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The Songs that Saved Your Life – The 50’s; Somethin’ Else’

Today sees the start of a new feature in which ELM scribes will look at what they feel is the defining song of each of the decades since rock’n’roll began. Each will present a case arguing why their choice has significant long-term cultural impact and influence. Today, ELM kicks it off with ‘Somethin’ Else’ by Eddie Cochran.

Eddie CochranLook a-there, what’s all this
Never thought I’d do this before
But here I am a-knockin’ on her door
My car’s out front and it’s all mine
Just a forty-one Ford, not a fifty-nine
I got that girl an’ I’m a-thinkin’ to myself
She’s sure fine lookin’ man, wow, she’s somethin’ else

Girls. Cars. Freedom. Love. You’ve pretty much encapsulated teenage obsessions right there and set the template for the six decades of music that rock’n’roll spawned. Of course, Cochran wasn’t alone in singing about what he sang, and if you wanted to make a case for Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Pressley or Buddy Holly having done more to define the era you’d be entitled to. But just listen to that again – where Cochran differs is that in this song, that driving beat, the nihilistic atmosphere which substitutes for melody, he’s pretty much invented the template for punk and metal.

This is music to get genuinely excited by. It has its quiff, its cigarette dangled at just the right angle and it simply does not give a fuck. The song drips with the ice-cold detachment of the young, the certainty that on the path between her door and the drive he’s between everything he needs. It’s sneering, but not in a cynical way.

Of course, all that would count for nothing if it didn’t have everything that’s good about music going on as well. You can dance to it. You want to sing it. You want to learn it.

It’s been covered by everyone and their dog from the Move to Sid Vicious, but nothing has even approached the sheer small-screen majesty of the original.

In short, it’s the perfect, defining record of the 50’s.

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9 Responses

  1. “Twenty Flight Rock” is a proto punk tune, too. He pisses all over Elvis for me.
    No, not literally……….

  2. Agreed. He was twenty years ahead of his time.

  3. He has lots of great songs, especially this one. Great post!

  4. Cheers SS! Eddie Cochrane was just fundamentally cool.

  5. Elvis Presley DEFINED rock and roll for that era ( as did his first eponymous album ) , to argue otherwise is about as convincing as evidence supporting the belief that we live on a flat earth !

  6. Yes, but for me this song defines the fifties. And it’s my site, so there!

  7. Well I hope when you cast your ELM eyes on the sixties you wont overlook the influence that seminal garage-rockers ” The Choads ” had on the decade !

  8. 60s been and gone Dusty, as have 70s, 80s and 90s! Use the search function!

  9. btw I heard an absolutely stunning album by Jolie Holland called ” Catalpa “…was out in 2003 apparently, but obviously passed me by ; just like the 60s,70s 80s and 90s .

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