What health problems did Joe Cocker suffer from?

  • Well, most likely whatever. Y’kno that somehow he transcended his demons and we benefitted. Folk have to come up with all types of positions to not drown. Thankfully he made it to shore. Peace.

    He died in 2014 from cancer.

    However, that strange ‘thing he was doing’ while singing (I saw him twice back in the day, circa 1970) was not due to any disability or ailment whatsoever. He was fine.

    He’s said many times that he’d just ‘go into a zone’, and that’s what would happen … he was playing ‘air-guitar,’ and ‘air-organ’ and ‘directing the band’ … just being in the moment.

    That’s the truth of it.

    (However, at the time … we had no idea, and so we were ‘pretty sure’ he was resolutely working through an impairment … he was not)


    I think Alicia Bickley comes as close as any to putting the answer in a broad perspective.

    The “asshole” side of Lennon may have only started to be evident to the public around the time of the second tour (as Kev-in Burke mentions) but every biography I have read of the Fabs or specifically of Lennon describes a kid who, as a teenager, was picking fights and bullying.

    His lack of a father and the death of his mother were huge traumas in his formation and the anger from those realities followed him throughout his life. Yes, we are all flawed, but so were the other three Beatles. But it was Lennon, not the other three, that got the “Jerky” reputation and he came by it honestly. He earned it.

    As much as I love the music, I have little in the way of awe when it comes to Lennon. He was a flawed human yes — to be human is to be flawed — and he did make attempts to correct some of the damage he did. But, in general, his behavior continued to be that of a tough and a bully at times right up to the end.

    Beatles producer George Martin tells of a meeting with Lennon that, if I remember, was his last meeting with him. It was in New York, not all that long before Lennon’s death. The two were out to dinner with their wives and Lennon made the remark that there was NO Beatles recording he liked. That he felt George Martin had more or less failed them as a producer. George said “Surely you don’t feel that way about ‘Strawberry Fields,’ John.” and Lennon answered “Especially ‘Strawberry Fields.’”

    It was rude, hurtful thing to say to a man who had given the Beatles their first shot at fame and had worked VERY hard to make every record a great one. Anyone who knows the story of “Strawberry Fields” knows that Lennon couldn’t make up his mind what he wanted the song to sound like and they recorded multiple takes of multiple arrangements. Martin wrote two completely different scores in the process.

    Finally, Lennon said he liked the beginning of one of them and the ending of the other… but the recordings had been done in two different tempos and two different keys. But Martin, genius in his own right, found that by slowing one down and speeding the other up, they came into the same tempo and key and he was able to stitch the two performances together (this at a time before digital recording made such a thing so much easier. Martin had to splice two pieces of tape together at the critical juncture.)

    The result is generally acclaimed as one of the great moments of Beatles recording history. But… whether because he was in a mood or had too much to drink or what… Lennon hurt a man who had served him well because… as Ms. Bickley says, he could get away with the behavior.


    None, until cancer took him from us. If you’re referring to his onstage movements, that was Joe being Joe.

    John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22, 2014 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. Mr. Cocker was 70 years old. Joe Cocker was born 5/20/1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20’s.

    “””” Nickname ~The nickname, “Sheffield Soul Shouter“, appears in this article with no explanation or prior reference.Jkolak (talk) 06: 16, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

    Joe Cocker does not and has never suffered from cerebral palsy. He is in fact conducting the other musicians with his hand movements his style of movement has been satirised, Seems like the article ought to address whether or not he had cerebral palsy or another disorder””””, Talk:Joe Cocker | Wikiwand .

    I’m guessing that John was his own worst enemy much of the time, and increasingly so … he was a pain in the arse. And I’d guess that, over the years, the person who had to deal with that the most, in-studio … was George Martin (RIP, 2016).

    Whereas Paul could sit with Martin, be pleasant, work together diligently, and pleasantly, for hours, experimenting, etc.

    And, also re Paul, I think he had the personality to fit into John’s tempestuousness, and so the two were magic together. Neither were as good — songwriting-wise — after 1969 as before it. Both missed each other, musically … I suspect they both knew it too.

    As far as George Martin …

    He IS/WAS a quality musician, classically trained. So he knew what he was doing.

    But John didn’t like Martin’s producing/experimenting at the end, and so Lennon took those Let It Be tapes and slipped them to Phi Spector to re-produce … Martin was greatly stung by that. When EMI informed Martin that he would not get a production credit for the album because Spector produced the final version, George-M commented, “I produced the original, and what you should do is have a credit saying ‘Produced by George Martin, over-produced by Phil Spector’.”

    Of course, McCartney also took 10+ years to use George Martin again (as producer for his Tug Of War album) … and guess when he did it? 1982, the year of the Martin interview that’s dismissive of John (and when John is now no longer around to fire back) … Martin evidently saying, “… John was inclined to leave things to us and do his rock n roll bits …while the music side was basically Paul…”

    A few years earlier, however, in 1976 he told Rolling Stone that Lennon and McCartney are so enormously talented” … (though he did go on to say, “So I kind of tolerated George” … lol).

