was an American rock and roll pioneer who, in his brief career, had a small but lasting influence on rock music through his guitar playing. Cochran's rockabilly songs, such as "C'mon Everybody", "Somethin' Else", and "Summertime Blues", captured teenage frustration and desire in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He experimented with multitrack recording and overdubbing even on his earliest singles, and was also able to play piano, bass and drums. His image as a sharply dressed, rugged but good-looking young man with a rebellious attitude epitomized the stance of the Fifties rocker, and in death he achieved an iconic status.
Cochran was born in Minnesota and moved with his family to California in the early 1950s. He was involved with music from an early age, playing in the school band and teaching himself to play blues guitar. In 1955 he formed a duet with the unrelated guitarist Hank Cochran, and when they split the following year, Cochran began a song-writing career with Jerry Capehart. His first success came when he performed the song "Twenty Flight Rock" in the movie The Girl Can't Help It, starring Jayne Mansfield. Soon afterward, Liberty Records signed him to a recording contract.
Cochran died aged 21 after a road accident in the town of Chippenham, Wiltshire, during his British tour in April 1960. Though his best-known songs were released during his lifetime, more of his songs were released posthumously. In 1987, Cochran was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
One of the first rock and roll artists to write his own songs and overdub tracks, Cochran is credited also with being one of the first to use an unwound third string in order to "bend" notes up a whole tone—an innovation (imparted to UK guitarist Joe Brown, who secured much session work as a result) that has since become an essential part of the standard rock guitar vocabulary. Artists such as The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, Motörhead, Humble Pie, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Lemmy Kilmister, The Head Cat, The Damned, UFO (band), T. Rex, Stray Cats, Brian Setzer, Cliff Richard, The Who, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes, The Sex Pistols, Rush, Buck Owens, Tiger Army, Dion, Simple Minds, Guitar Wolf, Paul McCartney, Alan Jackson, Keith Richards & The X-Pensive Winos, and Jimi Hendrix have covered his songs.
It was because Paul McCartney knew the chords and words to "Twenty Flight Rock" that he became a member of The Beatles. John Lennon was so impressed that he invited Paul to play with his band The Quarrymen. Jimi Hendrix performed "Summertime Blues" early in his career, and Pete Townshend of The Who was heavily influenced by Cochran's guitar style ("Summertime Blues" was a Who live staple at one time and is featured on their Live at Leeds album). Glam rock artist Marc Bolan had his main Les Paul model refinished in a transparent orange to resemble the Gretsch 6120 guitar played by Cochran, who was his music hero. He was also a heavy influence on the nascent rockabilly guitar legend Brian Setzer from Stray Cats, who plays a 6120 almost like Cochran, whom he portrayed in the film La Bamba. Cochran is easily one of the first musicians, alongside Chuck Berry, whom the late Rory Gallagher was always quick to mention as a strong influence on his musical taste and performance.( From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)