Hank Cochran, one of the elite songwriters in country music, died earlier today. He was 74.
Born in Mississippi, Cochran worked for a while with rocker Eddie Cochran (no relation) in a California band styled The Cochrans. In 1960, Cochran moved to Nashville and teamed up with songwriting legend Harlan Howard to write Patsy Cline's mega-hit "I Fall To Pieces."
Cochran went on to attach his name to numerous country music standards: "She's Got You" (Cline), "Make The World Go Away" (Ray Price, Eddie Arnold), "The Chair" and "Ocean Front Property" (George Strait), "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)" (Merle Haggard).
But perhaps Cochran's most important contribution to the genre was his discovery and encouragement of Willie Nelson. Nelson left Houston for Nashville and was literally starving to death. Cochran met Nelson at the legendary water hole Tooties, and persuaded Pamper Publishing, which was owned by Ray Price, to sign Nelson to a songwriting contract.
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Cochran had heart surgery in April of this year and had been in poor health since that time. Surely Cochran's five marriages were a large part of the inspiration for his memorable body of work.