1964 : after an audition for producer Mike Leander in Manchester, Gtr. Manchester, Joe Cocker is offered a contract with DECCA Records. He takes leave of absence from the Gas Board and travels to Decca's studio in London. He debuts with a version of Lennon/McCartney's I'll Cry Instead released on 4 September 1964. Despite a good performance and session help including i.a. Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page (called at the time "Little Jim") on guitars; Bobby Graham on drums and The Ivy League on backing vocals (Peter Oakman on double bass ?), it flops and Cocker reportedly only 10 shillings in royalties. He joins his first professional band, The Big Blues, on a brief UK Tour with Manfred Mann and The Hollies and then tours US army bases in France. To be continued...
UK DECCA single F.11974, 4/9/1964 - DNC. Thanks : e-Bay.
http://youtu.be/-vo9ibOrYXI (quite good !)
2007 : Joe Cocker was awarded the O.B.E. (Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his services to music on 16 June 2007.)
B. John Robert Cocker, May 20, 1944, near Sheffield, S. Yorks, UK. In 1960 having left school, buys a cheap drumkit and forms a skiffle group with schoolfriends. He plays in brother Victor's skiffle group The Cavaliers at night, making his first public appearance at the Minvera Tavern in Sheffield. 1963 : when The Cavaliers change their name to Vance Arnold & The Avengers, Cocker steps out front and sings, changing his forename to Joe, after Cowboy Joe. He also sits in with local bands like Dave Berry & The Bruisers. To be continued...
Nov.6, 1968 : his distinctive cover of The Beatles With A Little Help From My Friends hits UK #1 for a week (Regal Zonophone HSS 1308, October 1968). Picture cover from France (EMI/Stateside FSS 612, October 1968. Belgium #11, 11/1968.
Acc. by Jimmy page (solo gtr); Barry J. Wilson [of Procol Harum], (drms); Chris Stainton (bs gtr, vox and keyboards). Choruses: Sue and Sunny alias in order Yvonne Wheatman-Glover and her sister Heather.
The Beatles are impressed with his version and send him a congratulatory telegram and place music press ads praising the record.
Subsequent TV exposure introduces a wider audience to Cocker's flailing, tortured stage movements (that we say today he was the inventor of the AIR GUITAR). Some find his performance distasteful and when he appears on the "Ed Sullivan Show", he is obscured by dancers as he sings.
Dec.14, 1968 : With A Little Help From My Friends peaks at US Billboard Top 100 #68.