Sunday, 17 April 2016

Cherished Memories

 

Date: Saturday April 16th 1960.
Time: Approximately 11.50pm 
Location: Chippenham, Wiltshire, on the A4.
 
While touring the United Kingdom, a twenty one year old Eddie Cochran was  traveling in a taxi (a Ford Consul) with fiancee Sharon Sheeley, tour manager Pat Thompkins and singer Gene Vincent when the car was  involved in a road accident. No other vehicle was involved, but the speeding taxi blew a tire, lost control, and crashed into a lamp post on Rowden Hill, where a plaque now marks the spot. 

Photo taken by Andy

Cochran, who was seated in the center of the back seat, threw himself over Sharon to shield her and was thrown from the car when the door flew open. Taken to St. Martin's Hospital, Bath, he died at 4:10 pm the following day from severe head injuries. His body was flown home and he was buried on April 25, 1960, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California.

The remaining occupants of the car all survived the accident. Gene Vincent sustained lasting injuries to an already permanently damaged leg which shortened his career and affected him for the rest of his life. 



The taxi driver, George Martin was convicted of dangerous driving, fined £50, disqualified from driving for 15 years, and was sentenced to prison for six months although it has been said that he served no prison sentence and had his driving license back by 1969.

David Harman, a police cadet at the station who would later become known as Dave Dee of the band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, taught himself to play guitar on Cochran's impounded Gretsch. Earlier in the tour, the same guitar had been carried to the car for Cochran by the 12-year-old Mark Feld, later known as Marc Bolan of T. Rex, who would himself die in a car crash in 1977.


A memorial stone to commemorate Eddie Cochran can be found in the grounds of St Martin's Hospital in Bath. The stone was restored in 2010 (on the 50th anniversary of his death) and can be found in the old chapel grounds at the Hospital. A memorial plaque can also be found next to the sundial at the back of the old chapel.

Eddie in 'The Girl Can't Help It'. 

7 comments:

  1. That's so sad he died so young. Amazing that those other two guys used his guitar and did well. Xx

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  2. What a talent lost and in such a sad and untimely way. Love the clip form The Girl can't help it, though does remind me that the beautiful Jane Mansfield sadly had a similar fate xx

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  3. What a lovely post Melanie. Although the story is well-known, I never knew it happened in Wiltshire. We should check out the plaque when we're next in the neighbourhood. xxx

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  4. Thank you for this post. I knew he was so young when he died but was unaware of the rest of the story.

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  5. It's hard to read this tale and not start to feel the tears well up. What a moving account of another great star who left this world far, far too early. Thank you for penning this piece, dear Melanie.

    Many hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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  6. So sad. Im.glad u paid tribute to them

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  7. Awww I had no idea there was a commemorative stone at the hospital in Bath! If I ever visit the area again I will have to pay my respects. You can't help but be happy when you hear Twenty Flight Rock though, it's just pure joy. Always sad when someone leaves the world too early. - Tasha

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