran was one of those US stars on the UK Rock and roll package tours, along with artists like Gene Vincent. Both of these artists found themselves on a UK tour in early 1960 and this book recreates from testimonies from those on the tour, what was the real story behind what went on both on and off stage. Many of those backing musicians and tour artists would go on to become household names a few years later.

IF you just thought that Eddie and Gene just came over here in 1960, played and were involved in that infamous car crash in Chippenham, think again, There was a lot going on behind the scenes, Eddie Cochran was gaining back some popularity with Elvis in the Army, he had future plans for his life and career and he seemed to be ascending, on the flip side of the coin, Gene Vincent was having a rough time, having had problems with the Musicians union in America, he had no option but to tour the UK to be able to work because he was going down fast.

Gene Vincent was waning, although he could perform on stage, his off stage persona and lifestyle were quite self destructive, as stated by many contributors to the book. Eddie Cochran's fiance Sharon Sheeley didn't like Gene's behaviour and this book certainly is not shy in publishing what people said about Gene.

On Gene's part, the book is quite a sad read, his potential on stage was damaged by his life off stage, read the book for yourself to see what was really happening.

In a strange replay of the Buddy Holly death - cutting a journey short - Eddie too lost his life.

For those of us who love Eddie's music and Gene's too, at least we have those recordings to enjoy. Remembering the amazing sound of listening to the first time you heard a Gene or Eddie song should not diminish your enjoyment of their work or your memory of seeing them on film, now you have more of a picture of what went on off stage and that in their brief lives they have left music still regularly played on the radio today half a century later.

Who knows if Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran had lived, music might be different now.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things Do Go Wrong, 17 Aug 2010
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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This is a fascinating account of a UK tour, organised by the promoter Larry Parnes (why has nobody ever written his biography?) and including a varying stable of Parnes stars alongside the two headline US rockers Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. At that time it was unusual for American stars to come to the UK and there were many visa regulations and travel problems, which meant the stars had to rely on UK acts to back them and could not bring their own musicians. However, Leigh does a wonderful job of explaining why the tour was of interest to the men and also gives an interesting account of those early touring days, when there were virtually no motorways, few hotel comforts and train links were time consuming.

The book begins with a basic biography of Cochran and Vincent's life up to that point. Cochran and Vincent had met each other when they both appeared in "The Girl Can't Help It" and had been on a package tour to Australia together in 1957, as well as playing various other dates together and Cochran had appeared on Vincent's album. By the time of the tour in early 1960 though, things were not going as well for Vincent, always a volatile and difficult man. His career had slumped and lost purpose, whereas Cochran was poised for stardom.

Gene Vincent came to England in 1959, knowing his career had been thrown a lifeline. However, it was a culture shock - no late night television, few teenage programmes on either television or radio and few of the home comforts he was used to. There is no doubt that Parnes saw that Gene Vincent would be cheaper to book than most US stars; his latest records had not been hits (possibly due to DJ's refusing to push them) and his difficult behaviour caused him to fall out with many in the music business. After the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Cochran was wary of flying, which makes it strange that he agreed to travel to the UK. However, he seemed to work well with Vincent and, there is no doubt that both musicians made an effort to make the tour a success.

This then is the story of a tour which ended in tragedy, with the death of Cochran in a car accident. There are great memories from people who were there, such as Georgie Fame, Tony Sheridan, Joe Brown and Vince Eager. The author does a great job of recreating those days, of Gene Vincent's somewhat wild behaviour, of the constant pain he was under from his leg injury, of teenage pranks in hotel rooms which show just how young they were, of Sharon Sheeley's relationship with Cochran and the aftermath of the accident. Much of this book stemmed from research Spencer Leigh undertook for a play at the Liverpool Playhouse about the 1960 tour and I am glad he turned that work into a book, as it is a well written account of that tour and those times. I have long been a keen reader of Leigh's books about music, and the Beatles in particular. Let's hope that more of his books find their way onto kindle, as hopefully it will mean he reaches more readers. Lastly, this book was very well formatted, although you might need to increase the font size which, for some reason, was very small - however, this is easily remedied. Overall, this is a great find for anyone interested in the early days of rock and roll.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deatailed research, 27 Jun 2010
By 
K. Strachan (Kingston upon Thames, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Things Do Go Wrong: Eddie, Gene and the UK Tour (Paperback)
This is definitely worth a read. Spencer Leigh has researched his subject well and is clearly a fan of both Gene and Eddie. His book details the course of their last tour together culminating in Eddie's death in a road accident returning to London from the Bristol Hippodrome. Particularly interesting for British fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 10 Jun 2014
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great book i went to see gene vincent and eddy cockren at the manchester hipperdrom in the 60 tis so love the book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Things Do Go Wrong, 24 Feb 2014
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As a fan of the late great Eddie Cochran i just had to get this book. I suggest any other fans do the same
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4.0 out of 5 stars One for rock 'n'roll buffs, 19 Mar 2013
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O. J. Phillips (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Things Do Go Wrong: Eddie, Gene and the UK Tour (Paperback)
Good insight into the early days of 1960 when regrettably Eddie Cochran died that Easter. Good anecdotes and a great indication of how the likes of Buddy Holly and Cochran so influenced the British sound which became an invasion some four to five years later.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'm no expert on the period, but..., 9 July 2012
By 
E J Miller (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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... I loved this book. It brought back to mind my earliest memories of pop music in the late 50s / early 60s - something I'm interested in because I'm writing about the period myself.

I loved the insight offered into those early 'pop' tours: the impresarios, the agents, the musicians and the stars, the alcohol, the drugs, the rock and roll. The uncomfortable digs, dressing rooms, venues and transport issues on those early tours must have been torture for all the musicians and singers but especially for Gene Vincent, with his deformed leg.

This book is very well-researched, well written and sympathetic to the subject and it is such an easy read it will appeal to anyone interested in the music and the stars of the period. Definitely a 5* read for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A sad tale, 22 Aug 2014
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Interesting read, but a little dry. Although it had me laughing a couple times, ultimately it's a sad tale.
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Things Do Go Wrong: Eddie, Gene and the UK Tour
Things Do Go Wrong: Eddie, Gene and the UK Tour by John Firminger (Paperback - 1 Nov 2007)
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