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Passings: Wayne Cochran (1939 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Wayne Cochran, who never hit the charts in any form as an artist yet had a lasting impression on the Rock and Roll landscape, died on Tuesday (November 21) at the age of 78.

Cochran fell in love with R&B and country music as a child and started his first rock band, The Rockin' Capris, while in his teens. He made the decision to drop out of high school and move to Macon, GA to pursue his dreams where he became friends with Otis Redding.

During the same time, he recorded the song "The Coo" which was heard by executives at King Records who signed him to a contract. At King, Cochran became friends with James Brown who heavily influenced Wayne's performing style.

Nothing the Cochran recorded for King gained him notice but his blistering live performances were legendary and brought him enough notoriety that he and his band, The C.C. Riders, began making appearances on TV on programs like The Jackie Gleason Show.

In the early 60's, Cochran co-wrote the song "Last Kiss" but it was J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers that took the song to the top of the charts.

Cochran was well known for his high pompadour hair and his use of jumpsuits, especially while playing at a number of Las Vegas area hotels. He also became friends with Elvis Presley with most believing that the King's later Vegas costume choices were heavily influenced by Cochran's wardrobe.

Wayne released his first album, Wayne Cochran!, in 1967 for Chess and, over the next five years, he followed with three more sets for King and Epic yet none sold in great numbers.

In the early-80's, Cochran retired from the music business and founded the Voice of Jesus Children's Center and World Outreach church in Miami and became a minister and a fiery evangelist.