That said, J. Eric was kind enough to bring this video of Joe Cocker at Woodstock to my attention. I don't know that anyone before thought to worry about what Joe was singing, but now we know. Highly recommended.
I got a letter from my Fred
Thanks to J. Eric Smith for reminding me of last summer's extensive (and never really quite closed-out) Joe Cocker Phase, in which I introduced my long-suffering children to the excesses of Joe Cocker, who in many ways represented the beginning of the end, the more and more and more of rock and roll that ultimately led to the quite-justified Ramones Reaction, to the need to get rid of the backup singers, the double-necked guitars, the insanely large touring bands of the middle '70s. But Joe was, as I said, only the beginning of the end, and his excesses were born of marrying rock to the rhythm and blues revue, and, of course, to being Joe Cocker. His excesses were still musical and highly entertaining, and by god did his band groove. Joe was also, famously, incoherent. That he became primarily known for his covers may have been something of a blessing, for if we hadn't known the songs he was singing, we'd have had no idea what he was going on about, and another great talent would have passed by unnoticed. Because when Joe made a song his own, it was his own, and the original lyrics were just serving suggestions.
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