Other Players

Eddie Cochran 1960 UK Tour

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Sixty years have passed since Eddie Cochran's UK tour. All are invited to follow and contribute to this timeline of that tour which will hopefully include some illustrative links, photographs and soundclips presented in chronological order, updated on each relevant matching date to get a real feel for the tour as it progressed.

We're a teensy bit late getting started, so let's catch up on the timeline so far.

8th January Eddie recorded three songs at Gold Star in Los Angeles- Cut Across Shorty, Cherished Memories and Three Steps to Heaven. Connie Guybo Smith, Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison accompanied Eddie. These were recorded on Ampex 3 track and beautiful stereo mixes exist of these songs.

10th January Eddie travelled by air to London Heathrow airport, trading the balmy blue skies of California for a bitter grey London in the grip of winter.

11th January Eddie attends a press junket at Decca to promote the tour and plug his latest single, Hallelujah I Love Her So. Impresario Larry Parnes and his roster of home-grown stars were in attendance. Also present was agent Hymie Zahl whose association with US agent Norm Riley enabled Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran to be hired for what was probably the first exclusively rock 'n' roll package to tour the UK. Hymie had terrible, terrible eyesight and greeted a blond Billy Fury effusively with a warm "Great to meet you Eddie!" before bumping into an equally blond Eddie Cochran and chatting amiably to his old chum "Billy Fury". Eddie must have been completely baffled. The famous photo of Eddie holding a telephone to his ear with a finger to his lips in a hush gesture was taken on this night.

January 12th-13th Eddie commences rehearsals for two 'Boy Meets Girls' television appearances to be transmitted on January 16th and 23rd. The show is hosted by Marty Wilde with the Vernons Girls. Musicians are Joe Brown, Eric Ford and Brian Daley on guitars, Alan Weighall on electric bass, Bill Stark on double bass, drums by Andy White and Don Storer, the fabulous Red Price on saxophone, the ever-enthusiastic Vernons Girls on backing vocals and orchestral overdubs by the Hallé Orchestra.

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Quiet at the back...

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Hallelujah I Love her So was released in the UK on the London label. It was originally recorded in a tough combo format with piano, drums, bass and sax accompaniment-

For the single release this song was augmented with (and softened by) a lush string arrangement, supervised by Snuff Garrett. Only 21 at the time and not a musician, he would soon lend his keen ear for a hit record to Bobby Vee and Johnny Burnette with similar sonic results and significant chart impact which shows the possible direction that Liberty Records were intending to keep Eddie Cochran relevant in the new decade-

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Fantastic. Thanks, Ade!

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Great thread! Thanks for the detailed info. 'Hallelujah I love her so' is on our setlist, as it is such a cool song. Looking forward to the next posts, keep it coming!

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In the audience for one of the very last shows -- it is said-- was a very young George Harrison and Paul McCartney, just taking it all in.

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January 14th-15th Eddie worked these two days recording for Boy Meets Girls, a music tv show which ran for 26 episodes, starting in September 1959 and finishing in March 1960. It was taped in Manchester at Granada Studios, a not-insignificant 200 mile journey from London. Eddie's first session filmed for the show was split over two episodes- #19 was transmitted on January 16th and #20 shown on January 23rd. All episodes were wiped and no copies have ever surfaced although some handsome stills show the exquisite lighting and imaginative staging utilised by the truly remarkable producer Jack Good. The audio has survived.

Jack Good noted how astute Eddie was with camera angles, lighting, other elements of production and how receptive he was to direction. He was anything but a novice when it came to presenting his image in the best possible light. Other than his cameo in The Girl Can't Help It (seen only on cinema release- it wouldn't air on tv until Sept 18th 1968 when the Beatles curtailed the recording of Birthday especially so they could watch it) Eddie had never been seen before in the UK. Yet it's hard to estimate the impact the Boy Meets Girls appearances had for even at a time when there were only two tv channels and 60% of households had a television set, the show would soon be cancelled presumably because of disappointing ratings.

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Jack Good is seen here on the right, wearing glasses.

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Joe Brown looks like a school-boy in this picture. I just looked up his age... he was still 18 at that time!

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Wow...... Great thread and wonderful information, ade..... Thank you!!

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Glad you're enjoying the thread so far folks. I'm going to put tomorrow's updates in tonight, if you'll forgive the conceit. Explanation- I'll be away on the road myself.

If anybody has further information or corrections, please do add them into the conversation.

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January 16th With only two networks, a Saturday night's television entertainment choice was binary on this date in 1960. ATC's Boy Meets Girls was pitted head-to-head against BBC's Juke Box Jury. Both were 30 minute shows. One was a Hit, the other was definitely a Miss and would be canned in March.

Jack Good's Boy Meets Girls show had a lot going for it- with excellent production values, pacy editing and exciting live studio performances it was, on paper, a far superior prospect to Juke Box Jury where a panel of judges would hear a selection of new releases and rate them as a Hit or Miss. Perhaps it was the paucity of genuine rock 'n' roll stars appearing on Jack Good's show, a situation remedied only too late by the Cochran/Vincent appearances; or maybe audiences took a twisted frisson of delight in the prospect of another hit-parade-hopeful being condemned on camera to a lifetime of obscurity by the Juke Box Jury's damnable verdict. One can't be sure (oh yes we can...). Ever resilient, Jack Good would dust himself down quickly from this setback and work on a new format, called 'Wham!'

