Album: Last Kiss Sessions (1964)
Charted: 2
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  • This teenage tragedy song tells the story of a young couple who are out on a date when their car crashes. The driver - the guy - blacks out. When he comes to, he holds the girl in his arms and gives her one last kiss before she dies. He knows she's in heaven, so he's doing his best to be good so he can see her again someday.

    Sadly, it's based on a true story.

    On December 22, 1962, five teenagers were riding in a 1954 Chevy on Highway 341 in rural Barnesville, Georgia. The driver was J.L Hancock, a 16-year-old who was dating Jeanette Clark, also 16 and riding in the front seat next to him. Beside her was Wayne Cooper; two other passengers, Jewel Emerson and Ed Shockley, were in the back seat.

    It was foggy, and by the time Hancock saw a flatbed truck stalled on the highway, it was too late. He crashed into it, going under the truck and killing everyone in the front seat; the two passengers in the back survived with serious injuries.
  • This was written by Wayne Cochran, who lived on Route 1941 in Georgia, which was about 15 miles away from the crash. It was a busy road, and Cochran saw lots of accidents on it. He was working on a song based on all the crashes he saw, and was about halfway done with it when he heard about the wreck in Barnesville. There was an intense emotional response from the community after the tragedy, and Cochran used those feelings to finish the song, which he dedicated it to Jeanette Clark.
  • Cochran's version was a local hit in Georgia, which prompted a Texas record company to record it with J. Frank Wilson and release it nationally.
  • Cochran named the song "Last Kiss" because it was the dramatic high point of the song, and also because there was a song out by Floyd Cramer called "Last Date."
  • Copies of Cochran's original version were sold out of the trunks of cars; Major Bill Smith (producer of "Hey Paula" by Paul and Paula) bought a copy and persuaded J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers to cover it.
  • Cochran went on to have limited success in the Miami area playing Rhythm & Blues with his band Wayne Cochran And The C.C. Riders. He wrote "Going Back To Miami," which was featured on the Blues Brothers live album. The bass player for Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders was Jaco Pastorius, who went on to revolutionize the electric bass. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rick - Wanganui, New Zealand and Steve - Cincinnati, OH
  • In 1973, this was revived in Canada by the group Wednesday. Their version went to #1 there and earned several Juno nominations, and an RPM award foroutstanding record sales in Canada. It also was released in the US the same year, selling over 200,000 copies. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 3
  • Pearl Jam introduced this to a new audience when they released it as a single in 1999. Their version also went to #2.
  • The band's producer, Son Roush, subsequently split the group to place lead singer J. Frank Wilson with better musicians. Four months after the release of this song, the new band were touring in Ohio. At about 5:15 a.m., Roush apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The car drifted left of center and rammed head-on into a trailer truck. Roush was killed instantly. Wilson survived with a few broken ribs and a broken ankle, but went right on with the tour, 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 is what pushed this song to #2 on the national charts.
  • J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers never again cracked the Top 40. Wilson later retired from music and went to work in a nursing home. He died in 1991 at 49.

