The singer surprised everyone with his version, that was a radical re-arrangement, slower, heavier, of the original
Joe Cocker’s cover of The Beatles “With a Little Help From My Friends” peaked to No.1 in 1969 with a little help from Jimmy Page
Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, “With A Little Help From My Friends” was originally released on The Beatles groundbreaking album “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” in 1967, featuring lead vocals by Ringo Starr. But when Joe Cocker decided to cover the song, released as a single in October 1968, he surprised everyone with his version, that was a radical re-arrangement, slower, heavier, of the original Beatles song. With it, he peaked to No.1 of the U.K singles charts on November 6, 1968. His version, actually surpassed the Beatles original, and has became the most popular version of the song, it was also a showcase for Cocker’s vocals and his rise to fame during the late 1960’s. What perhaps many people don’t know it’s that the featured guitarist on Cocker’s version was Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and the drummer B.J Wilson from Procol Harum. Now a Psychedelic Rock staple and classic, in 1969, when Cocker was still relatively unknown in the U.S, he dared to perform the song at the Woodstock Festival, in what end up being one of Woodstock’s most memorable performances ever, included on the documentary film “Woodstock”. In 2001, Cocker’s version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and in 2014, a BBC poll saw it voted the seventh best cover version ever. With the success of the song, his debut album released in 1969 was named “With a Little Help from My Friends”. Curiously, several years later on the same day, in 1982, he was again No.1 in the charts, this time in the U.s Hot 100 with “Up Where We Belong”, together in duet with Jennifer Warnes.
Watch Joe Cocker’s iconic performance of “With A Little Help From My Frieds” live at the Woodstock Festival, 1969
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