The Legendary Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran, as he became known, was born Garland Perry Cochran during the Great Depression on 2 August 1935. Just a few weeks shy of his 75th birthday, Hank Cochran passed away on 15 July 2010, after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. Now, looking back on the legacy of Cochran, it is clear that the music industry richly benefitted from his talents and songwriting abilities, with songs sung by icons still as popular today as they were when they first hit the charts.

Cochran ran away to his grandparents after ending up in an orphanage following his parents’ divorce. It was here that his love for music began to take shape, with his uncle Otis teaching him to play guitar, while hitchhiking their way across the country to reach the oilfields of New Mexico. During his teenage years, Cochran picked olives in California to make a living, and established his first band, known as The Cochran Brothers. But it was at the age of 24, when Cochran moved to the home of country music, Nashville, that he was able to share his musical genius with the world. He began working with Harlan Howard in 1960, and wrote country chart hits that brought fame to artists such as Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, Burl Ives, Bing Crosby, Lee Ann Womack, Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, Norah Jones, Elvis Costello, Ray Price and many more. Songs such as Why Can’t He Be You and She’s Got You shot to the top of the charts and made Cochran a sought after song writer. His songs ensured that he would go down in the history of music and were valuable contributions to the industry. In 1974, Hank Cochran was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

It was reported that on 14 July 2010, Billy Ray Cyrus, Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson, all got together at Cochran’s home in Hendersonville, where the old friends sang together and enjoyed an evening of music. Hank Cochran’s passing is a great loss to friends, family, the music industry and fans alike. He will forever be remembered through the songs he wrote and artists still performing his creations.