In May 2004, Joe Cocker turned 60 years old. Starting his difficult career in the late 60s, he withstood fierce creative competition, in a difficult struggle with the vicissitudes of fate and deceitful show business, which disappointed him when he first met. Submitted by Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain, Cocker easily conquered the entire European continent and both Americas and today is included in the pantheon of the greatest rock stars of our time.
John Robert Cocker was born in Sheffield, England, on May 20, 1944. His father, a civil servant, gave the guy the opportunity to get a secondary education, and left the future path to himself. John chose: during the day, he worked part time as a gas pipeline apprentice, and performed at night in pubs. Changing a working robe to a dark suit and bow tie, the novice musician went on stage under the name of Vance Arnold and performed famous pop songs, soul and blues. His favorite numbers were things from the repertoire of Ray Charles (Ray Charles) “What’d I Say” and “Georgia on My Mind”. The backing musicians who accompanied John called themselves The Avengers. Hour X for Arnold-Cocker and his team came in 1963 when they played a branch on the Sheffield City Hall stage before the Rolling Stones concert.
Gas welding was over forever. In England, a new artist was born, whose name was Joe Cocker. In 1964, he quietly and modestly made his debut with the single “I’ll Cry Instead”, a cover version of the Beatles. Having gathered a new backing band Joe Cocker Big Blues, the singer went to get acquainted with the public. First, from the English – in the north of Great Britain, then from the European – in the French province and at US air bases located in France. The US military, mainly from the southern states, warmly welcomed the vocal British. The French called him “Little Ray Charles.” Unfortunately, the return to their homeland was marked by a sad incident: during one of the concerts, the stage failed under the musicians. Although the artists escaped with bruises and a slight fright, this made a depressing impression on the frontman. And the whole situation in the team did not inspire optimism. In fact, after this concert, Joe Cocker Big Blues ceased to exist.
Joe Cocker was silent for a whole year. He did not perform, did not record, did not look for new musicians. Things got off the ground only when Chris Stainton appeared in his life, whom Joe later called the greatest musician in the world. Together with Chris, they gathered an excellent team The Grease Band. The first studio demos were handed over to Denny Cordell, producer of The Moody Blues and Procul Harum. Cordell really liked Cocker’s vocal style, and he gave the singer constant performances in the famous London club “The Marquee”. That was in 1968. Over the next year, Joe Cocker, from an up-and-coming blues-rock artist, step by step turned into a British rock star. The first high-profile hit in his solo career began, the leader of the British charts – single “
Six months later, America also found out about Joe Cocker. Any number of local concerts on their own would not have done what was possible for a single appearance on the TV screen. Cocker was invited to the most famous at that time television show Ed Sullivan (Ed Sullivan). The singer struck the audience’s imagination with his hoarse voice and expressive behavior. The reaction of the press to Cocker’s live performance, as well as to his two first records “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Joe Cocker!”, Already published in the USA, was ambiguous, but it never occurred to anyone to deny his original talent . Especially since the artist was accompanied by excellent musicians, including guitarists Jimmy Page (Jimmy Page) and Albert Lee (Albert Lee). The columnist for Life magazine has very peculiarly described the image of Cocker, naming it ” the voice of all blind weepers, crazy beggars, miserable cripples that roam the streets. “Cocker expressed what is happening in their souls and what no one knows about, something that they themselves would never have been able to express.”
In fact, of course, Joe Cocker never sang on the streets, and by the time such compliments appeared, he had already begun to master the sites of major rock festivals. The triumphal performance on the stage of the legendary Woodstock in front of half a million spectators in 1969, where the artist allowed himself several bold antics, was preserved in the audio recording.
In 1970, Cocker released Mad Dogs and Englishmen on both sides of the Atlantic. The singer said that when he wrote these songs, he “soared in thoughts somewhere in the heavens, on Venus, in outer space.” This double album, having survived several reissues, remains an excellent example of blues rock and soft rock of the early 70’s. The accompanying tour, conducted together with the permanent producer and arranger of the artist Leon Russell, resulted in a dashing race through 48 cities that the musicians combed over 56 days. Another 40 people went on the road with them – managers, road technicians, wives or girlfriends, children, attendants, a film crew and even their favorite dogs. Almost everywhere, Cocker’s performances were a great success. But returning to the final destination – Los Angeles – was like waking up after a long hangover. The singer woke up tired, plagued and, according to him, “completely disappointed in the rock business.” Although there were some pleasant moments. So, in 1970 alone, his CDs in America brought him an income of three million dollars. All three of Joe Cocker’s first albums became platinum, and Playboy magazine, summing up the musical results of the year, called him number one vocalist. The singer’s first American hit appeared – a cover version of “The Letter” by Box Tops, which finished in Tor 10. It was the first peak of his popularity in the States. in 1970 alone, his CDs in America earned him three million dollars. All three of Joe Cocker’s first albums became platinum, and Playboy magazine, summing up the musical results of the year, called him number one vocalist. The singer’s first American hit appeared – a cover version of “The Letter” by Box Tops, which finished in Tor 10. It was the first peak of his popularity in the States. in 1970 alone, his CDs in America earned him three million dollars. All three of Joe Cocker’s first albums became platinum, and Playboy magazine, summing up the musical results of the year, called him number one vocalist. The singer’s first American hit appeared – a cover version of “The Letter” by Box Tops, which finished in Tor 10. It was the first peak of his popularity in the States.
