Joe Cocker Selects His 20 Best, From the '60s To the '90s, for New Collection

By | December 18, 2003 at 12:00 AM

After 19 original albums, decades of hit singles, and a career marked by truly classic records, Joe Cocker, one of rock’s most intense and passionate performers, has chosen 20 of his favorites for his most expansive career retrospective to date. JOE COCKER: ULTIMATE COLLECTION (A&M/Hip-O Records), released January 13, 2004, offers most of his biggest hits and more from 1968 to 2000, spanning his years on A&M, MCA, Island, Capitol, Sony and Eagle Records. In addition, the package’s booklet spotlights an essay by J.P. Bean, author of the September 2003-published JOE COCKER: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY, along with song annotations and rare photos.

ULTIMATE COLLECTION features his unforgettable renditions of songs written by The Beatles (“With A Little Help From My Friends,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”), Leon Russell (“Delta Lady”), Jimmy Cliff (“Many Rivers To Cross”), Randy Newman (“Sail Away,” “You Can Leave Your Hat On”), Lovin’ Spoonful (“Summer In The City”), Leonard Cohen (“First We Take Manhattan”), John Hiatt (“Have A Little Faith In Me”) and Billy Preston (“You Are So Beautiful”). Even though others recorded them first, the version of the song we remember is usually his. Also heard are such artists as Jimmy Page, Brenda Holloway, Rita Coolidge, Bonnie Bramlett, Sly & Robbie, Clarence Clemons and Bryan Adams, along with Newman, Russell, Cliff and Preston.

Cocker’s debut album, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (1969), featured his studio version of that ’60s anthem which he sang at Woodstock and Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” (U.S. Top 40). Later that year, he again went Top 40 with “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” and released “Delta Lady.” In 1970, Cocker and Russell assembled a tribe of musicians and their live performances became an album and landmark concert film: MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN featured The Box Tops’ “The Letter” (Top 10) and Dinah Washington’s “Cry Me A River” (Top 20). In 1974 he scored with his #5-charting cover of “You Are So Beautiful.”

ULTIMATE COLLECTION picks up in the next decade with “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today,” a duet with The Crusaders. From the acclaimed SHEFFIELD STEEL are “Sweet Little Woman” and “Many Rivers To Cross.” Also in 1982 he earned his biggest hit to date, his #1 duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong,” the love theme from AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN which scored both a Grammy and an Oscar. Other ’80s tracks are “Shelter Me,” “You Can Leave Your Hat On” (which accompanied a scorching scene in 9 1/2 WEEKS) and the Top 20 Bryan Adams/Jim Vallance/Diane Warren-penned “When The Night Comes.”

The ’90s are represented by “Now That The Magic Has Gone,” a new rendition of “Unchain My Heart” he recorded for a “best of” album (note: this was a remix w/some overdubs), “Summer In The City,” “Have A Little Faith In Me,” “Sail Away” and “First We Take Manhattan.”

Today, Joe Cocker is not only one of rock’s ultimate survivors but remains one of its genuine icons.

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