Interview with Jerry Capehart
Transcription of the interview
(‘Sitting in the balcony’ by Eddie Cochran)
Commentator: Eddie Cochran and “Sitting in the balcony”. Again, Eddie’s producer, Jerry Capehart.
Jerry Capehart: That was Eddie’s first hit. Johnny Mann, by the way, did the arrangements on that. With Eddie playing guitar and Connie Smith, our Eddie’s bass player, “Guybo” who was also Eddie’s best friend, and myself playing on a cardboard box.
Commentator: Back in 1958, Eddie cut his biggest hit. An anthem of teenage frustration.
Jerry Capehart: Eddie came by my apartment. We were having rehearsal. The evening before recording was scheduled the next day, so I said: “Well, why don’t we write something? And so summer is coming, ok? There’s never been a blues song written about summer, so let’s write a song and I told them to call it “Summertime blues””. And so Eddie says “Hey, you know? I got this really great guitar riff on the guitar” and that’s the part of ‘Summertime blues’ where it goes ‘Ta ta ta ta… ta ta ta ta’.
(‘Summertime blues’ by Eddie Cochran)
Jerry Capehart: Everything Eddie Cochran ever did in his life had to had humor in it or he wouldn’t do it. For example, his favorite performer at that time was The Kingfish from the “Amos ‘n’ Andy” days. And the low voice that you heard on Eddie’s version of “Summertime Blues” was really his salute to The Kingfish.
Commentator: “Summertime blues”, which clocks in just under 2 minutes, is often used as an example of the essence of Rock and Roll. Direct, natural, powerful communication thru simple musical means.
Jerry Capehart: I think “Summertime blues” was really indicative of Eddie’s image with his fans. I think that song gave him his individuality. We had no idea that his image would become what it has become. Eddie was, as you know at the time of his death, he just really had become a superstar. At that moment in time, it seems as he was snatched away at the time that he made it. Had Eddie lived, he would have probably been as important a name in the industry as you could really mention today.
Commentator: A 1960 car crash that claimed Eddie Cochran’s life essentially ended the rockabilly era. The era of Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent.
(‘It doesn’t matter anymore’ by Buddy Holly)
Commentator: “It really doesn’t matter anymore” written by Paul Anka and sung by Buddy Holly. Then on February 3rd, 1959, Buddy Holly was killed on a plane crash along with Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. More than a decade later, Don Mclean was to call it “the day the music died” in “American pie”. A song dedicated to the memory of Buddy Holly. An even more personal tribute came from a close friend who, himself, would later be killed in an auto crash: Eddie Cochran.
(‘Three stars’ by Eddie Cochran)
Jerry Capehart: Well, Eddie was crying when he recorded it. He really was, he was in tears himself. And it was a tremendously moving thing to, you know, to be on the booth listening to it.
Commentator: Eddie Cochran’s producer, Jerry Capehart.
Jerry Capehart: “Three stars” was written about Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper. You’ll recall they were killed in an airplane accident. Eddie was supposed to have been on that plane only that he wasn’t, so he always felt that he was, I guess, on borrowed time at that point.
Commentator: The story of Buddy Holly’s friend, Eddie Cochran…