Comments: 33

  • Kim G from San AntonioMy father recently passed. Going through old boxes, I found a letter to my dad from J Frank Wilson dated June 1974. There was a newspaper article enclosed. Intrigued I began my quest for information. Who was he and what song made him famous? Quoting the article enclosed in the letter, J Frank worked as an orderly in a small nursing home in Lufkin, TX where he grew up, making $250 a month. He was on food stamps to make ends meet, was on his sixth wife and had a 17 mo old daughter. He said the song was a gold record, sold 15 million copies, made 4 or 5 million dollars and he only got $2700. I have always loved Last Kiss, and was surprised to read the letter, but apparently, he "worked" (?) with my dad who was a realtor, and they had a close personal friendship. Wilson commented about a Sat. evening visit to our home where he enjoyed my mom's fried chicken and homemade ice cream. I would have been a star struck teenager if I'd have only realized at the time what song it was that he sang.
  • Darla Mauro from West Haven,ctLast kiss by Pearl Jam as one of my favorite songs. I had a feeling it had to do with a real tragedy and The song have to do with a few tragedies
  • Alfred Mcintosh from Santa Rosa New Mexico One of my favorite songs of all time.
  • Paula from Lufkin TxIt was 1988 or 89 when i worked in the nursing home where Jay Frank Wilson was, I got a completely different story. I was told he wrote the song and the wreck killed the love of his life and he jumped from a building trying to commit suicide and had a plate in his head. I would get cussed from him often he would call me a n-blabk bish and I am white, the only way you could get him quiet was to use his smokes. His Mom visited him often and I remember a gold record on the wall.
  • Christopher from Panama CityI heard a version of this song once where a female sang a last verse. Does anyone know who did that version? I cannot find it anywhere.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 6th 1965, J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers performed "Last Kiss" and "Hey Little One" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    {See next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 30th 1964, "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #73; and on November 1st, 1964 it peaked at #2 {for 1 week} and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100 {and for 8 of those 15 weeks it was on the Top 10}...
    The week it was at #2 on the Top 100, the #1 record for that week was "Baby Love" by the Supremes...
    The group had one other Top 100 record, "Hey Little One", it stayed on the chart for two weeks, peaking at #85...
    "Last Kiss" re-entered the Top 100 on December 16th, 1973; it peaked at #92 and spent 5 weeks on the chart...
    As stated above in 1973 the group Wednesday, aka Wenzday, covered the song, in the U.S.A. their version peaked at #34 and stayed on the Top 100 for 18 weeks...
    Sadly, J. Frank Wilson passed away on October 4th, 1991 at the young age of 49.
  • Gus from Ocala, FlI would like to know the names of the cavaliers in a picture used for the cover of Last Kiss. I know Snake is in the middle and Mike Hodges is on the far right, can anyone help? I also trying to get in touch with Mike "Duck" or Roland "Snake" from the band. I used to be a member during the recording of Last Kiss but quit shortly after the release of it.
  • Coy from Palestine, TxThe song was definitely NOT about Clark and Hancock since it was written by Cochran and his band almost a year earlier than the accident, in 1961. The original record by Cochran didn't list the co-writers and Cochran took credit for writing the entire song. J. Frank Wilson also didn't retire from music and "work for a nursing home". He was cheated out of all the money the record brought in by his label and manager. He became an alcoholic because of the business and he suffered from pain from a car wreck. Wilson died in a Nursing Home at the age of 49.
  • Robert from Minneapolis, MnI got the address from a lady friend of mine of some guy that sent me the original on a CD. I can't remember his name but he knew all the facts that is spoken about in this article. I have always liked old sad songs like this one and to name a few Patches and Laurie by Dickie Lee, Running Bear , Apache, Mr. Jones also about a car accident in which an old black man takes a white baby from the dying arms of his mother and raises the boy per her last request.
  • Phoenixzero from Midland, MiThis song was originally written and recorded in 1961, over a year before Jeannette Clark's death.
  • Phil from Geneva, NyMy name is Phil Trunzo. I was the Bass Player that was picked up in Rochester,NY by Sonley Rousch. The band was one of the toughest bands I had ever worked with. We were traveling a different state every day and working every night. I was in the vehicle in which Sonley was killed. We just left Parksburg West Virgina heading to Lima when the accident happened. I know the real story about this group and how the accident happened. I was there. email me if you want to know
  • Caterina from Waterford, MiThe artist is Buddy Holly originally.
  • Diana from Three Rivers, MiHello,
    My grandson and I are in a bet of who did this song, I say J Frank Wilson and he says Del shannon. Would you please tell us who did this orginally. Thank You Diana Jenkins
  • Molli from Dacono, CoI love this song. When my two sisters and I were 9, 8, and 7 and this song came on the radio we would put pillows in front of my moms stereo and listen to the song and cry.
    MA Kroll Denver, Co
  • Jamie from Bedford, KyIlove this songgg! They played it at my dads funeral. (:
    Its a really god song to.

