Updated: Oct 2, 2018
It was 20 years ago that local Eddie Cochran fan Angela Powell first laid a memorial on the Chippenham roadside verge where the 21 year old rock 'n'roll singer's hire car crashed one fatal night back in April 1960.
The cream Consul in which they were travelling in had a blow out at 65 miles an hour before hitting a lamp post throwing Eddie, his girlfriend and fiancee Sharon Sheeley, fellow tour singer Gene Vincent and their tour manager into the road. They had just finished a very successful 12 week British tour and were on their way back to London culminating in 'The Big Beat Show' which was held in Bristol. Although the others recovered from their injuries, Cochran did not and passed away in the Bath hospital where he was taken on Sunday April 18th from his injuries before passing away 8 hours later. Ironically it might never had happened if they had only done some research on the preferred mode of transport - by train. After realising the first train back to London was not until the early hours of the morning which would have left little time to pack their baggage for their flight back home to the US, they decided that a hire car was the only option in order to give them those precious extra few hours at their London hotel....
a decision they would come to regret.
After countless years of making this sad anniversary into a Cochran weekend his fans decided that the rock idol deserved a more lasting and fitting tribute at the spot. In stepped Adam Gittings who set up the Eddie Cochran Memorial Project via a GoFund page to raise the necessary funds required to build it. Not only was the target met, "there was a little surplus to help local schools with various musical projects" said Adam on the day of the unveiling.
When the first memorial was unveiled by Angela back in 1998, it was attended by former fiancee Sharon Sheeley, Ed's nephew Bobby Cochran and a few Crickets.
Although 20 years has since passed, Sunday 30th September 2018 was chosen as the date to unveil the new memorial. We joined his fans, supporters (and a few press) at the official unveiling along with a fitting musical tribute of a few of Eddie's songs from one of the rock'n'roll musicians present. An appreciative crowd later met up at the Old Road Tavern in Chippenham where Cochran songs featured heavily with the free tribute and DJ's Swanny, Fatboy Quiff, Oddsocks, Simon Moon, Colin Park, Tony Toyle, Strops Hop and Crazy Rhythm Juke Box spun tunes from the era.
"Know a spot and like it a lot on a weekend Took a road to lookout hill...
No harm done, just a-havin' some fun on a weekend That was all, we had a big ball on the weekend"
Yes, Eddie would have approved with what's going down on Rowden Hill
The Eddie Cochran Memorial can be found on Rowden Hill, Chippenham, Wiltshire. SN15 2AL and is buried in plot 2997, Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, Orange County, California, USA