Never To Be Forgotten
Release Date: January 1st, 1962
Words by: Whaley Big Jesus
January 1st, 2012
Recorded between 1956 & 1960, before Cochran's death at age 21 in a car accident in 1960, 'Never To Be Forgotten' was Eddie Cochran's third and final album (of previously unreleased material) released in January, 1962. In many ways Cochran epitomised the late 50′s rocker, however unlike his good friend Buddy Holly – who also perished at a young age, he perhaps lacked the entirely pronounced and unique character that holds one above their historical counterparts. As such Cochran is an unknown quantity to many, including this writer before approaching this record for review.
Listening to 'Never To Be Forgotten' is something that could perhaps be equated to approaching reggae records by anyone other than Bob Marley or Peter Tosh. Cochran moves in terrritory that had already been comprehensively covered by Elvis and his sidekicks – Lee-Lewis, Perkins, etc. And he really doesn't bring too many original elements to the table. Tracks like 'Long Tall Sally' and 'Twenty Flight Rock' inevitably bring about – "sounds like Elvis, but not as good" type responses, and this is largely due to their inherently limited structures' and derived melodies – similar to templative and non-Marley reggae in many respects.
It would be easy to just throw this record into the Elvis mimicry bin, however there's definitely something more to standouts like 'Nervous Breakdown', which along with 'Boll Weevil Song', is Cochran's best in terms of songwriting, and dynamic vocal and hook delivery. It also perhaps provides some rare insight into Cochran's true state of mind, which according to sources close to the singer was obsessed with the notion of dying young. These tracks are also testament to Cochran's potential that was left tragically largely unexplored due to his early death. However, much of the rest of 'Never To Be Forgotten' is either straight up Elvis shadowing – 'Lonely', 'Blue Suede Shoes', or its' of the washy late 50′s, gutless and kitch variety.
Yep Eddie Cochran could sing and some of these tracks, namely 'Boll Weevil Song' and 'Nervous Breakdown', are great. But there's a distinct lack of originality here that has contributed to containing Cochran to an at best underground status. And when operating within the limiting confines of 50′s dance hall rock and roll, you either needed to write truly great tunes like Holly, or like Elvis, you needed to simply standout in every other respect. Something more may definitely have become of Eddie Cochran, but that something on 'Never To Be Forgotten' is too often simply clouded and surrounded by fanboydom and/or a lack of defined character.