Iconic soul singer, Wayne Cochran, who was often called the “blue-eyed soul” singer, has passed away at his Florida home, reported AP. According to his son Christopher Cochran, Cochran died of cancer. He was 78.
The singer, who was called the White Knight of Soul for songs like “Last Kiss,” came into his own musically in the 1960s and 1970s. His fans included the Blues Brother, Rod Stewart.
He gave up all his success to become a minister at a church he founded in Miami. AP says “life in the fast lane took a toll on him.”
Instead of crashing and burning, Cochran gave up partying. He broke with his band in the 1970s, and he started the Voice for Jesus Church near Miami Gardens in a row of warehouses.
Cochran, who was born Thomaston, Georgia, marveled at his success as a pastor. He called himself, “a hillbilly with a sixth-grade education,” and, he added, “I’m a rock ‘n’ roll singer. And yet, pastors will recognize the anointing and invite you in for four or five days to teach their flocks.”
As a white teen growing up in west Georgia, Cochran felt captivated by black music. That would influence his musical style. He would also work with soul singer Otis Redding.
“I never heard race in the music. It was just music that spoke to me. It moved me,” he told the Herald in 2011.
Cochran didn’t abandon music when he became a pastor. He used music in his ministry. He didn’t have a typic church; he said it was “one where folks to come to get ecstatic, have a good time and boogie.”
Speaking about his father, his son Christopher said, “He was all about family.”
Christopher, who is also a pastor continued, “Over the course of his 25-year career in the music industry he employed over 300 people with different members of the band and the people at his church. He always looked after people. He ran his building like a big family.”
Please pray for Cochran’s family and his church as they deal with their grief over his death.