Wayne Cochran

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Wayne Cochran
Cochran in 1969
Cochran in 1969
Background information
Birth nameTalvin Wayne Cochran
Also known asWhite Knight of Soul
Born(1939-05-10)May 10, 1939
Thomaston, Georgia, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 2017(2017-11-21) (aged 78)
Miramar, Florida, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer, preacher
LabelsChess Records, King Records, Epic Records, Raven Records
WebsiteOfficial website of Wayne Cochran & The C.C. Riders

Talvin Wayne Cochran (May 10, 1939 – November 21, 2017)[1] was an American singer, known for his outlandish outfits and white pompadour hairstyle. He was sometimes referred to as The White Knight of Soul.[4] Cochran is best known today for writing the song "Last Kiss", which he performed with the C.C. Riders.[5]


Talvin Wayne Cochran was born on May 10, 1939, in Thomaston, Georgia, to Talvin A. Cochran, a cotton mill worker, and the former Mini Lee Starley, who came from a farming family.[6][7]

Influenced by the country and rhythm and blues music he heard on the radio, Cochran fronted his first band - a group called the Rockin' Capris - as a teenager, and eventually left high school to pursue music as a full-time career. He moved to Macon, Georgia, where he befriended the soul singer Otis Redding (playing bass guitar on Redding's early recording of "Shout Bamalama" and its B-side "Fat Girl") and recorded his first single, "The Coo", attracting the attention of King Records, which signed him to a record deal. Cochran became close friends with King labelmate James Brown, whose stage show and road band influenced his own performing style and inspired him to assemble his own soul revue, the C.C. Riders, which occasionally featured as many as 14 musicians plus two female backing vocalists, the Sheer Delights.

Although his single recordings for King (including "Goin' Back to Miami", a song which became a signature tune for the singer) were not commercially successful beyond local markets in the south, Cochran's energetic performances, rigorous touring schedule and appearances on television talk shows, as well as The Jackie Gleason Show helped to make the C.C. Riders a popular attraction. In the mid-1960s, Cochran made Las Vegas his base of operations and played residencies at several hotels, casinos and theatres. During this time, he met and befriended Elvis Presley, from whom he borrowed elements for his own Las Vegas period, adopting jump suits similar to his wardrobe.

Cochran recorded an album for Chess Records titled Wayne Cochran! in 1967, which featured the blue-eyed soul and rhythm and blues style he had perfected on the road with his revue, but backed by session musicians for most of the cuts instead of his touring band. This was followed by a return to King and two further LPs, Alive & Well & Living... In a Bitch of a World and the instrumental High & Ridin', both in 1970. These albums saw the C.C. Riders' guitarist and musical director Charles Brent take an important creative role, and featured a jazz-influenced sound comparable to the Chicago Transit Authority or Blood, Sweat & Tears. Cochran also recorded a "live" album (actually a "live in the studio" record) for King sometime between 1967 and 1969, but released in 2014 and included in an Ace Records compilation Goin' Back to Miami: The Soul Sides 1965-1970.[8]

Cochran recorded a final album, titled Cochran, for Epic Records in 1972, then toured and made television appearances. He retired from music to become an evangelist minister in Miami, Florida. He died on November 21, 2017 in Miramar, Florida,[9] from cancer at the age of 78.[10]


Cochran is best known today for writing the song "Last Kiss", which he performed with the C.C. Riders.[5] Although it was not a success for him, contemporary covers by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers in 1964, Wednesday in 1974, and a much later take by Pearl Jam became hits. In Mexico, Polo and The Americans cover the song in Spanish. Cochran and his revue also influenced Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi's Blues Brothers musical venture; Cochran is referenced in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers and a cover of his song "Going Back to Miami" is featured on the live album Made in America.

Cochran appeared and sang in the 1970 movie C.C. and Company as himself. The movie trailer, featuring a scene with Cochran and his band The C.C.Riders performing the song "I Can't Turn You Loose", was later used in the 2019 Quentin Tarantino movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.


Cochran (in white cape) with the C.C Riders (male backup group) and the Sheer Delights (female backup group), 1977.


  • Wayne Cochran! (Chess, 1967; reissue: Sundazed, 2014) #167 Billboard 200 Albums[11]
  • Alive & Well and Living In...A Bitch of a World (King, 1970)
  • High and Ridin' (Bethlehem, 1970)
  • Cochran (Epic, 1972)
  • Get Down With It! The White Knight of Soul 1959–72 (Raven, 2005)[5]
  • Love Strikes Again (Jukebox Entertainment, 2010)
  • Goin' Back to Miami: The Soul Sides 1965–1970 (Ace, 2014)


Year Title US Label
1959 The Coo Scottie
1961 Last Kiss Gala
1962 Cindy Marie Aire
1965 Harlem Shuffle [12] 127 Mercury
1966 Goin' Back to Miami Mercury
1967 Some-A' Your Sweet Love Chess


  1. ^ a b Schudel, Matt (November 25, 2017). "Wayne Cochran, extraordinary showman of '60s rhythm-and-blues, dies at 78". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2017-11-26. Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  2. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (November 27, 2017). "Wayne Cochran, Singer With High Energy and Big Hair, Dies at 78". New York Times. Retrieved 2022-07-16.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Andrew. "Wayne Cochran – Wayne Cochran!". AllMusic. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  4. ^ "The White Knight of Soul 1964-72: Get Down With It! - Wayne Cochran - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Wayne Cochran - Roctober #10". Roctober.com. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  6. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (November 27, 2017). "Wayne Cochran, Singer With High Energy and Big Hair, Dies at 78". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Ancestry.com mis-indexes 1940 census as Mamie Lee and John C. Cochran and their son Wm Cochran, living in Upson, Georgia". Ancestry.com.
  8. ^ "Goin' Back To Miami: The Soul Sides 1965-1970". Acerecords.co.uk. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Wayne Cochran, who went from soul rocker to soul-saving minister, dies at 78". Miamiherald.com. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  10. ^ "Wayne Cochran, the 'White Knight of Soul,' dies at 78". Los Angeles Times. November 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Wayne". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Wayne Cochran Songs ••• Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". www.musicvf.com.

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