Local Obituaries

Wayne Cochran had so many fans, services are open to the public. We have a date.

In this July 25, 1999, photo, Wayne Cochran preaches at the Voice For Jesus Church in Miami.
In this July 25, 1999, photo, Wayne Cochran preaches at the Voice For Jesus Church in Miami. Miami Herald File

The Nov. 21 death of Wayne Cochran, the rock ‘n’ roller turned popular South Florida evangelist, has led to an outpouring of interest in his services.

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Wayne Cochran, with his trademark platinum pompadour in the 1960s. Miami Herald File

The family has set a date, son Christopher Cochran said.

Services for Cochran, who was 78, will be from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Jesus People Ministries, 4055 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens.

More: Read Wayne Cochran’s obituary

Cochran, who died of cancer at his Miramar home, was the James Brown-influenced soul singer known for his platinum pompadour who came to be called, “The White Knight of Soul.” His ode to his adopted hometown, “Goin’ Back to Miami,” became a signature recording for the “Saturday Night Live” comedy duo The Blues Brothers, led by Day Aykroyd and John Belushi. The pair cut the song for their live 1980 album, “Made in America.”

Cochran wrote and recorded “Goin’ Back to Miami” in the mid-1960s when he made Miami his permanent home in 1964. Along with his energetic backing band, C.C. Riders (for Cochran Circuit), the songwriter performed the tune to a national audience on “The Jackie Gleason Show.”

“Wayne was a genius and truly one of the all-time greats who inspired so many legends in his own right,” said Fernand Amandi, head of the Miami-based Bendixen & Amandi polling firm. In May 2016, host Amandi conducted an interview with Cochran on his former WIOD radio talk show.

Cochran WIOD
Rock and soul legend Wayne Cochran, center, after conducting his final interview on May 6, 2016, with the Fernand Amandi Show on NewsRadio 610-WIOD. Cochran is flanked by producer Scotty Mednick, left, and host Amandi. Courtesy Fernand Amandi

Cochran and his C.C. Riders became the house band at The Barn on the 79th Street Causeway in 1964.

“I spent a good chunk of my earlier years at the Barn. If you loved soul music, that was a special place,” said rbb Communications’ senior counsel Bruce Rubin in an email to the Miami Herald.

Seattle rockers Pearl Jam turned Cochran’s 1961 tune, “Last Kiss,” into a No. 2 Billboard pop hit in 1999. “Last Kiss” was also a Top 40 hit for J. Frank and the Cavaliers in 1964, and the Canadian group Wednesday in 1973. Mexican singer Gloria Trevi had a hit on the Latin charts with her version of “Last Kiss” in 1990.

In 2011, the song, covered by Trent Dabbs, was featured on an episode of “The Vampire Diaries.”

After some lean years, Cochran broke up C.C. Riders in the 1970s and traded rock ‘n’ roll to become a Miami minister. The Georgia-born Cochran started the Voice for Jesus Church near Miami Gardens in a row of warehouses along the Palmetto Expressway and Northwest 167th Street.

Services there were as rousing as his classic rock ‘n’ roll hits.

“He was a legend,” said attorney John Shubin, partner at Shubin & Bass in Miami, in an email to the Miami Herald. “I knew his music well. Wished I could have seen him at The Barn. Know a few people who did, and it was special.”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen