Videos: Feelin’ Alright / With A Little Help from My Friends (rockin’ the stage with Leon Russell in full fashion flare and the lovely Rita Coolidge on backing vocals!).
Joe Cocker was born on 20 May 1944 at 38 Tasker Road, Crookes, Sheffield. He is the youngest son of a civil servant, Harold Cocker, and Madge Cocker. According to different family stories, Cocker received his nickname of Joe either from playing a childhood game called "Cowboy Joe" or from a neighborhood window cleaner named Joe. Cocker's main musical influences growing up were Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1969-1970) toured with more than 30 players (including three drummers, backing vocalists Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear, and pianist/bandleader Leon Russell). The new band was christened "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" by Denny Cordell after the Noël Coward song of the same name. During the ensuing Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, (later described by drummer Jim Keltner as "a big, wild party") Cocker toured 48 cities, recorded a live album, and received very positive reviews from Time and Life for his performances. However, the pace of the tour was exhausting. Russell and Cocker had personal problems and Cocker became depressed and began drinking excessively as the tour wound down in May 1970. Meanwhile, he enjoyed several chart entries in the U.S. with "Cry Me a River" and "Feelin' Alright" by Dave Mason. His cover of the Box Tops' hit "The Letter", which appeared on the live album and film, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, became his first U.S. Top Ten hit. After spending several months in Los Angeles, Cocker returned home to Sheffield where his family became increasingly concerned with his deteriorating physical and mental condition.
Complete (and very interesting) bio here:
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