At any rate, Eddie Cochran embraced the opportunity and performed four songs on this first appearance- Hallelujah I Love Her So (with a full orchestral arrangement overdubbed yesterday (!) by the Hallé Orchestra to match the single's production), C'Mon Everybody, Somethin' Else and Twenty Flight Rock. The conversation with Marty Wilde is supposed to to chummy and casual yet comes off a bit contrived, but the musical performances are strong and would get stronger with each episode. Twenty Flight Rock is hardly enhanced by the Vernons Girls' over-keen clucking and the crowd squeaks and squeals just when he really starts to play, but it is still fabulous and retains an electrifying impact. Eddie looks the business in extant photographs, wearing leather trousers and a collared light-coloured box jacket, fully lit on a raised podium with Joe Brown and the other musicians in atmospheric half-light.

Also worth noting is that in this first week in the UK, Eddie had yet to be seen in what would become his iconic outfit of leather trousers, check shirt, shiny waistcoat and fur-collar leather jacket. He's mostly been photographed wearing a crisp suit & tie and for this tv appearance, a light fabric box jacket and leather trousers (I believe it's on the second batch of Boy Meets Girls shows, filmed in February, that Eddie wears his signature Leather Cowboy Deluxe outfit on screen). It's perhaps not too much of a stretch to fancy that the more obviously macho look was at the suggestion of Jack Good, who certainly had a flair for style and had recently overhauled Gene Vincent's clothes along similarly theatrical lines. Does anybody know the definitive answer?

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Jack Good commented later on working with Eddie Cochran, "He had a very strong visual sense of how to present himself. He was in control. He would always know how he should look to make an impact and he would have made a wonderful actor. He was not your archetypal rock 'n' roller"

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January 16th-23rd Eddie returned to London, likely staying at a flat in Jermyn St which had been requisitioned for his and Gene Vincent's use. The next few days were spent rehearsing in Soho for the forthcoming live dates, starting in Ipswich on January 24th. It's not an impossible stretch to imagine the two stars would also take advantage of the Soho district's vigorous nightlife.

The common understanding is that Gene, Eddie and various members of Larry Parnes' stable of acts were backed by Marty Wilde's band, The Wildcats comprising Brian Bennett (Drums), Brian Locking (Bass), Tony Belcher and Jim Sullivan (Guitars). In fact it was a little more complicated than that. There were at least two more bands rehearsed-

The Beat Boys had Colin Green on Guitar, Vince Cooze on Bass, Red Reece on Drums, Billy McVay on Saxophone and 'Lance Fortune' aka Clive Powell aka Georgie Fame on piano.

The Wildcats and The Beat Boys would cover the week-long engagements.

Vince Eager's band, The Quiet Three would cover the one-night shows- Colin Green on Guitar (busy boy...), Jimmie Nicol (yes, that Jimmie Nicol, who covered for an absent drummer in a band called The Beatles) and Tex Makins on Bass. Given the enthusiastic response to the tour, they may have had to crank the volume a bit.

Also in the frame (though more hazily documented) was skiffle group called The Blue Flames which Joe Brown had played in- they were currently backing Billy Fury. Not to be confused with Georgie Fame's later band, The Blue Flames. Told you this was complicated.

There was a lot of work to do getting all these combos up to speed with the Vincent and Cochran set lists. Eddie, as is well-known, was very particular about his arrangements and was able to demonstrate the required parts on the actual instruments. He quickly won the lasting respect of the players he worked with. The groups also had to prepare material for compere Billy Raymond, occasional guests Tony Sheridan & Sally Kelly, vocal trio The Viscounts and a pick 'n' mix buffet of Parnes' jauntily-named acts- Billy Fury, Vince Eager, Johnny Gentle, Troy Tempest, Buzz Lightyear, etc. You get the idea.

For atmosphere, a daylight drive around Soho in 59/60 to give a flavour of the surroundings at the time-

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What a fantastic thread, Ade! Great idea.

That Soho loop, looks like it’s driving down Greek St on to Old Compton St back up Frith St and round Soho Square. It’s amazing, and somewhat surprising to see all the cars parked around Soho Square, and so many Consul/Zodiac/Zephyrs! Lovely to see how grimy it all was before London got physically cleaned up in the 80s. Brings back so many memories of such a large chunk of my life working in Soho.

It’s a great idea to chart Eddie’s day to day happenings during his visit to the UK, I hadn’t realised just how early on in the year it started. So much detail, absolutely fascinating.

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good research ade...excellent thread

and remember eddie's influence on uk players...he supposedly taught joe brown the "secret" of moving the strings up and using a slinky E...giving him a plain g!...joe ran with it..and taught it to his friends...amongst which were the early beatles!!..and everybody else!!

that influence continued right down to our old friend darrell higham!

and hopefully beyond!

cheers

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Great thread, I always think it was a magical time for rock and roll, the beginning of what was to come with London and the swinging 60s. Plus its an honour to have been part of that world around Soho u til recent times. RIP the 12 Bar, I think it died a little since then. And the Astorias demise

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Vince, I thought of your shop on Manette Street when the car in the film kept passing the Pillars of Hercules!

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Vince, I thought of your shop on Manette Street when the car in the film kept passing the Pillars of Hercules!

– noggsly

Blimey noggsly! Yes, shame about that shop. Me business partners were twats. And yes, the Pillars. Spent many a foggy lunch time in there... and the Ship, the Blue Posts, the Salisbury, and not forgetting the Fox. Think we all thought it'd last forever

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It seems like another world. I stopped working in Soho about 9 years ago then went back for a brief stint 4 years ago. It had really changed...so many new “luxury developments”... with nobody living in them. Bloody “CityBoys” all over the place... Berwick Street market was super clean and sanitised..the chippy had closed down..It was like a theme park built on the old place... or maybe I just got old!

Sorry to derail the thread Ade, looking forward to Eddie’s next engagement...


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