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Cocker

Joe Cocker

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Album Review

Just a few years after "Up Where We Belong" topped the charts, Joe Cocker found himself struggling to earn the attention of the audience he had just regained. It wasn't that he was recording uncommercial material. If anything, it was because he was trying too hard, as 1986's Cocker proves. He works with a variety of producers on the album, yet they all arrive at the same slick, mildly synthesized, vaguely soulful adult contemporary sound. There are some good moments on Cocker that do justice to his still-robust voice — "Shelter Me" is a reasonably entertaining new effort, and Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" was a good cover choice, as was Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On," even if Richie Zito's production on the latter is a little too slick. Cocker winds up being another uneven effort from a talented singer.

Biography

Born: 20 May 1944 in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

After starting out as an unsuccessful pop singer (working under the name Vance Arnold), Joe Cocker found his niche singing rock and soul in the pubs of England with his superb backing group, the Grease Band. He hit number one in the U.K. in November 1968 with his version of the Beatles' "A Little Help from My Friends." His career really took off after he sang that song at Woodstock in August 1969. A second British hit came with a version of Leon Russell's "Delta Lady" in the fall of 1969 (by then,...
Full Bio