Blue-eyed soul singer Wayne Cochran was born in 1939 in Thomaston, Georgia. He started his first band in 1955 and was kicked out of high school for refusing to cut his flamboyant pompadour hairstyle. Cochran recorded his debut single, “My Little Girl”, for the Scottie label in 1959. He went on to record a slew of singles throughout the ’60s for such labels as Gala (“Funny Feeling,” “Liza Jane”), Confederate (“Linda Lu”), Aire (“Cindy Marie”), King (“Little Orphan Annie”) and Mercury (“Goin’ Back to Miami,” which rates as one of his single most incendiary R&B songs and was later covered by The Blues Brothers).
In the early ’60s he wrote and recorded the morbid teen death item “Last Kiss,” which became a huge #2 Billboard pop chart hit for ‘J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers’ in 1964. In 1963 he formed his own group called Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Ryders(“Cochran’s Circuit Riders”). The band amassed an enormous following in the South and Midwest by extensively touring and performing at clubs, lounges and seedy dives all over the region. Cochran was famous for his massive white pompadour, outrageous outfits and full-throttle, raw-throated hoarse-‘n’-ragged vocals.His voice was once described as like “3o Guage sandpaper.”
His performances often included him pushing over tables, rolling all over the floor, and throwing chairs out of the windows.
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The band became immensely popular house band at the Miami (FL) club the Barn. ‘Jackie Gleason’ in particular was a big fan of Cochran’s music and wrote the liner notes for his 1967 debut album. Cochran and the C.C. Riders appear as themselves in the biker exploitation flickC.C. & Company(1970). Moreover, Wayne not only made guest appearances on such TV programs as The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), The Merv Griffin Show (1962), The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (1956), The Jackie Gleason Show (1961),Late Night with David Letterman (1982), Tomorrow Coast to Coast (1973) and The Mike Douglas Show(1961) but also had straight acting roles on episodes of the TV series The Wild Wild West (1965) and The Duke (1979).
Cochran eventually became a born-again Christian and started his own ministry in 1981. He and the C.C. Riders performed at two reunion shows in 2001: they did a gig on July 26 in Miami, Florida, and did a second reunion show on August 1 in Hollywood, Florida. Wayne Cochran now lives in Miami, Florida, with his wife Monica.