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the pioneer of Dylan Studies; writer, public speaker, critic; became a Doctor of Letters in 2015 (awarded by the University of York, UK)

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Friday, October 03, 2008


Had he not died in that car crash in England in April 1960, Eddie Cochran, born in Oklahoma City OK, would have been 70 years old today. I couldn't quite justify squeezing him into The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia but I did managed to get him into Song & Dance Man III three times, and I can't imagine the young Bob Dylan not having liked his rock'n'roll hit singles. Aside from hits like 'C'Mon Everybody', my favourite couplet comes from an almost inevitable mishearing on his 'Drive In Show', recorded in Los Angeles in 1957. Of course he doesn't really sing
Bet my penis to a candy-bar
You'll look better than a movie star
but it certainly sounds like it.
The photograph shows Eddie's last birthday - his 21st - in Chadron, Nebraska, and I've taken it from the Rare Photos section of the website The Eddie Cochran Connection.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless Eddie. I always thought he was a far greater talent than Gene Vincent. It is so sad that so many of the original rock and roll pioneers died so young because I imagine they would have been able to musically survive the sixties intact wth no problem, particularly Buddy and Eddie given their excellent production and songwriting skills. Btw, I loved what you said about the Buddy singing style in 'When the Ship Comes In'. As for whether he would've joined Bob on stage, it's a certainty!

5:58 pm  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Agreed. Thanks for writing. Gene Vincent had a lovely voice, though. And when they combined in the studio, ie with Eddie producing Gene's version of Pistol Packin' Mama, the result was pretty good.

6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Cochran was born in OKC. I'm from OK, and I had never heard anything about him being from there until I read your post, so I was inspired to check it out. There seems to be substantial confusion on the point. Most sources seem to agree he was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota; as you recall, Dylan even mentions him being from Minnesota at the very end of Chronicles. He certainly had OKC connections, though. I haven't done any research to back up the following page's claims, but it seems accurate. I encourage you to check it out:

9:45 am  
Blogger Michael Gray said...

Thank you - it looks like you're right, and Sarah (my wfe) has also found him on the Minnesota Deaths Index, which is searchable. (It looks likely that his father was born in Oklahoma.

I'd forgotten that Eddie's Minnesota origin is mentioned in Chronicles Volume One.

I'm only surprised that the birthplace I assigned him is wrong because I took it, as I so often do with birth and death dates, from the database of Eric LeBlanc, whose level of accuracy and scrupulousness in these matters is phenomenally good.

Anyway, thank you again.

11:41 am  

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