Eddie Cochran: A sad day 53 years ago….Memories by Vince Eager


Singer Vince Eager has been recalling the day 53 years ago when his friend Eddie Cochran died in a Bath hospital.
He and Paulton-based record producer Alan Wilson recently visited the memorial stone remembering Cochran´s death at St Martin´s Hospital.
The memorial stone was originally set up by the Eddie Cochran Memorial Trust Fund, and took Eager back in time to Easter Sunday April 17 1960, the last time he had been at the hospital.
That was the day that Cochran died, after a car carrying him, Gene Vincent and Sharon Sheeley back to London had crashed at Rowden Hill in Chippenham the night before.
Eager, who was born Roy Taylor in 1940, and who had started off in the musical world by setting up a skiffle group with friends in 1957/8 called the Vagabonds, first met Cochran after becoming a member of music impresario, Larry Parnes´stable. He had to change his name to Vince Eager, as he joined the likes of Marty Wilde, Billy Fury and Dicky Pride.
He had also become a familiar face on TV appearing in popular television shows of that time, such as Oh Boy and the Six Five Special.
He toured the UK with various shows featuring such stars as Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent and Cochran, first meeting the latter in January 1960.
He said Cochran had looked ´like a cross between James Dean and Elvis.´
They became good mates, and Eager said: ´I guess I knew Eddie better than most of the UK artists as during the one-nighter tour we would travel and hang out a lot together.
´He was also an admirer and his opinion of my work gave me a great lift when I most needed it.
´Not only was he an amazing guitarist, he was generally a brilliant musician who could play guitar, bass and drums equally well. He was also very generous guy who enjoyed passing on his knowledge to other musicians.´
Eager heard about the accident while at Heathrow airport on Easter Sunday, waiting to meet Cochran and Vincent for a trip across the Atlantic.
Eager travelled to the hospital and spoke to the surgeon whilst Cochran was still alive, but wasn´t allowed to go through and see him.
Eager found out about the memorial last year, while recording at Wilson´s Weston Star Recording studio in Paulton, and they agreed to visit it next time he was in the area.
Eager said :´I was surprised as I had no idea it was there, and I have great admiration for the people who put it there. It was so tastefully done and the setting was just right.
´The fact that it was a short distance away from where Eddie had passed away made it even more poignant. I found it very touching and quite overwhelmin´
He added: ´17th April 1960 was probably one of the worst days of my life.´
As he stood in front of the memorial slab, he pointed to the four words at the top, Never to be forgotten, and said:´That line says it all.´

source: Jerry Lee Lewis Forum

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