Anorak | Crimes Against Music, No.1: ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ By Joe Cocker

Crimes Against Music, No.1: ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ By Joe Cocker

by | 4th, March 2011

Crimes against music, no.1: ‘With A Little Help From my Friends’ by Joe Cocker

IN 1968, the world of pop music was beginning to fragment, as ‘serious’ musicians were began to establish a new order. This sea change was symbolised by a single Beatles number: With A Little Help From My Friends the ‘Ringo song’ from Sgt Pepper . When Joe Cocker released his cover version, the accompanying ad featured a cartoon Starr with a speech bubble that ran: ‘Hey Joe, don’t make it bad… Take a sad song and make it better .’ The contrast between the dapper drummer, pictured in his Carnaby Street clobber, and the wild-looking Cocker could not have been clearer. It was a graphic illustration of the divergent ‘pop’ and ‘rock’ sensibilities that had now emerged.

The Beatles’ version of Friends managed to be all things to all people. The underground picked up on the drug references and interpreted the song as a display of countercultural solidarity. The disc jockeys, teenyboppers and mums and dads simply tapped their feet to its catchy tune.

It perfectly demonstrates the levity that prevented Sgt Pepper tipping into pomposity, with the jaunty arrangement and sardonic backing vocals nicely complementing Ringo’s deadpan delivery. ‘What do you see

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow

Posted: 4th, March 2011 | In: Key Posts, Music Comments (5) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink