Joe Cocker (1944-2014)

The British rock star died today at the age of 70 of lung cancer. No one who has seen it will forget his performance at the Woodstock music festival in 1969 where he took the Beatles’ With a little help from my friends, a gentle song sung by Ringo Starr, and turned into a weird, over-the top, air-guitar-playing, frenzied, incoherent performance that looked like he was having some kind of seizure.

Throughout it, you kept wondering what the hell he was singing, since the lyrics seemed to have only a passing resemblance to the original. The clip below has humorous subtitles provided by some helpful soul who tried to interpret Cocker’s words, and it all made sense. Or maybe not.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    Maybe it’s a cultural/dialect thing, but I always found Cocker much more intelligible than Bob Dylan, Tom Petty or Rickie Lee Jones. Or Rufus Wainwright for that matter. At least with Cocker, you knew the language was English, even if he sang with an American accent.

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