Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochrane

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………………..on April 17th of 1960 Rock and Roll pioneer Eddie Cochran was just 21 years old when he was killed after the taxi in which he was riding blew a tire, then hit a lamp post. Cochran enjoyed hits with “Summertime Blues”, “C’mon Everybody” and “Sittin’ in the Balcony”. Gene Vincent, who recorded “Be Bop A Lula” in 1956, and Cochran’s fiancee, Sharon Sheeley, survived the crash. Their touring mate, Freddy Cannon, was supposed to be with them, but was running late and took another cab. From 1958 comes Eddie’s biggest hit “Summertime Blues”. Cochran wrote this with Jerry Capehart, a songwriter who was good friends with Cochran and helped him get a record deal. Capehart explained the inspiration for this song in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs issue: “There had been a lot of songs about summer, but none about the hardships of summer.” With that idea and a guitar lick from Cochran, they wrote the song in 45 minutes.This was supposed to be the B-side of “Love Again,” which was written by 17-year-old Sharon Sheeley. It was clear that this was the bigger hit, but Sheeley eventually became Cochran’s girlfriend. Sheeley provided the hand claps on this. She really wanted to do it, but had trouble getting the rhythm. Eddie helped her out by showing her how to clap. This was Cochran’s breakthrough hit. His previous singles didn’t do very well, but this gave him a lot of exposure and established him as a star. This song was a big influence on George Harrison. He had a picture of Cochran and wanted the same kind of guitar. The Who performed the song as a staple of their concerts from their early days up to 1976, with intermittent appearances thereafter. A version from their 1970 album Live at Leeds was released as a single peaking at #38 in the UK and #27 in the US. It was the only Who hit not written by Pete Townshend. The song peaked at #8 in the US and #18 in the UK. RIP Eddie.