Sharon Sheeley

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One of the first and most successful female songwriters of the early rock & roll era, Sharon Sheeley first earned notice for penning Ricky Nelson's 1958 chart-topping classic "Poor Little Fool." A year…
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Songwriter
One of the first and most successful female songwriters of the early rock & roll era, Sharon Sheeley first earned notice for penning Ricky Nelson's 1958 chart-topping classic "Poor Little Fool." A year later, ex-boyfriend Phil Everly introduced her to fellow rocker Eddie Cochran, with whom she co-wrote the oft-covered classic "Somethin' Else"; by now Cochran's fiancee, in the spring of 1960 she travelled with him and Gene Vincent on a riotously well-received tour of Britain, but en route to London the threesome's car crashed -- Sheeley and Vincent survived, but Cochran died at the age of just 21. Returning to the U.S. she partnered with songwriter Jackie DeShannon, collaborating on the Brenda Lee hits "Dum Dum" and "Heart in Hand"; their other efforts included Irma Thomas' "Breakaway" (later revived by Tracey Ullman), the Fleetwoods' "(He's) The Great Impostor" and the Kalin Twins' "Trouble." Sheeley also mentored aspiring pop singer James Marcus Smith, whom she rechristened P.J. Proby in honor of a former boyfriend. Later married to Jimmy O'Neill, emcee of television's Shindig!, Sheeley largely vanished from the spotlight as the 1960s progressed; in mid-2000, the British label RPM issued Songwriter, a collection of vintage demos recorded by a studio group including then-unknown guitarist Glen Campbell, bassist David Gates, keyboardist Leon Russell and drummer Hal Blaine.