Pianist and arranger Charles Cochran was a longtime fixture of the Nashville session scene, playing on records behind everyone from Johnny Cash to Garth Brooks. Born and raised in Midway, PA, Cochran began playing piano at age four, and began his professional career touring with high school classmate and fledgling pop star Bobby Vinton. During a subsequent military stint Cochran taught at the Navy School of Music, and later toured with the U.S. Navy Band. Eventually he settled in New York City, playing piano on myriad television commercials. Cochran settled in Nashville in 1971, quickly emerging as first-call player for hitmaking producers Allen Reynolds, "Cowboy" Jack Clement, and Garth Fundis. Classic sessions like Waylon Jennings' 1975 effort Dreaming My Dreams and Guy Clark's masterpiece Old No. 1 proved him a pianist of uncommon taste and economy, and he also earned notice as a songwriter, penning the likes of Dr. Hook's "Years from Now," Don Williams' "What Does It Matter to Me," and Ronnie Spector's "Boys Will Be Boys." As country music stormed the pop charts in the late '70s, Cochran surfaced on hits by Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, and Emmylou Harris, and also collaborated with cult favorites including John Prine and Townes Van Zandt. However, he enjoyed his greatest commercial success in the early '90s, contributing string arrangements to the Garth Brooks blockbusters No Fences and Ropin' the Wind. Cochran died June 7, 2007, of injuries suffered in a Nashville-area automobile accident. He was 71 years old.
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