World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Last Kiss

Article Id: WHEBN0002641879
Reproduction Date:

Title: Last Kiss  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, ¿Qué Hago Aquí?, Pearl Jam discography, List of Top 25 singles for 1999 in Australia, Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1964
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Last Kiss

"Last Kiss"
Single by Wayne Cochran
B-side "Funny Feeling" Written by: Joe Carpenter and Milt (Pete) Skelton
Released 1961
Format Vinyl
Recorded 1961 in Athens, Georgia on UGA's Campus, (original version)
1963 in Georgia (re-recorded version)
Genre Rhythm and blues, teen tragedy
Label Gala (original version - 1961)
King (re-recorded version - 1963)
Writer(s) Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon

"Last Kiss" is a song released by Wayne Cochran in 1961 on the Gala label. It failed to do well on the charts.[1] Cochran subsequently re-recorded his song for the King label in 1963. It was later revived by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, Pearl Jam and several international artists, including the Canadian group Wednesday, with varying degrees of success. The song was one of several teen tragedy songs from that period. The song's opening lyrics mirror the opening lyrics of Septimus Winner's "Der Deitcher's Dog".


  • The song's story 1
  • Original Version 2
  • J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers version 3
  • Pearl Jam version 4
    • Origin and recording 4.1
    • Release and reception 4.2
    • Live performances 4.3
    • Track listing 4.4
    • Charts and certifications 4.5
      • Weekly charts 4.5.1
      • Year-end charts 4.5.2
      • Certifications 4.5.3
  • Other cover versions 5
  • References 6

The song's story

The singer borrows his father's car to take his beloved sweetheart out on a romantic date (on a rainy night). Coming across a stalled car in the road, the singer swerves to the right to avoid it, losing control and crashing violently in the process. The crash renders both the singer and his girlfriend unconscious. The singer later regains consciousness and finds several people at the scene of the accident, but was able to find his girlfriend, still lying unconscious. When the singer cradles his girlfriend lovingly in his arms, she regains partial consciousness, smiling and asking the singer to "hold me, darling, just a little while." The singer then gives his sweetheart what would be their "last romantic kiss" as she fades into death and enters the afterlife.

In the song's chorus, the singer vows to be a good boy so that he may reunite with his dear sweetheart when his time comes, believing she has made it into Heaven.

Original Version

By Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon (1961)

In the summer of 1961, four friends traveled to the Wayne Cochran had written, with Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal and Bobby McGlon, called "Last Kiss". Wayne Cochran (vocals), Joe Carpenter (guitar), Bobby Rakestraw (bass), and Jerry Reppert (drums) recorded the song for the Gala label, a small label based in Vidalia. When the labels for the 45s, Gala #117, were printed, the names of co-writers Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal and Bobby McGlon were left off. Cochran evidently never asked Gala to change the label, to include the other names; to this day Cochran is the only one credited with writing "Last Kiss".

Cochran would go on to rerecord the song for release on Aire Records (1962),[2] in a slightly different tempo, with some changes to the lyrics and for re-release on King Records in 1963. In all, Cochran recorded four versions of the song, the original, Gala #117, Boblo Records #101, King Records #5856, and Aire Records #150, released as "Last Kiss" b/w "Edge of the Sea", with Cochran sharing vocals with an unnamed male vocalist. The Aire disc was easily the most different version of all, with heavy reverb and a staccato drumbeat. Aire Records, located in Dublin GA, credited the song to Perry Music, as did the Gala recording. The Boblo disc credited "Last Kiss" to Macon Music, while the King record cited Boblo-BMI. The Boblo record featured "Last Kiss II" b/w "Hey! Baby" (Boblo 101-A), produced by Bobby Smith, offering another take on the song, with different lyrics, a faster tempo, and different instrumentation. A fifth version of the song was cobbled from the Boblo recording, rechanneled for stereo, on Radical Musik Records, probably around 1973.

The original opens with the sound of a screeching crash, then the drums start, and the bass picks up the beat; in contrast, the final version sounds like a cross between a pop arrangement and a reggae recording. Cochran loaded 45's in the trunk of his car, taking them along to gigs, to sell to fans, although it didn't help much. Over the course of the four versions, Cochran expanded his (and his co-writers') concept of the song, seeking a wider audience. Cochran would later go on to Miami, where he found moderate success playing nightclubs, with his band, CC Ryders. Jackie Gleason had Cochran on his television show several times. Cochran went into the ministry, in later years; he doesn't talk about his rock and roll years anymore.

A long-running rumor held the song was based on an auto accident that killed 16-year-old Jeanette Clark, who was on a date with J.L. Hancock, also 16, in

On September 18, 1961, Billboard Music Week printed a review of the song "Last Kiss"[4] and gave it three stars but said nothing about the song itself in the review. None of the records charted, failing even to reach the "Bubbling Under" level, although the record was a local hit in Georgia, before it disappeared.

Billboard had kind words for the B-Side, in its review of "Last Kiss" — giving four stars to the song called "Funny Feeling", on the flip side, written by Joe Carpenter and Milt Pete Skelton. The reviewer said, "Blues, chanted in relaxed style, with a funky guitar backing. Derivative but a good job."[5] "Funny Feeling" didn't make an impression on Disc Jockeys, either.

J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers version

"Last Kiss"
Single by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers
from the album Last Kiss
B-side "That's How Much I Love You"
Released June 1964
Format Vinyl
Recorded 1964 in San Angelo, Texas Accurate Sound Co.
Genre Rock and roll, Teen tragedy
Length 2:25
Label Josie
Writer(s) Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon
Producer(s) Sonley Roush

"Last Kiss" came to the attention of record promoter Sonley Roush, a Texas promoter eking out a living, looking for the next big thing. Roush brought the song to a group that he managed, the Cavaliers, with the proviso that singer J Frank Wilson was still with the band. Wilson joined the Cavaliers after his discharge from Goodfellow Air Force Base (San Angelo, Texas) in 1962, but had left for a while, unsure of the future. Son Roush, would subsequently split the group to place lead singer Wilson with better musicians. Be that as it may, J. Frank Wilson (vocalist), Gene Croyle (guitar), Roland Atkinson (drums), Lewis Elliott (bass), Sid Holmes, (piano), Sonley Roush and Ron Newdoll (studio owner) were all at Accurate Sound Recording studio around 1:00 pm in early August, 1964, when they made the record that would bring them lasting fame. The band worked all afternoon on the song, recording it over and over, with few pauses, for three straight hours, until Roush was satisfied, with take #64. The record was first released locally, on Le Cam Records (#722), then on Tamara Records (#761), becoming a local hit. Eventually released on Josie Records (#923), the record became a hit in the Fall of 1964.

Released on September 5, 1964, Josie 923 spent 15 weeks on the charts, reaching #2 on November 7, spending 15 weeks on the charts, held out of the top spot by "Baby Love", the 2nd Supremes' #1 of 1964, which spent 4 weeks in the top spot. "Last Kiss" would spend 8 weeks in the Top Ten; the record sold over one million copies, and propelled the resulting album onto the album charts. The Le Cam #722-A disc is noted as 2m 14s, while both the Tamara Records #761 release, and the Josie Records #923 platter has a time of 2m 25s, an 11-second difference.

J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers had their first commercial success with "Last Kiss". Their cover version reached the Top 10 in October, staying for 8 weeks. It eventually reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts,[6] and also earned the band a gold record. Roush took a reconstituted version of the band, J. Frank Wilson, Gene Croyle, Bobby Wood, Jerome Graham, and Phil Trunzo, on a brutal promotional tour, in support of the record.

