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 1960s 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. The band was the immensely popular house band at the Miami 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 flick C.C. & Company (1970). Moreover, Wayne not only made guest appearances on such TV programs.
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 lived in Miami, Florida with his wife Monica (who died in February, 2017). Cochran died at age 78 from cancer on November 21, 2017.