Monday, December 22, 2014

Soon all rock history will come from Wikipedia

I got a few calls this evening to talk about Joe Cocker. I don't really have anything pat I wanted to say and I wouldn't have had time to do any revision so I passed.

I just heard the BBC's Arts Correspondent on the 9 o'clock bulletin on Five Live. He said something like "Of course, Joe broke through with that amazing version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' at Woodstock in 1968 and after that the Beatles sent a telegram congratulating him."

In fact Woodstock the event took place in 1969, almost a year after Joe Cocker had a huge hit with the song in the UK. If the Beatles had congratulated him it would more likely have been then. The first anyone in Britain really knew about the performances at Woodstock was when the film came out a year later in 1970.

The truth is never quite catchy enough, is it?


  1. According one interview: 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 (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile 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."

  2. Back in the Olden Days, the Beat Group wot I woz in played a couple or three gigs with Joe Cocker. This was at Terry Thornton’s Esquire Club on Leadmill Road, Sheffield. At least one was an all-nighter, probably all; I’ve got an advertising clipping from the Sheffield “Star” among my souvenirs. One of them, probably this one, was another of Joe’s “retirement-if-I don’t-make-it soon” gigs.
    I never saw him live after he made the big time, but if he was better than he was at The Esquire, he was better than great.
    To my shame I can’t recall who the musicians were, Chris Stainton being one probable possible.

  3. I don't quite understand the heading of this post. If the arts correspondent had used the Wikipedia entry on Joe Cocker, he would have got his facts correct.

  4. It meant we have passed from the era when the deaths of rock stars might be marked by people who remembered said rock star and therefore would understand the chronology to an era where 90% of music is being commented upon by people who weren't there when it happened, if we can put it that way. I find it quite interesting how there was once something you experienced and now there's something that you learn about.

  5. This is one of the many things that pisses me off about so many Social Historians.
    If we’re looking the Romans, Normans, Tudors, or just wielding a trowel at Stonehenge or the local allotment, speculation is largely the order of the day. There’s nobody around today who was around then.
    But when we’re talking about stuff that happened just a few weeks ago—in historical terms anyway—it’s criminal the vast numbers of sources and resources that are ignored.
    The country is awash with people who were there (wherever “there” is) but they prefer to ignore them and speculate. And read, and refer to, stuff written/assembled by other people who who weren’t there either.
    Fair enough, memories aren’t what they should be, but there’s gold to be had if only they’d bother to look.

  6. Dave's point is a fair one.
    I thought that Morrissey was quite justified when he got his quiff in a tiff because music journalist, Tim Jonze (?) hadn't heard of Johnny Kidd (or his Pirates).

    I'm 49 and I knew my rock 'n roll because in the early 1970's my parents had stuff like the sound track to 'That'll Be The Day'as well as Bowie and Motown stacked up next to Dansette (yes, still a Dansette even then).

    Even today on the odd occasion that I read the music writing from one 'hip' newspaper I am struck by the lack of reference or awareness of the history of the industry that these people have chosen to make a living writing about.

  7. As Richard Osman always says on 'Pointless'.....'people know nothing about pop music'.
    I'm not sure that this phenomenon has suddenly happened with the advent of wikipedia or is even an age thing.

    I'm listening to 'Beatles For Sale' at moment.
    The percentage of the population who'd know either the year of its release or that it was on Parlophone would be about 3%. Those who could name three songs from it would number 1%.

  8. This is one of the reasons why Lewisohn's Beatles book was so good: to tell the story of the band you have to put it into a social and historical context - and Britain in the 50s and early 60s was a very different place. The Beatles roots were in a rich soil, consideration of which helps to explain the way they put themselves together.

  9. I recall the Beatles (via Apple)took out display ads in the music press to congratulate Joe on his 1968 version of With A Little Help From My Friends