On a concert trip to Ohio, the band had just left Parksburg, West Virgina, heading to Lima, Ohio, for a performance at the Candy Cane Club. At about 5:15 a.m., Roush apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The car drifted across the centerline and rammed head-on into a trailer truck. Roush was killed instantly, but Wilson, sitting in the front seat, and Bobby Wood (vocalist / piano) from Memphis, sitting in the back, suffered serious injuries, including broken ribs and a broken ankle. He went on with the tour, though, taking only a week off. People still remember him coming out on the stage on crutches to sing "Last Kiss" and "Hey, Little One." The second accident had an effect on record sales, nevertheless, pushing the song to #2 (it had stalled at #3) on the national charts.[7] The Last Kiss album cover shows Wilson kneeling over the young woman portraying the dying girl. Supposedly, first printings of the cover showed blood trickling from the girl's face but was air-brushed out, by the record company, determined not to interfere with sales by alienating parents.

The song was re-released (Virgo 506) at the end of 1973 and reached No. 92 in January 1974, spending a total of five weeks in Billboard's Hot 100. Coincidentally, J. Frank Wilson's version re-charted five weeks after the version by the Canadian group Wednesday charted. Wilson would continue to record, unsuccessfully, until 1978. He died on October 4, 1991, due to alcoholism caused by business stresses and pain caused from his injuries in the car wreck. When he died, he was in a nursing home, only 49 years old. Wilson had been cheated out of all the money the record brought in, by his label and manager.

Pearl Jam version

"Last Kiss"
Single by Pearl Jam
from the album Lost Dogs
B-side "Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)"
Released June 8, 1999
Format CD single, Cassette, Vinyl
Recorded September 19, 1998 at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C.
Genre Alternative rock
Length 3:16
Label Epic
Writer(s) Wayne Cochran, Joe Carpenter, Randall Hoyal & Bobby McGlon
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Pearl Jam singles chronology
"Last Kiss"
"Nothing as It Seems"

"Last Kiss" was also covered by the American rock band Pearl Jam for the 1999 charity album No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees.[8] It would also appear on the group's 2003 rarities album Lost Dogs.

Origin and recording

The idea to cover "Last Kiss" came about after vocalist Eddie Vedder found an old record of the song at the Fremont Antique Mall in Seattle, Washington.[9] He convinced the rest of the band to try out the song and it was performed a few times on the band's 1998 tour. The band eventually recorded the song at a soundcheck at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., and released it as a 1998 fan club Christmas single.[10][11] The band spent only a couple of thousand dollars mixing the song.[12] Bassist Jeff Ament said, "It was the most minimalist recording we've ever done."[11]

Release and reception

In the following year the cover of "Last Kiss" began to be played by radio stations and was ultimately put into heavy rotation across the US. By popular demand the cover was released to the public as a single on June 8, 1999, with all of the proceeds going to the aid of refugees of the Kosovo War. The cover also was featured on the 1999 charity compilation album, No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees.[13] The song helped earn about $10 million for Kosovo relief.[12]

The cover would end up reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. This remains Pearl Jam's highest position on the Billboard Hot 100. It peaked at No. 4 on the Top 40 Mainstream. The song reached No. 5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and No. 2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. The "Last Kiss" single has been certified gold by the RIAA.[14]

Outside the United States, the single was released commercially in Australia, Austria, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom. In Canada, the song reached No. 2 on the Canadian Top Singles chart and became the band's highest charted song in Canada, and later it charted on the Canadian Rock Top 30 chart, where it reached No. 4 and stayed there for two weeks. "Last Kiss" also reached No. 22 on the Canadian Year End Rock Top 50. "Last Kiss" reached the top 50 in the UK. "Last Kiss" peaked atop the Australian Singles Chart. It reached the top 80 in the Netherlands and was a moderate top 20 success in New Zealand.

