Book provides peek inside life of Eddie Cochran

Published 4:59 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Book centers around artifacts from singer’s former home

A new biography is coming out regarding Albert Lea’s most famous musical son, Eddie Cochran.

“We’ve been able to create a book with Omnibus, and the book has actually been licensed,” said Simon Green, creative director of Killertone Records, a UK-based music company.

The book — “Eddie Cochran In Person” — comes out Oct. 5.

Email newsletter signup

The idea for the book came about when Green and his partner at Killertone, Sonny West, purchased the contents of a storage locker that contained artifacts from Cochran’s former home in Bell Gardens, California.

Amongst the collection were demos, letters, memorabilia and photos among other things. Green saw the locker as the opportunity to bring Cochran’s story to life through images of Cochran’s childhood.

“[The book] covers his whole life,” he said. “Obviously it’s quite a short life, but it does cover his whole life. There’s quite a lot about the music, the tour he played in England.”

Cochran, who was born in Albert Lea in 1938, died in a car crash in England in 1960.

The book also touches on his younger life and his formative influences.

“There hasn’t been a really widely-publicized biography of him,” he said, describing it as a “proper” biography with images from his home that helped it stand apart from other biographies.

These photos also hadn’t been seen before.

Alongside photos from Cochran’s home, Green described Lee Bullman — author of the text — as a “lifelong rock ’n’ roll rockabilly fan.”

“He’s written the text that’s basically the story of Eddie’s life, and it starts off basically in Albert Lea,” he said.

Green started working on the biography 18 months ago, and because of their relationship with Omnibus Publishing, whose managing editor was a fan of rockabilly music, an Omnibus representative came to his store excited by the material presented. His goal in the book: He wants to show why Cochran’s music was timeless and relevant.

“A lot of people know ‘C’mon Everybody’ or ‘Summertime Blues’ or something else, but they don’t necessarily know Eddie’s story,” he said. “They also don’t understand the music that was created all those years ago still sounds utterly contemporary and has been covered by all sorts of contemporary artists almost every year.”

Cochran also played a role in influencing such artists as The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who went to see him on his “A Fast Moving Beat Show” English tour, with Green noting they were “profoundly” influenced by him. Cochran and Gene Vincent headlined the show.

“They were playing with some of the best British musicians of the day as a backing band,” he said.

According to Green, there’s also an exhibition in Kent, England, that came from the contents of the locker. The exhibit includes some of Cochran’s clothes, photos and demos that Cochran listened to.

Some of the items Cochran kept included a copy of the program from a 1967 Australian tour with Little Richard.

Inside, there was writing from Little Richard, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps and anyone associated with that tour.

“That’s the kind of thing that makes it really unique with these things that nobody’s seen before,” he said. “Of course, Little Richard had the most beautiful handwriting.”

Killertone Records is a British Rock ’n’ Roll, Rhythm and blues record label.

The book’s American publisher is Weldon Owen.

Copies of the book can be ordered here.