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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 1,031

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This is the grave of Jerry Capehart.

Born in 1928 in Goodman, Missouri, Capehart entered the music industry as a young man, though that was interrupted a bit by being drafted into the Korean War. By the mid-50s, he was writing songs, producing records, and managing singers. As early as 1951, his songs were getting recorded by others, with Rosemary Clooney reaching #11 on the pop charts for his song “Beautiful Brown Eyes.” Jimmy Wakely hit #5 on the country charts with that song too. Capehart got on the rock and roll train pretty quick. Managing Eddie Cochran in 1958, they co-wrote a little song called “Summertime Blues” that remains one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. Just a great song. This has been recorded by so many people, with The Who’s version probably my favorite. Alan Jackson actually hit #1 with his version of it in 1994, definitely not my favorite though I’m sure Capehart didn’t mind the money. They also co-wrote Cochran’s big hit “C’mon Everybody.” He wrote for Glen Campbell as well, as that smooth country singer had his first hit, though not on the country charts, in 1961 with Capehart’s “Turn Around, Look at Me.” He released a few tracks under his own name in the late 50s through the mid 60s, though I don’t think any of them really did anything. Cochran’s unfortunate death in 1960 ended the most prominent portion of Capehart’s career, but he remained in the industry, producing, serving as an A&R man for record labels, and managing people through the entertainment industry, including Frank Gorshin, who you know as The Riddler on Batman, back when it was a TV series and not a series of ridiculously overwrought bad movies to fill contemporary people’s desperate need for superheroes as a way to avoid dealing with the reality of twenty-first century life.

In short, Capehart is a minor player in the history of rock music with one very shining moment and that alone makes him well worth remembering. This despite the fact that by the 1980s, Capehart had turned into a raving Christian fundamentalist right-winger. What are you going to do, he’s from rural Missouri.

Unfortunately, Capehart died of brain cancer in 1998, at the age of 69.

Jerry Capehart is buried in Howard Cemetery, Goodman, Missouri.

If you would like this series to visit some of the acts associated with Capehart, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Eddie Cochran is in Cypress, California and Glen Campbell is in Billstown, Arkansas. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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