Tag Archives: Joe Cocker

Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (5-20-20)

Inspired by the May 20 birthdays of Cher, Busta Rhymes, Joe Cocker, The Go-Go’s’ Jane Wiedlin, Haircut 100’s Nick Heyward, Shorty Long, and Paul & Paula’s Jill Jackson.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1V75BDhQ7vzY3UgWb56YJ3

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Your (Almost) Daily Playlist (2-14-20)

Inspired by Valentine’s Day and the February 14 birthdays of Cait Brennan, Tim Buckley, Rob Thomas, and Dwele.

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Throwback Thursday – 1996

Per the site WhoSampled.com, Joe Cocker’s “Woman to Woman” (1972) has been sampled 24 times. Joe Cocker! Twenty-four times! Who knew?

The best-known track to sample “Woman to Woman” is 2Pac’s “California Love,” which utilizes the instrumental riff from the beginning of the Cocker song as one of its hooks. Here is “Woman to Woman:”

“California Love” kicks off this week’s Throwback Thursday playlist, spotlighting the music of 1996.


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Jimmy Page: Pre-Zeppelin

(I meant to post this yesterday, but I entered the wrong date on the schedule. Oopsie!)

Before founding Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, who turns 72 years old today, was an in-demand musician. Here are twenty pre-Zeppelin tracks on which he played:


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The Unsung Genius Of Billy Preston

Ringo + Billy Preston
Today is the birthday of the late, great Billy Preston. You may be familiar with his #1 hits “Will It Go Round in Circles” and “Nothing from Nothing.” Preston has many more accomplishments on his resume. Here are ten things you may not know about him:

1. He is the only person to be given a featuring credit on a Beatles single. The #1 smash “Get Back” and its b-side, “Don’t Let Me Down,” also a top 40 hit, were credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston. He also played on the band’s Abbey Road, Let It Be and self-titled albums (the latter often referred to as The White Album) and in their famous final rooftop concert. At one point John Lennon suggested having Preston become one of The Beatles.
2. He played on several albums by The Rolling Stones, including Exile on Main Street, Sticky Fingers, Tattoo You, It’s Only Rock‘n Roll and Goats Head Soup.
3. In 1958, twelve-year-old Preston played “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy as a child in the Handy biopic St. Louis Blues.
4. At age 15 Preston joined Little Richard’s band.
5. In 1967 Preston joined Ray Charles’ band.
6. He played on Sam Cooke’s final studio album, the critically-acclaimed Night Beat. Preston was 16 years old at the time.
7. Other artists on whose records Preston played include Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Peter Frampton, Eric Clapton, MeShell NdegéOcello, Joni Mitchell, Jet, Neil Diamond, Sly & the Family Stone, Aretha Franklin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Luther Vandross, the Everly Brothers, and Johnny Cash.
8. Preston co-wrote “You Are So Beautiful,” a top five single for Joe Cocker in 1975.
9. It has been written that Stephen Stills got the expression “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” from Preston. (Some reports say it was Doris Troy who gave Stills that phrase.)
10. George Harrison wrote and co-produced “My Sweet Lord” for Preston. It appeared on Billy’s 1970 Encouraging Words album, released on The Beatles’ Apple Records. Harrison went on to record his own version of the song for his All Things Must Pass album, on which Preston played. Perhaps you’ve heard the Harrison version.
11. Preston introduced George Harrison to a woman named Olivia Arias, who worked at A&M Records, for whom Billy recorded after he left Apple. Arias soon became Olivia Harrison.
12. So impressed by Preston’s music was Miles Davis that the jazz legend recorded a song called “Billy Preston” for his 1974 album Get Up With It.
13. Preston’s primary instrument was the organ. The first time he played the clavinet was on his hit “Outa-Space,” which reached #2 on the pop charts. The first time he played the Arp synthesizer was on his hit “Space Race,” which reached #4 on the pop chart.
14. Preston’s singles “Will It Go Round in Circles,” “Nothing from Nothing,” “Outa-Space” and “Space Race” each sold over one million copies in the United States alone.
15. As a solo artist Preston had ten top 40 hits on Billboard’s R&B chart.
16. Preston played Sgt. Pepper in the ill begotten film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of my favorite bad movies. In the film he sings “Get Back” to Billy Shears, played by Peter Frampton, just after Shears jumped off of a roof to kill himself. Perhaps I should have written SPOILER ALERT, but you can’t spoil something that stinks to begin with.
17. In 1972 Preston became the first rock performer to headline at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
18. Preston was a musical guest on the first episode of Saturday Night Live.
19. Preston started playing piano and singing church. About being gay in the church, Preston told writer David Ritz “In the community outside the church, gay men were called sissies. There was zero tolerance. But inside the church, a lot of music was created by gay men. It was almost a tradition. Everyone knew that my mentor James Cleveland, who became the King of Gospel, was gay….So many of the other major figures – like Professor J. Earle Hines out of Los Angeles and Professor Alex Bradford out of Chicago – were gay. Mahalia [Jackson] surrounded herself with gay men her entire life. In the neighborhood they made you ashamed of being gay, but in the church you were almost proud to be part of the gay elite of musicians.”
20. Preston died on June 6, 2006, from complications from malignant hypertension. He was 59 years old.

Here are twenty of the many highlights of Billy Preston’s recording career:


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Paul McCartney And Me: Lives In Parallel

On October 24, 1963, The Beatles were in Stockholm, Sweden on the first day of their first foreign tour.

On October 24, 1963, I was born.

Both of these events turned out to be remarkably influential on the culture.

The Beatles, who synthesized American rock & roll with various British music traditions, moved popular music to a whole new place, expanding the types of song structures and lyrical content heard in the hit songs of the day and opening the floodgates for many British bands to prosper around the world.

Using the medium of stand-up comedy, I went to blue collar towns and meetings of Catholic senior citizens and told them of my travails same-sex dating. Just like the USA and Sweden and other parts of the world were exposed to what was happening in Liverpool, so were the people of Allentown, Pennsylvania exposed to what was happening in my love life, which believe me, wasn’t much. The Beatles and I opened peoples’ minds to a world beyond their own. They delivered their message to 55,000 people at Shea Stadium, while I delivered mine to a couple dozen folks at Bananas of Poughkeepsie. I also played to sold-out crowds at Caroline’s on Broadway and StandUp NY, but it’s not my nature to brag about such things. I’m the quiet Beatle.

On October 24, 1979, I turned 16 years old. That same day, Paul McCartney received a medallion commemorating his achievements in music. Having written or co-written 43 songs that sold over a million copies each between 1962 and 1978, he was named the most successful composer of all time. While working on the Licensing departments at Sony, Zomba and Warner, I licensed recordings to 43 Now That’s What I Call Music compilations that sold over a million copies each. It’s like Paul McCartney and I are twins.

Ringo + Macca 2014-06-18
Today, Sir Paul McCartney (he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997, something we don’t have in common. I am not a British citizen, and therefore not eligible.) turns 72 years old. The Beatles’ recordings are not on Spotify, so I’ve worked around that minor inconvenience to create this playlist of some of the finest songs McCartney composed or co-composed.

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