John The Rock Doctor remembers Joe Cocker

As I write this, it is the day after news broke that Joe Cocker has died after a battle with lung cancer at age 70.  While it’s true that nobody here gets out alive, some exits hurt more than others and with Joe, it feels like I’ve lost  a good friend.I first became aware of Joe Cocker and his music in ’69 or ’70 when my brother Mike brought home his Mad Dogs & Englishmen live album.  Chaotic and bursting with energy, I’m as mesmerized by the record today as I was back then.  His iconic version of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends is definitive, as Paul or Ringo would now tell you, a soul classic for the ages.Over the years it seems like his music has always been there.  In my first part radio job, 75-76, playing You Are So Beautiful on the air, for whichever girl I was obsessing on at the time.  Even in later years, when making compilations for the women in my life that song was, far more often than not, the piece de resistance.  All that aside, who among us hasn’t pictured themselves on stage, singing that song and hitting that final “You’re everything I need” to rapturous applause?  I’ve been listening to this song for about 40 years now, and it still gives me goose bumps every single time.Joe Cocker’s music has even instigated friendships.  In the early 90’s, while a night shift janitor at Burger King in Kelowna, when one of Joe’s songs came on the ghetto blaster I used for company after midnight, the other guy working the same shift- also named John- said that Joe was his favorite singer.  Even though I was only there for 6 months, John & I stayed in contact and remained friends for many years after that.I often express myself to others with music- sometimes just to show them a good time, others to show how I feel.  When my wife & I got together in 2005  starting with a long distance relationship, the first thing I did was make her a CD of songs to let her know how I felt.  We had been engaged in 1980 and had gone our separate ways, but I wasn’t going to let that happen again.  The first song on that disc was Joe Cocker’s stunning version of Paul McCartney’s Maybe I’m Amazed, which we consider to be ‘our song’.Over the years Joe Cocker’s music has touched me profoundly on many occasions- when falling in love, when enduring sad times, and even those moments when I question the reasons for my own existence- and I expect it will always be so. Last night before bed, I did up a Joe Cocker compilation to listen to in the truck as we head towards Seattle for Christmas.  The best thing you and I can do to honor Joe Cocker is listen to the music- don’t just hear it, but feel it too.  Rest in peace, Joe… God knows you’ve earned it.JOHN’S JOE COCKER COMPILATION, “JOE’S JAMS”Cry Me A River/ Up Where We Belong/ Can’t Find My Way Home/ Never Tear Us Apart/ You Can Leave Your Hat On/ Come Together/ Let The healing Begin/ Maybe I’m Amazed/ The Letter/ Delta Lady/ Into The Mystic/ Unchain My heart/ When The Night Comes/ Now That The Magic has Gone/ Darling Be Home Soon/ One/ You Are So Beautiful/ Long As I Can See the Light.

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