Ray Edward "Eddie" Cochran (October 2, 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. In the words of Lester Bangs, writing in Rolling Stone in 1972, "Eddie may have imitated Elvis vocally even more than a dozen or so other stalwarts of the day such as Conway Twitty, but his influence on pop consciousness of the magnitude of The Beatles and The Who was deep and profound". He experimented with multitracking 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 iconic status.
Cochran was born in Minnesota, then moved with his family to California in the early 1950s. He was involved with music from an early age, playing in the school band, and teaching himself to play blues guitar. In 1955, he formed a duet with the unrelated guitarist Hank Cochran, and when they split the following year, Cochran began a song-writing career with Jerry Capehart. His first success came when he performed the song "Twenty Flight Rock" in the movie The Girl Can't Help It, starring Jayne Mansfield. Soon after, Liberty Records signed him to a recording contract.
Cochran was 21 when he died in April 1960, in a road accident during his British tour. Though his 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. His songs have been much covered, by bands such as The Who, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Dick Dale & his Del-Tones, Blue Cheer, Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Teenage Head, Tiger Army, UFO, The White Stripes, and Sex Pistols.