    And In that interview, Martin also said, “One of the greatest problems, … particularly John … wasn’t particularly articulate, in saying what he wanted. Of course, when you’re dealing with a dreamlike substance, it’s very difficult to be articulate. My main job was trying to get out of him what he was trying to get. It came together more in the mix …”

    And … Martin goes on: “John was never really into a production bit … it was Paul and I getting together because Paul really dug what I wanted to do. I was trying to make a symphony out of pop music. … John hated that — he liked good old rock & roll.”

    (of course, John’s angle on this is that he came to resent the ‘loose experimenting’ with just-his songs by Paul and Martin … saying to Playboy in 1980, “We would play experimental games with my great pieces … We would spend hours doing little, detailed cleaning up on Paul’s songs, but when it came to mine … somehow an atmosphere of looseness and experimentation would come up.” See: Thomas J. Beaver’s answer to Why did John Lennon stop experimenting with obscure musical genres after he left the Beatles?)

    (Again, George Martin from his ’76 interview) And … this one is telling IMO: “John was the rebel, the Dylan of the group …”

    So … me … I take it as, in reality, Paul was more Martin’s ‘cup of tea’ … and with John there were underlying personality conflicts.

    Joe Cocker suffered from alcoholism, and died of lung cancer.

    Still, he was the greatest non-black soul singer known.

    A client of mine, Chris Montez, was an Hispanic Kid from Richie Valen’s Southern California neighborhood. He scored some hits in the early 1960s while a teen. He was very popular in England. In 1963 he was the Headliner on a British Isles Tour. Tommy Roe, a huge American hitmaker was the Runner Up. “Sweet Little Sheila” was Tommy Roe’s Big Hit at the time. The warm up band were the barely known in England and Germany – Beatles. Chris famously said “The Beatles? Who are those guys?” when he was told that they would open up the concerts. He laughs about it today. He wore a Collarless Jacket that Richie Valens’ and his tailor designed for him. Remember the Collarless Jackets the Beatles wore when entering Shea Stadium the next year? What a difference a year makes! Yep – they got the idea from Chris.

    So, the entire tour John kept trying to pick a fight with Chris. John was/is known to have been very competitive. Maybe he couldn’t handle this little Mexican Punk from the Barrio being more famous than himself – who knows? Anyway, part way through the Tour they were sitting in a Pub after a Gig and all the boys were hanging around sitting together. All except John – who walks up behind Chris and slowly pours a beer over Chris’ head! Chris isn’t a small Mexican. He’s not huge but he ain’t petite either. He jumps up swearing in Spanish and gets ready to Cold Cock John – yelling “Lets’s take it outside, Pinche Pen*#!$# !!” John is startled at this and backs down. And since Chris won his respect – he is totally friends with him on the rest of the Tour! Hahaha! Clear signs of a Bully.

    Chris gave me some great shots from the Tour – and in every single one Ringo has got his hand on Chris’ shoulder or his arm draped over his shoulder. It’s so funny. Chris said Ringo was super nice to him the entire time.

    Chris was one of the very first acts that Herb Alpert signed to his new record label “A & M” (Alpert and Moss), right around when Herb signed The Carpenters. That label signed many awesome acts including the Police. Wow! It was such a successful label. Chris’ most famous tunes were “Let’s Dance” “Call Me”, penned by Petula Clark’s husband, and “The More I Know You”. Great songs in the later 1960s.

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    I believe George said he and his wife were awoken in the middle of the night by a phone call informing George of John’s murder. Having just woken up, the news didn’t sink in quite until the following morning. George spent the day in his studio at home in Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames. Pete Shotton, John Lennon’s best friend from his school days, went to Friar Park when he heard the news. In his book, John Lennon: In My Life, Pete Shotton wrote:

    “I arrived at Friar Park shortly after noon; George had only just been awakened with the news. He wrapped his arm around my shoulder, and we walked silently into the kitchen for a cup of tea.

    ‘I just felt I had to communicate with someone who’d understand,’ I finally said.

    ‘Yeah, Pete,’ he said. ‘I know what you mean.’

    We exchanged a few quiet words; then George briefly left the table to take a transatlantic call from Ringo.

    An hour or so later, musicians started to arrive for the recording session that George had already scheduled for that afternoon. I looked across the table at him.

    ‘Are you going ahead with the session, then?’ I said.

    ‘Well,’ said George. ‘There’s really nothing else we can do, is there? We’ve just got to carry on.’”

    I think it took quite a while for John’s murder to fully sink in. I think George, like a lot of people close to John, took a long time to realise it fully – they seemed numb and in shock for quite a while. George would say in interviews how it felt like it almost wasn’t real, because John was living in a different country and he didn’t see him frequently, it felt like he still could be out there somewhere.

