Richard Hawley’s surprise appearance tops Cochran book launch

Richard Hawley’s surprise appearance tops Cochran book launch

Richard Hawley performs with Adrian McKenna (left) and John Firminger (right)

Richard Hawley performs with Adrian McKenna (left) and John Firminger (right)

A show that re-wrote musical history at Sheffield Gaumont at the dawn of the sixties was brought back to life Dronfield recently.

Vince Eager (left) and Dirty Stop Outs' Neil Anderson

Vince Eager (left) and Dirty Stop Outs' Neil Anderson

#Vince Eager – the British star that performed on the bill with #EddieCochran and #GeneVincent on what’s now recognised as the country’s first ever rock’n’roll package tour – topped the bill at the launch party for a new book that chronicled the show and wider tour like never before.

‘Eddie Cochran: A Fast Moving Beat Show – The Story of the Final, Fatal UK Tour’ was launched in lockdown to huge critical acclaim and last week it finally got its launch party at a packed Hilltop Sports and Social Club.

Sheffield star #RichardHawley – a contributor to the book and huge Cochran fan – made a surprise appearance.

He joined house band Something Else, an act that included the books’ authors #AdrianMcKenna and #JohnFirminger, for several numbers.

The original tour performed to packed houses in the spring of 1960. It was put together by British promoter #LarryParnes.

Tragically Eddie Cochran, the tour’s brightest star, died at 21 years old in a road traffic accident just hours after the final date of the tour.

But the seismic impact he made in those few short weeks provided a blueprint for everything that followed in the sixties.

Adrian McKenna (left) and John Firminger sign copies of the book

Adrian McKenna (left) and John Firminger sign copies of the book

Adrian McKenna said: “We thought an in-depth look at that tour was something that was missing from the musical history books. Beatlemania and the Merseybeat sound might never have happened if it hadn’t been for the punishing schedule of dates Eddie Cochran undertook with fellow American star Gene Vincent and a cavalcade of rising UK stars.”

Eddie Cochran's influence is still as strong today as it was sixty years ago when the tour took place. The last word of the book is left to twice Mercury Prize-nominated Richard Hawley.

Vince Eager (centre) with Eddie Cochran (top, right) Gene Vincent and photogrpher at Sheffield Gaumont in 1960

Vince Eager (centre) with Eddie Cochran (top, right) Gene Vincent and photogrpher at Sheffield Gaumont in 1960

He said: "Out of all those brilliant rockers from the '50s it was always going to be Eddie Cochran for me - he had the whole package. He was a fluent and inventive guitar player, a unique singer and a gifted songwriter."