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Jon Remembers Hank Cochran – 2014 Country Hall of Fame Inductee

Last week, the list of inductees going into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014 was announced and they are Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman and Hank Cochran. There are songwriters and there are songwriters, but Hank Cochran might be the best of all time. When Leslie and I mentioned this last week, she asked me about Hank Cochran and who he was. I don’t think there is an active country artist alive today that does not  know who Hank Cochran is or at least his name.

Cochran wrote some of country’s biggest songs including Patsy Cline’s timeless classic ‘I Fall to Pieces’, ‘Is It Raining At Your House’ and ‘Right in the Wrong Direction’, both of which were mega hits for Vern Gosdin. He also wrote ‘Make The World Go Away’, which was a huge hit for both Ray Price and Eddy Arnold and recorded more than 100 times.

Along with fellow writes Harlan Howard and Max D. Barnes, Cochran helped give modern country music it’s identity, sound, shape and heart-felt emotion that embodies what country music is. To be honest, when I read last week he was in the 2014 Hall of Fame class, I was stunned because while I knew he was in the Songwriter’s hall of Fame, I thought he had been in the Country Music Hall of Fame for years, which is not the case.

His influence was so great for so long, I just assumed he was there. I guess the old adage, ‘Better late than never’ applies here, but Cochran died in 2010 and I think it is a crying shame he did not see his work recognized for what it is… Cochran was to a song what Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Michelangelo were to a blank canvas.

Jamey Johnson did an album called ‘Living For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran’, which is a collection of Cochran songs covered by Johnson, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and one of Cochran’s favorite singers of all time, Alison Krauss.

Below are two videos, the first being Johnson and many other artists talking about Cochran’s life, career and influence. The second is a song from Johnson’s album, a song written by Cochran and performed by Johnson, Cochran, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. Listen to that song and you will know everything you will ever need to know about Hank Cochran.


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