Eddie Cochran gets a blue memorial plaque at the venue of his last ever show

23 May 2023, 10:46

Trailer for The Girl Can’t Help It – featuring Eddie Cochran

By Mayer Nissim

Eddie Cochran died in a car crash on the way to London when he was just 21.

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As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, Eddie Cochran was up there with anyone as one of the greatest and most influential musicians of the rock 'n' roll era.

Just 14 months after the death of Buddy Holly, Eddie tragically died in a car crash in England.

Eddie had just played his last ever show at the Bristol Hippodrome – which still stands today – when he, fiancée Sharon Sheeley and tour manager Patrick Tompkins got into a private cab.

The speeding car crashed into a concrete lamppost in Chippenham, and Eddie died from his injuries the following day.

There has long been a memorial on Rowden Hill marking the spot where Cochran died, and now the British Plaque Trust has installed a blue plate at the Hippodrome itself.

"Eddie Cochran 1938-1960. Singer, songwriter & guitarist. Played his last concert at the Bristol Hippodrome. 16th April 1960," reads the plaque.

Broadcaster Mike Read, a member of the Trust, told BBC Radio Bristol of Eddie: "He remains popular here, and after 60 years, it is incredible that he is still remembered and loved.

"We tend to do that with our rock and roll idols. We still revere them after all this time, which is lovely."

Eddie Cochran
Eddie Cochran. Picture: Getty Images

He added: "After Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens died, Eddie kept saying he had a premonition that he might die young and was terrified.

"He didn't want to go on the road too much if he could help it; he'd rather stay in the studio, write and create.

"He was an excellent guitarist and an excellent writer. I think they both wanted to spend more time in the studio."

Eddie Cochran - Twenty Flight Rock

Read said of Eddie and Buddy: "You don't know whether they'd have remained those icons had they lived.

"It's one of those strange things about dying young. They remain forever young, and they remain a teenage icon."

A portrait of Eddie Cochran
A portrait of Eddie Cochran. Picture: Getty Images

Fellow musician Georgie Fame, who had been playing the Hippodrome the same night as Eddie, was also present at the unveiling.

"We went through Bath on the A4, so we missed the accident. In those days, news didn't travel so fast, certainly on a Sunday," he told the BBC about the fateful night.

"It was Easter Monday when we actually really heard it and it was a terrible shock because he was an extremely talented guy."

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