Christopher John Farley of Time said, "It's a spare, morose song with Vedder's voice warbling lovelorn over a straight-ahead drum beat. Going back to basics has put Pearl Jam back on top."[8] Regarding the cover, guitarist Stone Gossard said, "You can try album after album to write a hit and spend months getting drum sounds and rewriting lyrics, or you can go to a used record store and pick out a single and fall in love with it."[15] Pearl Jam included "Last Kiss" on the 2003 B-sides and rarities album, Lost Dogs, and on the 2004 greatest hits album, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991–2003). The rarities album's title Lost Dogs may refer to the subject of Winner's song "Der Deitcher's Dog", a dog that cannot be found, despite its description.

Live performances

Pearl Jam first performed its cover of "Last Kiss" live at the band's May 7, 1998, concert in Live at the Gorge 05/06 box set.

Track listing

  1. "Last Kiss" (Wayne Cochran) – 3:15
  2. "Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)" (Buzz Cason, Tony Moon) – 2:54

Charts and certifications

Other cover versions

The song has a long tradition in Latin American popular music. The most popular version was recorded in 1965 for the Mexican singer Polo, (ex-member of Los Apson) with the title of "El Último Beso" in Spanish translated by the Mexican TV Director and tennis teacher Omero Gonzalez, this Spanish version has been covered by several bands: Los American's, Los Johnny Jets, Los 007, Los Doltons, the Colombian singer Alci Acosta recorded a cover of "Last Kiss" that became a hit in his country.

The band Wednesday's version reached #34 on Billboard in 1974.

In 2011, Trent Dabbs recorded a cover of "Last Kiss" for the hit television series The Vampire Diaries in Season 2 Episode 18: "The Last Dance".

Meadow Ryann covered this on her debut cover album, Wings.

Cœur de Pirate covered the song for the soundtrack of the 2014 season of the Canadian TV show, "Trauma".


  1. ^ "Best Of '99: Author Of Pearl Jam's Biggest Hit Has God To Thank". July 12, 1999.
  2. ^ "Forgotten Hits". Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "Forgotten Hits". Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  4. ^ Last Kiss (Page 77)
  5. ^ "Funny Feeling", Page 72, continued on page 77, from Google Books
  6. ^ "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson And The Cavaliers".
  7. ^ Matthew, Brian. "Sounds of the 60s". BBC Radio 2. September 26, 2009.
  8. ^ a b Farley, Christopher John. "Last Kiss". Time. July 19, 1999.
  9. ^ Cohen, Jonathan. "Lost Dogs"The Pearl Jam Q & A: . Billboard. 2003.
  10. ^ Rosen, Craig. "Pearl Jam's 'Last Kiss' Becomes Band's First No. 1 Single". Yahoo! Music. July 1, 1999.
  11. ^ a b Stout, Gene. "Pearl Jam's Ament has smaller fish to fry at festival". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. July 30, 1999.
  12. ^ a b (2003) Album notes for Lost Dogs by Pearl Jam, [CD booklet]. New York: Sony Music.
  13. ^ "The Unofficial Pearl Jam FAQ".
  14. ^ a b "American single certifications – Pearl Jam – Last Kiss".   If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  15. ^ Anderman, Joan. "Wisdom of Pearl". The Boston Globe. May 24, 2006.
  16. ^ "Pearl Jam Songs: "Last Kiss"".
  17. ^ " – Pearl Jam – Last Kiss". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  18. ^ " – Pearl Jam – Last Kiss" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  19. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 69, No. 21, September 13, 1999".  
  20. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 69, No. 16, August 09 1999".  
  21. ^ " – Pearl Jam – Last Kiss" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ " – Pearl Jam – Last Kiss". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Chart Log: 1994-2006". Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  24. ^ a b c "Pearl Jam Artist Chart History".  
  25. ^ a b c "Pearl Jam – Billboard Singles".  
  26. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  27. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 70, No. 8, December 13, 1999".  
  28. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 70, No. 8, December 13, 1999".  
  29. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Singles".  
  30. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1999".  
Preceded by
"If You Had My Love" by Jennifer Lopez
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single
(Pearl Jam's cover version)

August 1 – September 18, 1999
Succeeded by
"Mambo No. 5" by Lou Bega
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.