Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old rocker and son of Sheffield called Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker, the singer best known in the 1960's for his gritty voice, idiosyncratic arm movements and cover versions of popular songs, is 70 today and although he lives on 'The Mad Dog' ranch in Colorado, he will always at heart be a Sheffield lad and son of Britain who last year said "I’ve been living in the States so long that I thought about becoming a U.S. citizen, but I’d have to renounce my allegiance to the Queen. As a proud Englishman, I don’t think I could do that."

Things you possibly didn't know about Joe, that he :

* was born in 1944, the last year of the Second World War, in Sheffield, England, the youngest son of Madge and Harold, a civil servant and had his first experience of singing in public at the age of  12, when his elder brother invited him on stage to sing during a gig of his skiffle group and in 1960.

* left school and worked as a gas fitter for the East Midlands Gas Board and at 16, formed his first group, 'The Cavaliers' then, in 1961, with 'Vance Arnold and the Avengers', played in pubs performing covers of Chuck Berry and Ray Charles and in 1963 supported 'The Rolling Stones' at their Sheffield City Hall gig.

* in 1964, released his first single, a cover of the Beatles' 'I'll Cry Instead' with Jimmy Page playing backup guitar, which was a flop, then recorded 'Marjorine' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPEwOupGe_I , moved to London, got a residency, formed a new band and entered the big time with a groundbreaking rearrangement of 'With a Little Help from My Friends'.

* toured Britain with 'The Who' in 1968 and in the U.S.A. where he played at Woodstock, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRzKUVjHkGk
the Newport Rock and the Denver Pop Festival then released his second album, 'Joe Cocker' and impressed by his cover of 'With A Little Help From my Friends', was allowed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison to use their songs, 'She Came in Through the Bathroom Window' and 'Something' for the album. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iVkvqlperk

* saw his album, recorded during a break in touring in the spring and summer, reach number 11 in the US charts and garnered a second UK hit with the Leon Russell song, 'Delta Lady' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VsFut3_Vpc

* since the 1970's, continued to tour, battled with addictions and depression and had success with a cover of Billy Preston's 'You Are So Beautiful' : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlDmslyGmGI and recorded the duet 'Up Where We Belong' with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the 1982 film, 'An Officer and a Gentleman' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjrOcrisGyI

* performed for President George H. W. Bush at an inauguration concert and was awarded an OBE in the Queen's 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music.

My favourite song, written by John B. Sebastian : 'Darling Be Home Soon' :

And talk of all the things we did today.
And laugh about our funny little ways.
While we have a few minutes to breathe.
Then I know that it's time you must leave.

But darling be home soon,
I couldn't bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled.
My darling be home soon,
It's not just these few hours, but I've been waiting since I toddled,
For the great relief of having you to talk to.

A wonderful song using the words "dawdle" and "toddle" and a line like "for the great relief of having you to talk to" with 'dawdle' being a 1650–60 variant of 'daddle' to 'toddle'.

I wonder if John or Joe knew that ?

Isn't the English language wonderful ?

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