"The Very Best of Eddie Cochran" gives us a performer who is no little known, and that's a shame. Eddie Cochran was an influential 1950's rocker; he was in on the birth of rockabilly, which we might define as simply country music with a rock beat, typically sung by a country singer. Or as an up-tempo rock tune featuring guitar, and one lead singer. His career began in 1956 with "Summertime Blues," included on this record, which he co-wrote, a tale of teenage angst, desire, and anger if ever there was one. It reached number 18 on the Billboard Pop charts, and sold more than a million copies. He followed it with "Sitting in the Balcony," and "Come On, Everybody" equally adept summations of teen life. He had a characteristic sound, driving guitars, tambourine, and hand claps, and was considered a virtuoso guitarist by many. Rock journalist Bruce Eder has described him as "Rock's first high-energy guitar hero, forerunner to Pete Townshend, Jimmy Page, Duane Allman, and, at least in terms of dexterity, Jimi Hendrix." His work, then and now, has always been most popular, and most influential, in the United Kingdom.
Unfortunately, while on tour in the U.K. he died in 1960, at the shockingly young age of twenty-one. He was in a taxi on the A4; the driver lost control. The driver was convicted of dangerous driving, fined £50, sent to prison for six months, and disqualified from driving for fifteen years. However, Cochran never got much past his teen years; we'll never know what he might later have done. All his hits from the 1950s are here, and they are electrifying: he was one of the great 1950's rebels. He's now little-remembered, but surely worth checking out.
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