When looking back on the greatest performers of Woodstock, two names will forever stand out: Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker.
Of course, everybody knows the name Jimi Hendrix, but not as many know the name Joe Cocker. The singer is not ultra-famous today, nor was he at the time, but Cocker laid down the perfect song at a time and place where the song could have been used as an anthem for the 1960s. At Woodstock, Joe Cocker covered The Beatles song “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends” and made history.
The Woodstock festival in 1969 was a concert for love, peace, and music. The event was advertised as a safe haven for those wanting to be free from the tension and controversy of the nation. Although the hippie subculture, largely based on the West Coast, are often remembered as the only people who attended Woodstock, this was a safety zone for thousands of different people.
In a nation separated by race, creed, religion and political stance, Woodstock brought people together through the common thread of music.
The line-up was one of the greatest assembled in the history of music: Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clear Water Revival, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez and many others were all scheduled to play the star-studded event. Joe Cocker, also on the line-up, and though his name carried weight, his rock star gold was not worth quite as much in terms of popularity.
Joe Cockers “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends” was a different version from the original Beatles classic. His version slowed the song down, adding back-up singers, and a new passion in his incredible voice. By the time Cocker’s “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends” was set to be played at Woodstock the times and intended themes of the historical event were perfect.
Across the nation we were facing tension at home and abroad and there was a need to support one another during this time of crisis.
Instead of furthering the separation between us, trying to find common ground where we both can stand and live without fighting. Love and generosity is the theme of “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends” and an important theme intended for Woodstock.
When Joe Cocker took the stage with his band, they played until Cocker worked himself into a frenzy.
Following an interlude, Cocker introduces his version of “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends.” The band plays as Cocker sways and jerks in poetically vulnerable perfection. As the sweaty and uncoordinated Joe Cocker touched the microphone transformed into the beautifully imperfect voice that made the performance memorable. Unintentionally, Joe Cocker sings “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends” as an anthem for the sixties.
Woodstock set the standard for live music events from that day forward. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is lined with bands who were part of the line-up during the historic event. The concert is now recorded in history books as a symbol of the 1960s symbolizing peace and love. The show will never be forgotten, but a vast majority of the details from Woodstock will fall away as the years progress. However, Joe Cocker’s “Get High With A Little Help From My Friends” will be associated with Woodstock forever, a performance that will never be forgotten.