Sunday, 26 August 2012

Sunday night is... Eddie Cochran

One minute, fifty seconds worth of time hauled out of its grey pool, the record released in August 1958 when I was just nine. Cochran was killed in Britain in April 1960 in a taxi accident in Wiltshire, having thrown himself across his girlfriend, songwriter Sharon Sheeley, to save her. Gene Vincent, also in the taxi, was seriously injured. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper had died the year before. The Manchester United air crash happened in February 1958.

I knew nothing of most of this, of course, except the United aircrash and it was shortly after that I began to follow the team. But that's a lot of crashes in two years.

Maybe there was always something a little crashed about that period between the late fifties and the early sixties. It seems so in retrospect.

Maybe it was we ourselves who had crash-landed in England.

Maybe it is because most of our photographs of those years were black and white, as was television - though I have a feeling we didn't get a television until 1961 or 2. Black and white years: that hum of grey on the 405 line screen, and the slight fuzziness of this clip.

And there is a kind of poetry seeping from it. The good humour when the band member steps to the mic to do the father voice is part of it. The stiffness on the edge of breaking into riot is another. It is like bursting out of a cellophane wrapper.

Summertime Blues, the title itself is poignant.

Maybe we can only do so much poignancy.


Cormac O'Leary said...

Poetry from a lost time - maybe because it was the last era of innocence, with that edge of summer freedom to it, youth about to be corrupted and take flight into the future, to that rock n' roll train chug beat

George S said...

All time is lost time, isn't it, Cormac? And all times are innocent in the sense that they are innocent of us, of knowing what we know in coming after them.

But there was a peculiar brokenness about this time when rock and roll was about to fade into well-behaved Bobby Vee-ish balladry, but before it burst into Beatles and Stones.

James H said...

Odd to think of John Logie Baird demonstrating 1000 line colour electronic television to the Beeb immediately after WW2. Turned down because of austerity, apparently.

People are always saying "it was a simpler, more innocent time" of anything and everything including World War II, and I can't help but feel that monochrome photography helps this along. It distances and dignifies, makes things look other and better.

George S said...

I agree about the black and white. There is Eddie Cochran in colour too. I am not sure I can ever quite take to Elvis in colour. Not even Bill Haley.