Monday, December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker

If all you know about Joe Cocker is "Up Where We Belong" and "You Are So Beautiful" then proceed directly to his first 3 albums.  Two studio ones and the live Mad Dogs and Englishmen document taken from a couple of nights at the Fillmore East.   After that his discography gets a little sketchy.  Alcohol and drugs taking a toll on the up and down quality of those albums.  He came back a bit in the 80's and maintained a steady stream of decent albums after that.  But he was still a reliable concert draw, and it's his live shows that I believe are his lasting legacy.

Joe Cocker is being described as a Blues-Rock singer, which he was, but I would also add that he was one of the most Soulful singers to come out of England.  He took these influences and used his remarkable voice to become a master interpreter of lots of different styles.

I saw Joe Cocker when he opened for Tom Petty in 2006.  His set was nearly 1 hour of hits.  He sounded great.

And over the years I've pondered why he isn't in the Rock Hall.  In fact he's never even been nominated.  Maybe he fell through the cracks.  Or maybe he just didn't make that late career comeback that could get him on the NomCom radar.

Regardless he's on of the names I chose in my First time nominated & inducted (lousy font on that page, sorry) post in May of this year.   If Lou Reed can get nominated a year after his death, then so should Joe Cocker.

The lasting image we all have of Joe Cocker will be his 1969 Woodstock performance.  And that's how it should be.  On stage, sweating out a lethal mix of Rock/Blues/Soul.  I wasn't there to see it in person in 1969, but in 2006 he was still something special to watch.
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