The decade began as if not bad, but the 70s were far from the best period in the artist’s life. New albums were released quite regularly: “Joe Cocker” (1973), “I Can Stand a Little Rain” (1974), “Jamaica Say You Will” (1975), “Stingray” (1976), “Luxury You Can Afford” (1978). The same years date the most famous Cocker songs “You Are So Beautiful”, “Guilty”, “The Moons and Harsh Mistress” – his lifetime classic. In particular, the romantic ballad “You Are So Beautiful” in 1975 again returned the name of the artist to the first lines of world charts. This song replaced in American Thor 5 another popular Cocker single “It’s a Sin When You Love Somebody”. Although the rest of the life proceeded in gloomy tones. The singer was left without a recording contract. The threat of alcoholism loomed before him. Drinking destroyed not only his personal life, but also interfered with work. It happened that he went on stage already well warmed up.
With the beginning of the 80s, the life of Joe Cocker gradually began to return to normal. After a five-year hiatus in 1982, he prepared an interesting selection of new Sheffield Steel material. A first-class interpreter of blues rock and soft rock, he presented vivid cover versions of Randy Newman’s songs “Marie” and Bob Dylan’s little-known “Seven Days”. His duet with Jennifer Warnes “Up Where We Belong”, played in the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman”, was nominated for an Academy Award. The song gained international popularity and became the first American hit number one in Cocker’s career. In addition, she first made him the hero of the Grammy awards ceremony, winning the “Best Pop Song Performance” nomination.
Until the end of the decade, four more studio albums were recorded: Civilized Man (1984), Cocker (1986), Unchain My Heart (1987), and One Night of Sin (1989), which included a hit from the first Twenty “When the Night Comes”, written by Bryan Adams. Although American music lovers were rather sluggish about these releases, they all went platinum in the UK and were well received by Europeans.
Cocker’s career was noticeably revived in the late 80s, when the band The Crusaders invited the singer to perform a specially written composition for him, “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today”. The lyrics almost literally voiced his condition, that which he had to endure. When Cocker entered the scene of the Grammy awards ceremony in February 1992 with this number, the audience applauded him while standing. Joe Cocker as if experiencing a rebirth. Enormous support was given to him by his new girlfriend Pam (Pam), who in 1987 became his wife. In 1991, the singer recorded Elton John’s hit “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” for the tribute album to John and Bernie Taupin, “Two Rooms.” The album sold over three million copies worldwide.
Coker’s new long play “Night Calls” (1992) became gold in the United States, and in many European countries he harvested platinum certificates. Mostly due to the title single “Night Calls” written by Jeff Lynne. The next 1994 album “Have a Little Faith”, released on the new label, was highly praised by critics, but, unfortunately, did not receive the necessary promotion support. The mass audience ignored him. Similarly, the disks of 96-97 did not become a memorable event: “Organic” and “Across from Midnight”. One of the main creative problems of Cocker is reliance on other people’s material: cover versions make up the lion’s share of his recordings. Although to hold out for more than 30 years on the international stage, relying only on the interpretation of other people’s songs, this also needs to be able to.
Joe Cocker, with his characteristic hoarse vocals, although having lost a bit of flavor in the fight against alcohol, was invited by the filmmakers. His songs sounded in the films “Harry and the Hendersons”, “Bull Durham”, “An Innocent Man”. But the most famous was, of course, the musical theme for the striptease scene in the film “9 1/2 weeks” – “You Can Leave Your Hat On”.
In the 90s, Cocker began investing – and not only in the music business. In the town of Crawford, Colorado, where he settled with his family, the artist owns a bakery, cafe, conference room, supermarket and a number of shops. No comments.
The beginning of the 21st century caught Joe Cocker, as always, at work. In five years, he has released three studio albums: No Ordinary World (2000), Respect Yourself (2002), Heart & Soul (2004), and Definitive Collection (2002). In recent years, Joe has toured a lot. In his piggy bank – a large collection of prizes and awards. Among the most notable concerts with the participation of the artist, it is worth mentioning the Princes Trust Gala show, which was held under the patronage of the royal family of Great Britain, a concert in honor of Nelson Mandela’s birthday, a grand show in Berlin on the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In America, which became his second homeland, he spoke at the inauguration ceremony of President George W. Bush.
35 years of a busy touring schedule did not affect the enthusiasm of the 60-year-old singer. What in the future? “As long as I enjoy live communication with the audience,” says Cocker, “while excitement reigns at my concerts, until then I will go on stage.”
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