Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends At Woodstock
Blues singer Joe Cocker’s breakthrough rearrangement of the Beatles‘ song “With a Little Help from My Friends” is known to be a bright spot at Woodstock which happened just before thunderclouds darkened the mood.
The English born Cocker had been in a few bands which mainly played pubs in the Sheffield area with minimal success. His break came with the formation of The Grease Band and their cover of the Beatles song listed above which hit the British top ten charts and eventually took the number one slot on November 9, 1968.
Cocker is most well known for his unique interpretation of songs by other artists. At Woodstock Cocker’s set included “Just Like a Woman”, “Dear Landlord”, and “I Shall be Released” written by Bob Dylan, “Let’s Go Get Stoned” by Ray Charles, and of course the fabled “With a Little Help” by The Beatles.
The entire set was well performed, but the final song was so audibly and visually stimulating that it listed in the same category as seeing Hendrix and Joplin play.
After Woodstock, Cocker continued to tour and release albums in light of his sudden demand. After The Grease Band broke Cocker formed a band that was named Mad Dogs and Englishmen, after the Noel Coward song. Their cover of the Box Tops song “The Letter” became his first U.S. top ten hit.
After touring with Mad Dogs and Englishmen for a year, Cocker took a two year break from music and returned with his album “Joe Cocker”; a mix of live and studio recordings which hit number 30 on the US charts. Cocker in the following years released numerous albums, most of which reached the US charts including the duet “Up Where We Belong”, a duet with Jennifer Warnes which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Cocker was the opening act at the 1994 25th anniversary of Woodstock 1969 which made him one of the few returning acts.
He is still involved in the industry and his latest appearance was in the historically based film “Across the Universe” where Cocker played a minor character as the lead singer for the Beatles’ hit “Come Together”.