Joe Cocker- Heart and Soul

Joe Cocker rarely gave interviews, but on the occasion of the release of his Heart and Soul album, he told me,”When people talk about endangered species, we forget in human terms that when we lose these great (recording) artists, there’s nobody coming on the horizon to fill the gap.” Joe Cocker was speaking in 2004, lamenting the immense loss to popular culture from the passing then of his biggest influence, musical colossus Ray Charles. But now with Cocker’s own death, we certainly can add Joe’s name to that esteemed list.

No less than four of the late Joe Cocker’s many albums have significant anniversaries this year: Joe Cocker (1972), Sheffield Steel (’82), Unchain My Heart (’87), & Night Calls in 1992.  Cocker, who passed away in late 2014 , occupied a unique role in rock’n’roll. He had not composed since the early 1970s, and wasn’t particularly prolific even then. Joe did not have a permanent band like Bruce Springsteen or Tom Petty, or a permanent collaborator like Elton John has with Bernie Taupin. Cocker did not play an instrument, didn’t dance or act. Yet despite these seeming career limitations, this one trick pony  maintained one of the most legendary singing careers over a career of forty-five years.Included in my tribute to Joe Cocker during this classic rock interview from 2004 are selections from the  comprehensive double cd collection The Life of a Man:Ultimate Hits 1968-2013 , containing”You Are So Beautiful”,”Unchain My Heart”, his touching interpretation of U2’s “One”, Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed”, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?”,”Robert Palmer’s “Every Kind of People”, and my personal desert island disc Sheffield Steel‘s “Sweet Little Woman”. “Ain’t it high time we went” to see Joe Cocker inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? –Redbeard