    As others have said, George and John had had a disagreement at the time of John’s death over George’s book, I Me Mine, which John had felt hurt and slighted over. Although this wasn’t properly reconciled, I think too much is made of that argument. George did say occasionally that regardless of that, he still felt close to John because of everything they’d shared during his life. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine from November 1987, George was asked about this and answered that his connection to John transcended the ‘physical state’:

    DECURTIS (Rolling Stone): Did you feel the two of you might have gotten close again if he hadn’t been murdered?

    HARRISON: No, I only felt physically unclose to him, because we’d gone through too many things. The very first time we took LSD, John and I were together. And that experience together, and a lot of other things that happened after that, both on LSD and on the meditation trip in Rishikesh – we saw beyond each other’s physical bodies, you know? That’s there permanently, whether he’s in a physical body or not.

    Later on, Olivia Harrison, George’s wife, said that George had told her he was angry over how John had been killed because his transition over into death would have been so horrible and violent (in line with George’s beliefs). As others have said too, it had a profound effect on George and how he became very wary of his own safety.

    To answer the question then, in short, yes, I think George was deeply upset by John’s murder, and so much so it was not something he would always share publicly.

    I’ll commence as I often have by saying I knew George a bit,and he was kind and generous towards me, this was back in mid seventies. I’ve met and spoke to Paul quite a bit as well. Never met John or Ringo. But as I would consider myself an acquaintance, I’ll say this. The one question I always wanted to ask both of them, but thought it might be a bit too touchy, was this. I should mention this. Ken Gerber is not really the name I’m known by. I have a sobriquet. It’s better this way.

    In my opinion “Taxman “lyrically is one of the top five Beatles song. It was wit far beyond Georges years, but kept in keeping of who he was. I think it’s misunderstood that either John or Paul condescended to George to the degree that has been written about over the years. In reading your article , I believe it was the Playboy interview with John ? It came off like George really,really needed help on the words, and John almost against his Will helped George . John mentions throwing in a FEW LINES !

    The question I would love to know the answer to is this. “Which lines “ ? I’ve heard so many different takes on this from people that were NOT there. The line that stands out a bit, albeit there is not a weak line in the song, is “Now my advice for those who die, declare the pennies on your eyes “ … That’s beyond brilliant and I can assure you it went over the heads of 95% of Beatles fans at the time. I regret I didn’t have the nerve to ask Paul , as I’m sure he would know who did what to and with whom. As Paul never mentioned writing any lyrics for the song, even the discarded “Got a little money etc. “ he would probably been amenable to tell me. Paul never even made a big deal out of his playing the solo. Remember the Revolver cover lists the composer and singer and any outside hired gun, but made no mention of “solo by Paul McCartney “

    One thing that irks me is the idea that people believe Paul and John didn’t work as hard on Georges songs as on their own. That’s just NOT true. They were there for him. John was obviously very hurt by Georges book, and he does come off as condescending, I don’t believe that Paul was talking down in respect to George being his little brother, it was more a form of love and endearment . One must also remember that George also helped John and Paul. The “And I Love Her Intro “ the All my Loving “ solo . The extensive use of the Moog synth on Abbey Road were primarily Georges ideas and he also I’m quite sure played the Moog parts .

    I mistakenly wrote George was using a mellotron on Abbey Road. Someone kindly replied it was a Moog, not a mellotron. He’s absolutely correct. I was thinking a Strawberry Fields , entirely different form of synth, more a sampler ( if you want to call analog tape loops synthetic ) My mistake . I’m surprised I didn’t throw an oscillator in there : ) In any event almost all this 60s technology was analog . If you want to hear a mellotron, go to the Beatles psychedelic period. The guitar intro on Bungalow Bill is a great example. I imagine they used it on a couple of other tunes , I’m just now aware of which.

    I think everyone has to remember this to put things in perspective. With all the acrimonious comments in respect to these four men having difficulties with one another, that’s all meaningless . There were ONLY four people on the planet that shared this comradery, no one else could possibly relate to what this must have been like. They all needed one another to retain their sanity. If ever four people ever needed to bond and support one another, it was these four childhood friends ( I know,Ringo was a latecomer ) That experienced something that was beyond surreal . Me ! I don’t know how they held it together .

    At the end of the day, we are all outliers looking in and conjecture has become reality for too many …

    I’ll leave you with this. Give me a break here, I’m “paraphrasing” but the idea and intent are true .

    George Martin once said this.

    You meet one of the boys and it’s great. He will be charming.

    You meet two of them together , and you feel this chemistry you may not have felt before.

    You are in a room with three of them, and you can’t quite explain the effect it is having on you, there’s something otherworldly. They’re not like others.

    You have all four Beatles together at the same time, in the same room, and you know you’re seeing and feeling something you’ve never quite felt before. There is this idea that there are the four of them together and it can’t be defined. You’ll ALWAYS be on the outside looking in. The bond,charisma,wit,physicality and this aura around and about them is something only the four of them can feel and experience.

    That’s it ! Notice he never mentions Music …

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