    -Jamie Cotto, 14.
  • Debbie from Wichita, Ksi was young when this song came out. But i have loved in from the start. JUST LISTEN TO THE WORDS. They say alot!!
    debbie, wichita, Kansas
  • Gene from Ft. Worth, TxI don't care what anybody says - this is the BEST song ever recorded - I have loved this song for over forty years and always will til the day I die and I hope they play it at my funeral !!!
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI didn't know this was based on a true story,and it happened before Christmas.
  • Rodney from New York, NyI heard a cool spanish version of this song, El ultimo beso, by some peruvian group known as The Doltons (of the 70s), gee, they really did a good translation, lyrics and music matched, they really rocked the song dude.
  • Penelope from Geeveston , AzHey i absoulutely love this song...
    It reminds me of me and my brother, because we used to go rallying in my brother's car put the bush and we used to crash the car all the time and i was always put in hospital.. Once i was put in hospital and the last thing my brother gave me was a hug and kiss before we got in the car and we were going 180km in the car and we crashed and i was stuck in the car and my brother had to ring the ambulance and they came and the car caught a light as soon as i was but i was unconcious and i was in a coma for 6 months and everyone thought i wasn't going to make it but luckily i did...
  • Michael from Cincinnati, OhMy name is Mike Hodges and I was the keyboard player with the Cavaliers during the period that Last Kiss was recorded and popular.My main purpose in commenting is that I hope to locate the guitar player from the old Cavaliers band.I went into the marine corps May of 1966 and have not had any contact since then.The last info I have is that he and his folks moved to either Memphis or Nashville when I was in the marine corps 1966-1969.If anyone knows where he is,or better yet,how I can contact him I would surely appreciate e-mail address is Thanks
  • Jack Mayer from Deer Park, TxJ.Frank was my half brother. If you want the truth about what happen to him email me...there is a website I have it....6/9/7
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesHenry, that's because that is what happens -- including to the kids whose deaths inspired this song.
  • Henry from Kingston, NyThis is really a pretty creepy song. There's no message, it's not like they were drinking, the girl just dies for no reason.
  • Rachael from Phoenix, AzI just read a book called Last Kiss, which is a fictional story based on this song. It is awesome! It tells an imaginative story surrounding the true incident and answers alot of "what ifs." LOVED this story! It's called Last Kiss by Marilyn Smith-Porter. A MUST read!
  • Heather Hawkins from Pierce City, MoThis song reminds me of my sister, April, who was killed in a car accident on July 11, 2005. It reminds me of my sister,because on July 7, 2005, April's boyfriend was picking her up from her job, in Monett, Missouri. Well she wanted to drive so he let her drive; they were in our dad's car and the last thing she asked for, was a kiss and that's the last thing she got. Well as she pulled out of the parkinglot, a car driven by a 15 year old girl, hit the side of my sister's car, through her out and she landed near the street light. She died four days later. And until the day we go walk to heaven's gates, to be with her, we will always miss her. We love you April.
  • Daymon from Ontariothis a true story a car was stalled the moter was dead he sweved to the right and his gf died
  • Devin from San Diego, Cai don't like this version, it sounds like it's sung without passion and feeling, like he's just singing any ole song...
  • Mark from Regina, CanadaHello,

    I hope you don't mind if this gets posted and hope you like, send comments back to me about your likes or dislikes about it.


    Last Miss


    Oh, where oh where can my babies be?
    The department of social services took them away from me.
    They've gone to foster parents and they say I got to be good,
    if I want to see my babies again, I better do what I should.

    I've got to find a way to get off these drugs,
    or I'll never see my babies playing again on my rugs.
    I've got to quit buying those tees and ares, (ts + rs)
    and I shouldn't have stolen those two nice cars.
    I got caught involved with credit card fraud,
    and in my mug shot, I looked really odd.
    I've got to go to court, because they want me to pay,
    for something else I did wrong on one other day.
    I've got to quit shoplifting just to get some money for a fix,
    I guess drugs and children well they just don't mix.
    I've got to make sure in the future that the needle doesn't win,
    or they'll lock me up, institutionalize or put me in the looney bin.
    I've got to stop spending money just to get a few sets,
    and then wonder why I can't afford cigarettes.

    Repeat chorus.

    I've got to look up, Lord, instead of looking at my arm, which is down,
    or I might wind up horizontal six feet underground.
    I want to learn things and go to university,
    but something is wrong with my head and my poor memory.
    When I wake up in the morning I feel so darn groggy,
    maybe I should try strong coffee or that kava kava remedy.
    A woman gave me her card, I think her name is Michelle,
    she's a natural health consultant, maybe she'll be able to tell.
    Now that my babies are gone, it really does hurt,
    I just wanted to get high, but only got a handful of dirt.
    I've really got to find a way to get off of welfare,
    or my babies will grow up and say I just didn't care.
    I have such a hard time trying to manage my money,
    it's the root of all evil and I don't find that funny.
    If they take away my babies for good, I hope they give me one last kiss,
    because if I break the law again, it'll be my very last miss.

    Repeat chorus.

    You may repeat the ''last kiss'last miss' sentence here if you wish.

    Oooh ~ ~ Oooh ~ ~ Oooh ~ ~ Oooh.

    Sing to the tune called 'Last Kiss' (sung by J. Frank Wilson And The Cavaliers in 1964 says and says Wayne Cochran wrote it) or it can be rapped. Copyright 2005 by Mark L. Harris, contact at 306-546-5403 or M_L_Harris, assist me in finding a singer, you will receive royalty or you can help invest in making a demo. More songs and poems available by request via e-mail. I give all credit to God for this blessing who I asked to help me come up with this gift according to His Will for people who relate to drugs & missing babies after they get caught committing a crime or sin.
  • Sid from San Angelo, TxYou need to get the facts before you post. Go to clicking on Honor Roll then click on J. Frank then The Cavaliers (underlined)for the complete facts. Once you do this you will see how far off base you are. Thanks, Sid
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaI thought it was called "When I Leave This World" ????
  • Fred from Summit, NeJ. Frank Wilson record at least 2 separate versions of the song. Originally the song was issued on LeCam Records, followed by Tamara Records, and then Josie Records where the Hit was borne. The Tamara issue was different from the Josie recording, however I'm not sure if the LeCam issue was the same as the Tamara issue.
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