Fellow musicians and entertainers paid tribute Dec. 22 to singer Joe Cocker, who died from cancer. One of the most heartfelt was from singer Dave Mason, who wrote “Feelin’ Alright,” which Cocker covered. “When I wrote ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ it had a question mark after it. It was an unrequited love song about not feeling too good myself,” Dave Mason wrote on Facebook. “Denny Cordell, who was producing a new album with Joe Cocker, said ‘I have something I want you to hear.’ He proceeded to play me the recording of Joe’s version of ‘Feelin’ Alright.’ Wow. I was blown away. This song was no longer about not feeling too good myself. It WAS feelin’ alright!
“I owe a great debt of gratitude to Joe Cocker for cutting that song,” Mason continued. “Even though I wrote it and sang it with Traffic, it is the quintessential version that will live on long after his passing and mine. What a voice.”
Others wrote of his inspiration, too. Guitarist Joe Bonamassa said, “Thank you Joe Cocker for your music, inspiration, and being so kind to a budding blues guitarist.” “So sad to hear of Joe Cocker’s passing,” said fellow guitarist Peter Frampton. “’You are so beautiful’ is both Joe and Nicky Hopkins on piano at their very best. Gonna play it now RIP.” And Joey Molland of Badfinger said, “R.I.P. Joe Cocker. God Bless…”
Drummer Denny Seiwell of Paul McCartney and Wings wrote, “RIP Joe Cocker my dear friend. Spent much time with this giant of a man. Both in the studio and on the hang. His legacy will live forever. I’ll miss those notes in London when he and Henry would drop in in the wee hours for some fun. God bless him. His struggle is over and I’ll miss his personna like brother. There’s nobody like Joe.”
Paul McCartney said, “’It’s really sad to hear about Joe’s passing. He was a lovely Northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ and I remember him and Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Saville Row and playing me what they’d recorded and it was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that.”
And fellow Beatle Ringo Starr said, “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love.” Current Ringo All-Starr Steve Lukather wrote, “RIP Joe Cocker.. It was an honor to have worked with him and he was a kind man with a one of a kind voice. God Bless..” And Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer Sir George Martin, said, “It’s so sad about Joe Cocker. I once had the pleasure to work with him, absolute legend, thorough gentleman. Also, best Beatles cover ever!”
Cocker was best known for his cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends,” but his first record in 1964 was also a Beatles cover, a version of “I’ll Cry Instead.”
Tributes came from others, too. Actress Lynda Carter (“Wonder Woman”) wrote, “RIP Joe Cocker … you really rocked it.” Comic Dennis Miller called him “one of a kind.” And newsman Larry King said, “Sad to hear of Joe Cocker’s passing. I interviewed him on my radio show years ago, he sang #YouAreSoBeautiful on the air. Incredible man. #RIP.” And the Star Sheffield newspaper, in his hometown, changed its front page headline to “Farewell to our Joe.”
Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy, issued a statement that read, “Singer/songwriter Joe Cocker had one of the most distinctive, soulful voices in all of rock. Classics such ‘You Are So Beautiful,’ his famous cover of the Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends,’ as well as his GRAMMY®-winning duet with Jennifer Warnes, ‘Up Where We Belong,’ showcased his rich, compelling vocals as well as his undeniable talent,” the statement began.
“Known for his powerful delivery and dynamic stage presence, he toured extensively around the world, becoming an international superstar in the process. Our music community has lost a passionate and influential artist, and his legacy will continue to inspire and entertain generations to come. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all who have been enriched by his remarkable work.”