Eddie Cochran (October 3, 1938 – April 17, 1960) 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.
On Saturday, April 16, 1960, at about 11.50 p.m., while on tour in the United Kingdom, 21-year-old Cochran died in a traffic accident in a taxi traveling through Chippenham, Wiltshire, on the A4. The speeding taxi blew a tire, lost control, and crashed into a lamp post on Rowden Hill, where a plaque now marks the spot (no other car was involved). Cochran, who was seated in the centre of the back seat, threw himself over his fiancée Sharon Sheeley to shield her, and was thrown out of the car when the door flew open. He was taken to St. Martin's Hospital, Bath, where he died at 4:10 p.m the following day of severe head injuries. Cochran's body was flown home and his remains were buried on April 25, 1960, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California.
The car and other items from the crash were impounded at the local police station until a coroner's inquest could be held. David Harman, a police cadet at the station who would late become known as Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, taught himself to play guitar on Cochran's impounded Gretsch. Though Cochran's 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.