by Robert Wilkinson
Today we celebrate the 70th birthday of a vocal force of Nature, the legendary Joe Cocker. Waving arms, roaring vocals, and a look that could come from a bar brawl rather than a stadium stage, this guy is one for the ages!
It's also Cher's birthday. I have included a brief tribute at the end of the Joe Cocker birthday celebration featuring some of her most famous tunes with Sonny, and some complete shows where she shows a diamond polish! For now, though, we'll postpone the polished diamond and celebrate a very rough uncut stone(r)!
Joe Cocker (20 May 1944) has certainly been blessed with some of the best backing musicians around! Jimmy Page was a contributor to his studio versions of "Marjorine" and "With A Little Help From My Friends," as was Procol Harem's drummer, BJ Wilson. In his touring band he had Henry McCullough, who later went on to play in Paul McCartney's Wings, and by 1969-1971 was part of the rolling party known as "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" with Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon, Bobby Keys, and a host of other top shelf musicians.
Joe has given us some amazing interpretations of other people's songs, and so without further delay, here's Joe Cocker!
We begin with his 1968 single, set to a still drawing of Joe back when.
From 1969, the studio version set to stills of Leon Russell's "Delta Lady"
Here's the set that introduced the world to his thrashing and flailing on stage! From the 1969 original Woodstock festival, here are live performances of:
And the set closer, "With A Little Help From My Friends."
From 1970, some great live performances at the Fillmore East and other venues by Mad Dogs and Englishmen with occasional montages courtesy of the DVD! And yes, it’s more or less in order of the set list.
First, the intro to the movie! “The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen”
Here's the band jamming in a bar after the show!
Speaking of Mad Dogs and Englishmen, here’s the entire 1 hour 56 minute film! Mad Dogs and Englishmen Live at the Fillmore East 1970
More great live performances!
From November 1969, "Something"
"You Are So Beautiful" live at Montreux in 1987.
From nearly unplugged, another version of "You Are So Beautiful"
From The Tour For A.R.M.S, live at Madison Square Garden on 9 December 1983, Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker doing "Worried Life Blues"
From the Best of Joe Cocker Live,
From Berlin in Oct 1980, Joe live performing his own unique version of “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
From 1983 with Jennifer Warnes, Joe's Grammy award winning "Up Where We Belong"
Live from Detroit in 1987, "When A Man Loves A Woman"
At the Prince's Trust in 1988, "The Letter"
Joe Cocker in Berlin 1992 doing "Feelin' Alright"
Live from Dortmund, Germany in 1992, here’s Joe live performing “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”
From Baden-Baden Germany in 1996, here’s Joe belting out the great Stevie Winwood tune from his Blind Faith days, “Can’t Find My Way Home”
From the AVO session, Joe live performing the John Lennon classic “Come Together”
Here are more Joe Cocker interpretations set to pictures and videos.
From the Queen's Golden Jubilee in Buckingham Palace Garden on 3 June 2002, an all star line up with Steve Winwood on organ, Pino Palladino on bass, Phil Collins on drums, Bryan May on guitar, and Joe doing vocals on a great version of "With A Little Help From My Friends."
We'll close today's birthday celebration with another song from that show featuring Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker & Eric Clapton doing John Lennon's timeless anthem, "All You Need is Love"
A most happy and merry to you, Mister Joe Cocker. Even after all these years, your voice is amazing!
Speaking of a Force of Nature, today is also the birthday of the fabulous Cher (May 20, 1946). While I don't have time to do a full tribute this year, here are a few links you may enjoy!
From Can't Miss TV, A page with the highlights of Cher's life and career.
Her biggest hit, and the theme for one of my favorite movies, "Groundhog Day." With Sonny in 1965 on Top of the Pops, here they are live doing "I Got You Babe"
From the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, here they are live doing "The Beat Goes On"
From 1966, the original studio version set to stills of "Bang Bang"
From the early 70s, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves"
Here's a pretty outrageous music video of Cher performing "Half Breed"
And from 1980, another 68 minute concert of Cher Live in Monte Carlo
Here's an entire 90 minute concert of Cher Live in Las Vegas
And from 1999, an hour 25 minute concert of Cher – the Believe Tour
Now THAT's miraculous!
Copyright © 2014 Robert Wilkinson