Ray Edward Cochran was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on October 3, 1938 to Frank and Alice Cochran. Called Eddie by his family members he showed an interest in music and before his teen years his older brother Bob introduced him to the guitar, that he instinctively enjoyed playing.
In 1951, the Cochran’s decided to move to Bell Gardens, California where Eddie’s natural curiosity drove him to research and experiment new sounds and techniques on guitar often picking them up by listening to Chet Atkins. At 16 years of age Eddie joined Hank Cochran, no relation to him, forming a country music duo called The Cochran Brothers with Hank singing and playing rhythm guitar and Eddie on lead guitar and adding vocal harmony. In 1955 they were appearing on the prestigious KLAC “Hometown Jamboree” and “Town Hall Party” but soon were booked on the “Big D Jamboree” in Dallas, Texas, where a new sensation Elvis Presley had appeared just days before. In 1956 Eddie and Hank appeared on “The California Hayride,” a TV show out of Stockton, California. Later that same year Eddie took his initial steps at becoming a solo artists by recording his first rockabilly song, “Pink Peg Slacks” that would open the door for him to a recording contract with Liberty records and his first motion picture appearance in “The Girl Can’t Help It” with sex bomb Jayne Mansfield where Eddie performed “Twenty Flight Rock.” Before the song could be released by Liberty, it was decided Eddie should record “Sittin’ in the Balcony,” that would become his first big hit record. It along with Eddie’s appearance also in the movie “Untamed Youth” soon made Eddie Cochran a new idol for American teens. As Eddie spent much of his time while not touring in the studio exploring new techniques and sounds, he created what would become a classic, “Summertime Blues” in 1958 that would become his signature recording. “C’mon Everybody” would follow that same year and in 1959 “Somethin Else” landed on the Hit Parade. After a tour of the mid-west Eddie returned to the studio to record, “Cut Across Shorty”, “Cherished Memories” and “Three Steps to Heaven” as he departed for England in the early 1960’s where he was met with each appearance by screaming and cheering fans including an unknown John Lennon and George Harrison who would later claim it was Eddie Cochran that gave them the spark to pursue a similar career. Cochran’s clean cut demeanor symbolized the pop idol of the era. Besides being known as an exciting performer, Eddie was also a genius with a guitar and wrote many of the songs he sang. England gave him the fame that had been missing in the states where Elvis Presley was king.
After an exhausting tour of the UK, on Easter Sunday 1960 Eddie Cochran, rushing by cab to catch a flight home to California would die at 21 years of age in a tragic automobile accident near Chippenham, England. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Cypress, California on Monday April 25, 1960.
Eddie Cochran was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.