Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker.jpg
Joe Cocker at Woodstock
Performed on Day 3
Started at 2.00 pm, Sunday, 17th
Played for 85 min.
Further Information
Festival Day Chronology
Prev. artist begin of day 3
Next artist Country Joe & The Fish at 6.30 pm

After Jefferson Airplane's morning maniac performance at 8.00 am, Joe Cocker was the first officially scheduled act on Sunday. He went on stage at about 2.00 pm.

Though Cocker was in the music business for quite a while, he was hardly famous. But after his triumphal success at Woodstock, the man with the soulful voice became known everywhere. Especially well received was the Beatles' cover song "With a Little Help from My Friends" which was the second performance of the song after Richie Havens' version on the first day. Cocker's backing band at that time was the superb Grease Band, a formation that lasted only two years.

Shortly after Cocker's gig a heavy thunderstorm washed over the festival, and everything was brought to stop for several hours.



Musicians[edit | edit source]

  • Joe Cocker - vocals
  • Henry McCullough - guitar, backing vocals
  • Alan Spenner - bass, backing vocals
  • Chris Stainton - keyboards, backing vocals
  • Bruce Rowland - drums
  • Bobby Torres - congas

Setlist[edit | edit source]

  1. Rockhouse (The Grease Band without Joe Cocker)
  2. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (The Grease Band without Joe Cocker)
  3. Dear Landlord
  4. Something's Coming On
  5. Do I Still Figure in Your Life
  6. Feelin' Alright
  7. Just Like a Woman
  8. Let's Go Get Stoned
  9. I Don't Need a Doctor
  10. I Shall Be Released
  11. Hitchcock Railway
  12. Something to Say
  13. With a Little Help from My Friends

Details[edit | edit source]

If you ask anybody today about Woodstock they say that it was a huge hippie festival at the end of the 60s, that Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin played there . . . and that Joe Cocker performed "With a Little Help from My Friends." This is no big surprise because the song's performance helped define Woodstock. The backing vocals ask Cocker, "Would you believe in a love at first sight?" To which he responds in a deep and croaky voice, "I'm certain it happens all the time, you know it does." The keyboards are hammering and the drums are majestic as Cocker reaches the climax of his spastic movements - which he would become well known for. This song, which concluded his Woodstock set, was truly a highlight of the festival.

The other songs of the setlist were equally well performed though not as intense as his Beatles cover. They come from the first two albums which were recorded by Joe Cocker and the Grease Band: With a Little Help from My Friends released in April 1969 and Joe Cocker! released after Woodstock in November 1969. The song "With a Little Help from My Friends" was already a number one hit in the UK in November 1968[1].

Joe Cocker was known for cover versions of songs interpreted in his own Chicago-blues-influenced idiom. "Dear Landlord," "Just Like a Woman" and "I Shall Be Released" are written by Bob Dylan, "Let's Go Get Stoned" is a Ray Charles original and "With a Little Help from My Friends" comes from The Beatles. He and his band also performed three songs from the Psychedelic-Rock band Traffic: "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring", "40,000 Headmen" and "Feelin' Alright."

The first two songs were played without Joe Cocker. The Michael Lang book The Road to Woodstock[2] lists the first song as an untitled instrumental jam. It was identified as "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring"[3][4].

Availability[edit | edit source]

Meanwhile the complete Joe Cocker set (minus the Grease Band warm-up songs) are available on Live at Woodstock. "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring" was additionally recorded by the audience.

Audio[edit | edit source]

Video[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. All Music Guide - Joe Cocker biography
  2. Michael Lang: The Road to Woodstock, 2009, ISBN 0061576557
  3. Yahoo! Woodstock Project mailing list - Grease Band "Jam" identified
  4. Yahoo! Woodstock Project mailing list - Grease Band "Jam" identified (clarification)
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