Hank Cochran

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Hank Cochran
Hank Cochran.jpg
Background information
Birth nameGarland Perry Cochran[1]
Born(1935-08-02)August 2, 1935[1]
Isola, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedJuly 15, 2010(2010-07-15) (aged 74)
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • guitar[1]
Years active1955–2010
Associated acts

Garland Perry "Hank" Cochran (August 2, 1935 – July 15, 2010) was an American country music singer and songwriter.[2] Starting during the 1960s, Cochran was a prolific songwriter in the genre, including major hits by Patsy Cline, Ray Price, Eddy Arnold and others. Cochran was also a recording artist between 1962 and 1980, scoring seven times on the Billboard country music charts, with his greatest solo success being the No. 20 "Sally Was a Good Old Girl." In 2014, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[3]


Born during the Great Depression in Isola, Mississippi, he contracted pneumonia, whooping cough, measles, and mumps all about the same time at age of two. The doctor did not believe he would survive. His parents divorced when he was nine years old. He moved with his father to Memphis, Tennessee, then was put into an orphanage. He was sent to live with his grandparents, in Greenville, Mississippi, after he ran away from the orphanage twice. His uncle Otis Cochran taught him to play the guitar as the pair hitchhiked from Mississippi to southeastern New Mexico to work in the oilfields.[4] After returning to Mississippi in his teens, he went to California and picked olives. While there, he formed The Cochran Brothers, a duo with unrelated Eddie Cochran.[4]

In 1960 at the age of 24, he hitchhiked for Hollywood, but ended up going to Nashville, and teamed with Harlan Howard to write the song "I Fall to Pieces".[2] It became a major success for Patsy Cline (recorded November 16, 1960), reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country music charts and No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 (chart for all music categories). Cline also recorded Cochran's "She's Got You" (recorded December 17, 1961, it was another major hit, No. 1 on the country charts and No. 14 on the Hot 100), and "Why Can't He Be You" (recorded September 5, 1962).

In 1960, during a date at a movie theater, the film inspired him to compose a new song. He left the theater quickly, and by the time he got home fifteen minutes later, composed "Make the World Go Away." Ray Price recorded the song, and it scored No. 2 on the Billboard country charts in 1963. The next year Eddy Arnold made the song his signature hit, scoring No. 1 on the country music charts, then in 1965 No. 6 on the overall Billboard Hot 100 charts (his highest rated song ever).[4] Arnold also recorded the song "I Want to Go with You".[2]

Cochran wrote several successful songs sung by Burl Ives ("A Little Bitty Tear", "Funny Way of Laughin'", "The Same Old Hurt"). He also wrote songs for George Strait ("The Chair" with Dean Dillon and "Ocean Front Property" with Dillon and Royce Porter), Merle Haggard ("It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)"), "Don't You Ever Get Tired (of Hurting Me)", a No. 1 scoring record for Ronnie Milsap, and Mickey Gilley ("That's All That Matters").

While working at publishing company Pamper Music, some evenings, he performed in a Nashville tavern named Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. While there, he noticed an amazing new talent. He encouraged management to contract the young songwriter, Willie Nelson, giving Nelson a raise owed to him at the time.[4]

Two of his fondest memories were working with Natalie Cole (among other artists) on a 2003 tribute album to Patsy Cline (Remembering Patsy Cline), because of his love for her father Nat King Cole,[4] and his collaboration with Vern Gosdin for the 1988 album Chiseled in Stone (Gosdin's highest rated album at No. 7).[5]

In 2008, singer Lea Anne Creswell come to his home to choose an album's worth of songs, which the artist released with the album title Lea Anne Sings Hank Cochran and ....[6]


Cochran was married five times. Jeannie Seely was his fourth wife and Suzi his last, from 1982. It is unknown if proceeds from the Flying Monks (Chippenham, UK) ‘Rockin for Eddie Cochrane’ reach the extended family.[4]


Cochran had cancerous tumors removed surgically from his pancreas and lymph node at a Nashville hospital in July 2008, and a grapefruit-sized aortic aneurysm removed at a Nashville hospital in April 2010. He died on July 15, 2010, age 74.[7]


In October 2012, singer Jamey Johnson released Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, featuring his renditions of sixteen Cochran compositions.[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

Awards and honors include:[4]

Artist recordings[edit]

Notable artists recording Hank Cochran songs include:[4]



Year Album US Country Label
1965 Hits from the Heart RCA
Going on Training
1968 The Heart of Hank 41 Monument
1978 With a Little Help from My Friends Capitol
1980 Make the World Go Away Elektra
Honeysuckle Rose
(credited as "Willie Nelson & Family")
1 Columbia


Year Single Peak chart positions[1] Album
US Country
1962 "Sally Was a Good Old Girl" 20 Going on Training
"I'd Fight the World" 23 Hits from the Heart
1963 "A Good Country Song" 25 single only
1967 "All of Me Belongs to You" 70 The Heart of Hank
1978 "Willie" 91 With a Little Help from My Friends
"Ain't Life Hell" (with Willie Nelson) 77
1980 "A Little Bitty Tear" (with Willie Nelson) 57 Make the World Go Away


  • Oermann, Robert K. (1998). – "Hank Cochran". – The Encyclopedia of Country Music. – Paul Kingsbury, Editor. – New York: Oxford University Press. – pp. 101–2. – ISBN 978-0-19-517608-7
  1. ^ a b c d e Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 97. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 277/8. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ a b "Country Hall of Fame Taps Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman, Hank Cochran". Rolling Stone. 2014-04-22. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Watkins, Billy. – "Everybody wants to sing". – The Clarion-Ledger. – August 6, 2003.
  5. ^ Cooper, Peter. – "The man, the mystery and the mega-hits". – The Tennessean. – March 23, 2007.
  6. ^ Moon, Troy. – "Songwriter lends talent to CD, but will Willie be at release party?". – Pensacola News Journal. – May 18, 2001.
  7. ^ Schneider, Jason (1935-08-02). "Country Music Hero Hank Cochran Dies at 74 • News •". Exclaim.ca. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2012-03-25.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 2013-03-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]