Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker

Kickass rock/blues belter Joe Cocker has died at age 70 — lung cancer.

He had pretty much fallen off my radar for the last few decades, but his first two solo albums (1970, give or take a year) were un-fuckin'-real.  He didn't sound like anybody else.  Yes he was heavily influenced by Ray Charles, but he covered a lot of uncharted territory as well.  And it didn't hurt that he had Jimmy Page and Steve Winwood — among others — backing him up.

I usually don't like cover versions of songs I'm already familiar with, but he sure pumped some life into “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window,” compared to the Beatles' bland original versions.  And he did a wicked version of “Unchain My Heart” that even surpasses Ray Charles' version, IMHO.

The only cover song of his I can think of that I disliked was “Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.”  Sorry, but the Animals' version ruled.  Accept no substitutes.

A few years ago there was a YouTube video of Joe Cocker singing “With A Little Help From My Friends,” captioned with “misheard” lyrics.

Check it out.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul McCartney has been overheard lamenting that everyone covers his songs better then he does. When he was chosen for his lifetime Grammy Award He picked Stevie Wonder to do "We can work it out!", and Ray Charles to do "Eleanor Rigby".

Though I consider English Soul or Blues singer a contradiction in terms. I will miss Cocker as present corporate rules dictate we will never have another one like him.


December 23, 2014 at 3:51 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I always liked the Beatles, but I like almost every cover version of their songs better, whether it's Joe Cocker, Vanilla Fudge, Aerosmith, Earth Wind & Fire, Ray Charles. And every time the Beatles covered somebody else's song (especially Mowtown hits), they fucked it up royally.

I agree that corporation sterilization and homogenization of the music industry will make another Joe Cocker impossible.

December 23, 2014 at 4:12 PM  

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