Sharon “Shari” Sheeley, who in her teens wrote the 1950s hit “Poor Little Fool” and was with boyfriend-rock icon Eddie Cochran when he was fatally injured in a taxi crash in England, died May 17 at Sherman Oaks Hospital Medical Center of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 62
She was still in high school in Newport Beach when she wrote the song that became a million-seller for Ricky Nelson in 1958. She also wrote “Hurry Up” for Ritchie Valens (which he demo’d) and hung out with Elvis Presley. Living in England for several years, she remained in the limelight and had an influence on musicians including members of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Who.
She was introduced to guitarist Cochran (who wrote “Summertime Blues” and with whom she wrote “Somethin’ Else”) by ex-boyfriend Don Everly (of the Everly Brothers). She accompanied Cochran on a successful tour of England and was with him when the taxi they were in crashed near Bath, England, in 1960. He was killed at age 21; she incurred a fractured pelvis.
Returning to the U.S., she partnered with songwriter Jackie DeShannon, collaborating on the Brenda Lee hits “Dum Dum” and “Heart in Hand.” Other songs they collaborated on included “Breakaway” for Irma Thomas, “(He’s) The Great Impostor” for the Fleetwoods, “Trouble” for the Kalin Twins and several for a demo for a studio group that included then-unknown guitarist Glen Campbell.
Later she married Jimmy O’Neill and helped him start the ABC-TV rock ‘n’ roll series “Shindig!,” which he emceed.