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Spectropop - Digest Number 475

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______________        S  P  E  C  T  R  O  P  O  P        ______________
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                        Jamie LePage (1953-2002)

There are 8 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

      1. Sharon Sheeley
           From: Spectropop
      2. Sharon Sheeley
           From: Andrew Sandoval 
      3. Mystery Gurl
           From: simon white 
      4. Re: Sharon Sheeley
           From: alley cat 
      5. Introduction
           From: rickey412 
      6. Re: Introduction
           From: Phil Chapman 
      7. MSNBC News Link: Songwriter Sharon Sheeley is dead
           From: Rob Bates 
      8. The Molybdenum Vault
           From: james botticelli 


Message: 1
   Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 12:19:44 +0100
   From: Spectropop
Subject: Sharon Sheeley

[The Independent - 20 May 2002]

Sharon Sheeley
Composer of rock'n'roll hits for Eddie Cochran and Ricky Nelson.

Female songwriters were almost unknown before the rock'n'roll era, and
Sharon Sheeley and Jackie DeShannon were the first female songwriting
team to have any success. In 1958, Sheeley became the first female
writer to compose an American No 1 - "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson
- without any help from a male partner.

Sheeley was born of Irish extraction in California in 1940. She loved
the explosion of rock'n'roll in the mid-1950s and went to Hollywood to
meet the stars firsthand. She dated Don Everly and hung around with
Elvis Presley and his entourage. She also met Gene Vincent, whom she
found "drunk and obnoxious". One of her boyfriends was called P.J.
Proby and she used his name to rechristen James Marcus Smith, a demo
singer being given a recording contract of his own.

"Poor Little Fool" was the first song that Sheeley ever wrote. It was
very catchy, but the lyric is clumsy and clearly the work of a
newcomer. Sheeley had dated Ricky Nelson, who appeared in his parents'
popular television sitcom The Ozzie and Harriet Show and who had
capitalised on the success of the show with several Top Twenty hits.
Sheeley told him that "Poor Little Fool" had been written by her
godfather for Presley but that she thought it would be ideal for him.
Nelson, delighted at being given one of Presley's songs, recorded it
and it became his first US No 1. He was annoyed when he discovered that
Sheeley had written the song herself.

Jerry Capehart, then Eddie Cochran's manager and songwriting partner,
agreed to look after Sheeley's interests and asked if she had anything
suitable for Cochran. She dashed off "Love Again", which Cochran
recorded as the B-side of "Summertime Blues", a Top Ten record in 1958.

In 1988 a television advertisement for Levi's 501 jeans recreated the
start of the romance between Cochran and Sheeley. Sheeley would buy new
dresses to impress Cochran, but he took little notice. When she went to
his New Year's Eve party at the end of 1958, she dressed down with
sweatshirt and jeans. Cochran said, "Are you in love with me, Charlie
Brown?", which was his nickname for her. When she replied that that was
no question to ask, he continued, "You'd better be, 'cause I'm sure in
love with you."

For all that, Cochran did not write love songs for her, although he did
refer to her habit of walking around barefoot in "C'mon Everybody". She
would often be late and she wrote a song about this for Cochran, called
"Hurry Up". Their friend, Ritchie Valens, liked it so much that he
recorded it instead. Cochran recorded her songs "Think of Me",
"Lonely", the poignant "Cherished Memories", and "Somethin' Else", a
Top Thirty hit in 1959.

Many have assumed that Sheeley wrote "Somethin' Else" with Eddie
Cochran but the "Cochran/Sheeley" credit on the song refers to Eddie's
brother, Bob. Sheeley wrote most of the song but asked Bob to help her
with some details about cars. Following the death of Sid Vicious in
1979, the Sex Pistols recording of "Somethin' Else" made No 3 in the
UK. It has also been recorded by Tom Petty and the Stray Cats.

Cochran was devastated by the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and
the Big Bopper in a plane crash in February 1959. It made him reluctant
to fly and hence to tour but he was persuaded by Gene Vincent to join
him for a three-month concert tour of the UK early in 1960. They would
fly to Britain but then they would travel by road and rail.

Coming from California, Cochran couldn't tolerate the English winter
and he hadn't realised how difficult Gene Vincent was. Gene was a
depressed, insecure alcoholic with an injured leg which left him in
constant pain. Cochran was homesick and phoned Sheeley and asked her to
join him for her 20th birthday. Sheeley, who was desperate to marry
Cochran, flew over immediately. Cochran and Sheeley were reported as
being "unofficially engaged"

Brian Bennett, who played drums on the tour, remembers, "Sharon was a
lovely, quiet girl. She talked about music and not many girls could do
that." The TV and record producer Jack Good got Sheeley signed to Decca
and she recorded one song, "Homework", that, in view of later events,
was never released.

The final night of the tour was at the Bristol Hippodrome on 17 April
1960 and they were due to fly back to America from London the following
day. An inexperienced driver agreed to take Cochran, Sheeley and
Vincent to London, and they were singing "California Here I Come" as
they got into the car. Near Chippenham, in Wiltshire, the car hit a
tree and Cochran died the following day. Vincent received further
injuries and for a time, Sheeley's condition was critical.

Sheeley returned to Los Angeles and became a recluse, not wanting to
have anything to do with music. Early in 1961, the Hollywood DJ Jimmy
O'Neil brought the singer Jackie DeShannon to meet her, thinking that
they might be able to write together. After some reluctance from
Sheeley, they wrote "Baby (When Ya Kiss Me)" for DeShannon's next

Metric Music, the publishing arm of Liberty Records, encouraged them to
make demos of their songs. Sheeley was also writing with Mac Davis and
Larry Collins from the Collins Kids. A recent CD, Sharon Sheeley:
songwriter, shows the high quality of the demos and, in particular,
"The Other Side of Town" with a lead vocal by P.J. Proby should have
been a single. These demos include a song that was a US hit in 1961 for
the Fleetwoods, "(He's) The Great Imposter", and "Guitar Child", which
Duane Eddy recorded.

DeShannon and Sheeley had success with several songs for Brenda Lee in
Nashville - the uplifting "Dum Dum", the emotional ballad "Heart In
Hand", "So Deep" and "He's So Heavenly". They also wrote "Right or
Wrong" (Crickets), "You Won't Forget Me" (Jackie DeShannon) and
"Break-a-way" for Irma Thomas, which years later became a big hit for
Tracey Ullman.

The Searchers recorded three songs by Sheeley and DeShannon, "Can't
Help Forgiving You", "Each Time" and "Till You Say You'll Be Mine".
After leaving the Searchers, Chris Curtis wrote some songs with
Sheeley, including the excellent "Night Time" for Paul and Barry Ryan.

Sheeley married the television presenter Jimmy O'Neil, who hosted Jack
Good's US series Shindig, but when the marriage broke up, she moved
away from Hollywood, effectively ending her partnership with Jackie
DeShannon. She still wrote occasionally - notably "Runnin' On Back"
with Del Shannon - and around 1990 she made an appearance at an Eddie
Cochran convention in the UK.

Spencer Leigh

-------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 2 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 00:59:25 EDT From: Andrew Sandoval Subject: Sharon Sheeley We lost another great one... LOS ANGELES (AP) - Songwriter Sharon Sheeley, who as a teen-ager wrote the 1950s hit "Poor Little Fool," has died of complications following a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 62. Sheeley died at Sherman Oaks Hospital Medical Center on Friday, family friend Elizabeth Asher said. A hospital spokesman confirmed the death and declined to give further details. Asher said Sheeley had been hospitalized since she suffered the hemorrhage on May 12. Rick Nelson, teen idol and star of TV's "Ozzie and Harriet," recorded "Poor Little Fool" and it climbed to the top of the charts in 1958. Sheeley also was the girlfriend of guitarist Eddie Cochran, who sang "Summertime Blues" and "C'mon Everybody." Cochran has a wide following in England and was killed in a car crash there at age 21. Cochran influenced a generation of British musicians, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who (who covered "Summertime Blues") and Rod Stewart. British fans mark the anniversaries of his birth and death. Cochran had just completed a tour of England in 1960 when the hired car carrying him to London's Heathrow Airport smashed into a concrete telephone post. Cochran died the next day. Sheeley and fellow rocker Gene Vincent survived the crash. "My most vivid memory of Sharon was of her living in London in the swingin' 60s," Sheeley's friend Asher told The Associated Press on Saturday. "She was such a California gal so she was always in a miniskirt and sandals then complained about being cold all the time." Asher also remembers the notes commending her talent that Sheeley received from the Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney. "She was inspirational to other people, certainly women, since she was an integral part of the male-dominated rock world," Asher said. -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 3 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 06:16:27 +0100 From: simon white Subject: Mystery Gurl Does the panel know who Shelly Black was? There's at least one nice record on the Vigor label from the 70's, but I suspect the name hides the identity of a group member. Anyone? Anywhere? Anything? -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 4 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 18:09:35 -0000 From: alley cat Subject: Re: Sharon Sheeley Very sad news. What a year this has been. AM -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 5 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 11:41:57 -0700 (PDT) From: rickey412 Subject: Introduction Hi! I was really happy to see, while surfing the net, this website! I was born in 1957 and the music of the 50's and 60's as well as the 70's became the soundtrack of my life! I was a Disc-Jockey in the 70's so I was exposed to a lot of music but my all time favorites are old Motown, girl-groups and the Phil Spector 'Wall Of Sound'! I would love to talk with like minded people, and maybe one day get together and party! Peace and Love, Rickey412 -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 6 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 19:16:44 -0000 From: Phil Chapman Subject: Re: Introduction rickey412 wrote: > Hi! I was really happy to see, while surfing the net, this > website! Welcome to the asylum:-) Phil -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 7 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 13:11:30 -0700 From: Rob Bates Subject: MSNBC News Link: Songwriter Sharon Sheeley is dead Rob Bates sent you this MSNBC News Link: Message: Some unfortunate news . . . ** Songwriter Sharon Sheeley is dead ** Sheeley, who wrote Ricky Nelsons first No. 1 hit, "Poor Little Fool", penned many other rock songs. She died in of complications following an aneurysm at the age of 62. ______________________________________________________________________ Check out the hour's top stories on -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------
Message: 8 Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 16:15:32 -0400 From: james botticelli Subject: The Molybdenum Vault > rickey412 wrote: >> Hi! I was really happy to see, while surfing the net, this >> website! > > Welcome to the asylum:-) Rickey, don't expect much talk about any old radio hits here..over the past year or so this list has dug deeeeply into the Molybdenum Vault of Lost Dusties. Some of the records spoken of here are so rare they may not even exist! :-() -- Jimmy Botticelli Taking The E-Z...Way Out! -------------------[ archived by Spectropop ]-------------------

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