Latest posts by Michael Gerber (see all)
- From Faith Current: “The Sacred Ordinary: St. Peter’s Church Hall” - May 1, 2023
- A brief (?) hiatus - April 22, 2023
- Something Happened - March 6, 2023
The venerable BBC documentary series “Arena” is my television happy place. It’s really an unparalleled trove for people interested in a certain era of American and European culture. Last night, as I recovered from Moderna shot #2, I happened upon this documentary about early rock and roller Eddie Cochran. Eddie was one of the early influences on the Fabs, as well as the man behind “Twenty Flight Rock,” reputedly the song that convinced John to let Paul into the band. Well worth a watch, if you’re into such stuff.
Eddie has been on my mind lately because there’s a TV commercial (I have no idea what they’re selling) that features his C’mon Everybody.
And last month a friend alerted me to this: Eddie’s personal belongings (Gold Discs, family albums, fan club memorabilia, original artwork, unseen photos from his last tour and even love letters to Eddie from his fiancée, Sharon Sheeley) are in the news.
They had been left in Eddie’s bedroom for decades as sort of a shrine. until his mother died in 1994, and his sister passed in 1999. Then they were moved to a storage locker and apparently forgotten.
You know where this story is going. Eventually, the locker company realized no one was paying rent, and so the contents went up for auction. Someone bought the whole thing for $300!
My personal belief is that Eddie had more talent in his little finger than Elvis had in his entire pelvis:
It just goes to show, though. No matter who you are or what you accomplish, eventually your prized possessions will end up forgotten in a storage locker somewhere.
“After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.” – 1 Timothy 6:7
@Sam, you gotta watch the doc. There’s a portion with his mom, who talks about the shrine. The scene with her and Eddie’s guitar is…there’s an amusing moment.
Yes, the part where she tries to demonstrate the whammy bar. As sad as the whole interview is, that part is amusing. You can see a flash of the humor he inherited from her.
As opposed to some of those Cochran disciples! 1980s guys frozen in the 1950s like insects in amber. There’s something vaguely depressing about how they loiter around in their tacky teddy boy costumes. They miss the point that Eddie was a forward looking guy, constantly evolving and changing, and would have have continued to evolve! Yet with all their hero worship, that’s the part they seem to overlook…
Sam, I’ve seen that commercial too and I wracked my brain trying to remember which car commercial it was on. It came on a few minutes ago and it was a Hershey’s commercial!
I was thinking Eddie could have done well in the 1960s if he stayed with rock and roll and didn’t attempt a crossover to appeal to a larger audience. He wrote his own songs which would have given him an edge. Summertime Blues was kind of radical for the conventional 1950s as someone in the documentary mentioned. I like Buddy Holly’s rockers, but his later slow, love songs don’t do much for me.
Will M, I agree Eddie could have done well in the ’60s if he kept writing good songs, and moved away from producers like Snuff Garrett.
Here’s a quote from Sharon Sheeley:
Buddy Holly had planned to open his own recording studio in Texas, where he was to produce his own songs. I’m not sure if his plans included working with Dick Jacobs again. (Jacobs was the guy in NYC who added the lush orchestration to Buddy’s last records.)
Both Eddie and Buddy intended to move forward into the 1960s with as much creative control as they could take.
There’s an interesting interview with Eddie Cochran on youtube. Johnny Bond is the interviewer:
Bond: I’m gonna ask you a question, you may not want to answer it, maybe you don’t know the answer, but I’m gonna ask you anyway. How long do you predict that rock ‘n roll music will stay?
Cochran: I think actually rock ‘n roll will be there for quite some time, but I don’t think it’s gonna be rock ‘n roll as we know it today.
Bond: Do you think rock ‘n roll is something new?
Cochran: No, I don’t. I think it’s been around for a long time, but nobody actually recognized it.
The Beatles were fortunate in two ways: First, they were lucky enough to survive touring. No drivers or pilots killed them. Second, George Martin never took the liberty of adding additional instrumentation to their records without their permission.
I found an old comment I left here 10 years ago, and I decided to resurrect it for this thread:
As a lifelong fan of the Marx Brothers, I recently stumbled upon a tribute website to Harpo, put together by Harpo’s son Bill (who is a musician/songwriter). I sent him an email full of questions about Harpo. (For example, I didn’t know that Harpo actually played harp on a Mahalia Jackson recording in 1961!)
I was curious about Harpo’s opinion about Rock ‘n Roll, specifically Elvis, Eddie Cochran, The Everlys, Buddy Holly. He was gracious enough to send this reply:
“Thanks so much for checking in. Dad passed away in 1964. A year prior, he told me that the Beatles would be the biggest R&R act in the world. He was incredibly perceptive about and very open to all kinds of music, and because I was with the same record label as Eddie Cochran, we heard a lot of him around the house. I am so glad you have a love for dad and his brothers. It is much appreciated.
Best of the best, Bill Marx.”