With a Little Help from My Friends (Joe Cocker album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

With a Little Help From My Friends
Joe Cocker-With a Little Help from My Friends (album cover).jpg
Studio album by Joe Cocker
Released May 1969 (1969-05)
Recorded Early 1968
Studio Olympic Studios and Trident Studios, London
Genre
Length 40:27
Label
Producer Denny Cordell
Joe Cocker chronology
With a Little Help from My Friends
(1969)
Joe Cocker!
(1969)Joe Cocker!1969

With a Little Help from My Friends is the debut album by singer Joe Cocker, released in 1969. It was certified gold in the US and peaked at number 35 on the Billboard 200. In the UK, the album charted in May 1972 at number 29 when it was re-released as a double pack with Cocker's second LP Joe Cocker!.

The title track was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and originally performed by the Beatles on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; it has been inducted into both the Grammy Award Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[1] Cocker's version was the theme song to the television series The Wonder Years during the 1980s and 1990s.

In 2015, the Audio Fidelity company released a limited reissue of the album in hybrid SACD format as a tribute to Cocker.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone(favourable)[3]

With a Little Help from My Friends met with a favourable review from Rolling Stone's John Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn stated that "Cocker has assimilated the [Ray] Charles influence to the point where his feeling for what he is singing cannot really be questioned. And, in answer to the question of why someone should listen to Cocker when there is Charles to listen to – how many times in recent years has the latter applied himself to such exceptional modern material [...] or such contemporary Dylan... ?" He also stated that "Cordell's success in fusing a consistently marvelous backing unit out of America's premier studio soul singers and England's most famous rock musicians and delicate egos cannot be exaggerated." He concluded that "it's a triumph all around. And the thought of Cocker's next album [...] is an exceptionally pleasant one."[3] In The New York Times, Robert Christgau wrote:

With a Little Help From My Friends is the major triumph of rock interpretation thus far. Cocker's material leans to the conventional ... but his conception and performance, as well as Denny Cordell's production, are always audacious. His transformation of "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "A Little Help From My Friends" from light-hearted ditties into wails of human need succeeds perfectly, and his version of 'Feelin' Alright' is not only better than Three Dog Night's but better than the original, by Dave Mason and Traffic. If that means Cocker is the best singer in England, well—overlook Mick Jagger and it's possible, even likely. His voice is very strong, influenced by Ray Charles, and he has no inhibitions about using it. All of his inhibitions came before the fact, in the immense care that went into each track ... Cocker's affection for rock is uniquely personalized. He is gruff and vulgar, perhaps a touch too self-involved, but his steady strength rectifies his excesses. He is the best of the male rock interpreters, as good in his way as Janis Joplin is in hers.[4]

A retrospective review from Allmusic's Bruce Eder was fairly positive. Eder stated that the album "holds up extraordinarily well across four decades, the singer's performance bolstered by some very sharp playing, [...] It's Cocker's voice, a soulful rasp of an instrument [...] that carries this album and makes "Change in Louise," "Feeling Alright," "Just Like a Woman," "I Shall Be Released," and even "Bye Bye Blackbird" into profound listening experiences." He concluded that "the surprises in the arrangements, tempo, and approaches taken help make this an exceptional album. Tracks like "Just Like a Woman," with its soaring gospel organ above a lean textured acoustic and light electric accompaniment, and the guitar-dominated rendition of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" [...] all help make this an exceptional listening experience."[2]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Feeling Alright"Dave Mason4:10
2."Bye Bye Blackbird"Ray Henderson, Mort Dixon3:27
3."Change in Louise"Joe Cocker, Chris Stainton3:22
4."Marjorine"Cocker, Stainton2:38
5."Just Like a Woman"Bob Dylan5:17
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Do I Still Figure in Your Life?"Pete Dello3:59
7."Sandpaper Cadillac"Cocker, Stainton3:16
8."Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"Gloria Caldwell, Sol Marcus, Bennie Benjamin4:41
9."With a Little Help from My Friends"John Lennon, Paul McCartney5:11
10."I Shall Be Released"Dylan4:35
Total length:40:27
Outtakes released as B-sides
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."The New Age of Lily"Cocker, Stainton2:15
2."Something's Coming On"Cocker, Stainton2:15

Personnel[edit]

Production[edit]

  • Denny Cordell - producer
  • Tony Visconti - mixing engineer
  • Tom Wilkes - album design
  • Martin Keeley - front cover photography
  • Eric Hays - back cover photography
  • Herb Greene - back cover photography

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1969) Peak
position
USA 35
Germany 82
Chart (1972) Peak
position
UK 29

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[5] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–2006, Joel Whitburn, ed., Record Research, p. 180.
  2. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. With a Little Help from My Friends – Joe Cocker at AllMusic. Retrieved 6 December 2005.
  3. ^ a b Mendelsohn, John (23 August 1969). "Joe Cocker With a Little Help from My Friends Album Review". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (40): 36. Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  4. ^ The New York Times review
  5. ^ "American album certifications – Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.