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I will try not to sing on a Kia
June 20, 2008 11:02 PM   Subscribe

For those still wondering what the hell Joe Cocker was singing in 1969 at Woodstock in his landmark version of "A Little Help From My Friends", this hilarious video"transcription" (with some visuals added to the footage) should help. For purists, the original unedited version here.
posted by Seekerofsplendor (63 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
In Joe's defense, though, he is singing from the deck of a ship in a raging storm, in the epicenter of an earthquake, with flying objects too small to be seen on video flying toward him, and all the while being forced to power the amps and equipment for all of Woodstock using only the kinetic energy of his arms and neck.

Or at least, I assume he is. That's what it looks like he's doing, anyway.
posted by roombythelake at 11:30 PM on June 20, 2008 [13 favorites]


As a kid my dad always use to tell me that Joe Cocker was spastic (i.e. suffered from cerebral palsy) when he would show me this video. I just finally realized that he was joking.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 11:48 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Derivative of this, n'est pas?
posted by telstar at 11:52 PM on June 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just wept. Thank you for posting this.
posted by loiseau at 12:02 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


PS, he was hot back then.

Probiotics changed the way I feel now!
posted by loiseau at 12:05 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Not derivative, telstar. The duck one is just the most viral one of these, up to now. There are a couple Bollywood musical numbers floating around with this treatment, too. I think this is the best one.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 12:29 AM on June 21, 2008


Definitely brightened my Saturday night. Thank you!
posted by vac2003 at 12:33 AM on June 21, 2008


Now there's a man who knew how to cover songs: bring something totally new to them. I've always respected him for that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:37 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


also related...
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:06 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


fripping (1 hour ago) Show Hide
this was sort of funny but what i really want to say is

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck
youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
metafilterrrrrrrrr
Oh hey- I do believe that's the comment singularity, right there.
posted by hincandenza at 1:12 AM on June 21, 2008


I think this is the best one.

Nah, the best one ever is this classic (from 2000 or so).

Might not make much sense if you don't understand Swedish, but, as Wikipedia notices, "...the confluence of Middle Eastern music, Swedish subtitles, and inscrutable imagery entailed a bizarre (and, by most accounts, hilarious) experience."
posted by effbot at 3:07 AM on June 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll take your word for it, effbot. I'm just monolingual.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 3:31 AM on June 21, 2008


That hen was kind of hot.
posted by maxwelton at 3:47 AM on June 21, 2008


MetaFilter: I gotta get my Fred & Wilma
posted by bwg at 4:06 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Made me laugh loudly enough to annoy my neighbors. But I laughed intelligibly.
posted by idest at 4:07 AM on June 21, 2008


Oh my. Just having heard like, The Wonder Years theme and a few off his other recordings and never having seen the dude or his performance, I always tended to think his problem was "not enough drugs." It is now clear, however, that he erred on the other side.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:10 AM on June 21, 2008


If there's one song that I would be perfectly fine with never hearing again, it's that one. Don't get me wrong, it's a good song, and I liked it...the first two and half million times I heard it.
posted by zardoz at 4:39 AM on June 21, 2008


Shit. I'll never be able to watch that performance again without feeling the overwhelming urge to get a Leather for my Fred.
posted by JeffK at 6:01 AM on June 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Derivative of this, n'est pas?

Nah, they're all derivative of this, from way back in the days when the cutting edge of music piracy was high-speed dubbing to C90.
posted by boosh at 7:29 AM on June 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


My parents always told me that Joe Cocker was brain-damaged from too many drugs, tsk tsk.
posted by argybarg at 7:40 AM on June 21, 2008


Does anyone remember a commercial (from within the last decade, say) that used this recaptioning thing on Louie Louie? It was just white words on a black background, if I remember correctly. I also think it started with "dum dum dum / dum dum / dum dum dum / dum dum" over the chords. "Mait for knee" might have been in there somewhere.

Bah. I've been trying to find it for years.
posted by danb at 9:12 AM on June 21, 2008


Brilliant on top of brilliant. I'm with Flapjax, this was one of the best covers ever, and the editing, while hilarious, shows how unimportant the specific words can be in rock music, especially live.

I'm assuming the inspiration for these sub-titled re-edits is the Irrational . Exuberence
re-edit of Yatta!
posted by Herodios at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2008


way back in the days when the cutting edge of music piracy was high-speed dubbing to C90.

Oh, man. I spent way way way too much time labeling all my cassette tapes with track listings and such. I'd only use the tiniest pen, a drafting pen I bought just for that purpose, in order to cram every detail onto the little cassette insert.

I'm glad I don't waste time doing that now. Today I only tag MP3s for hours and hours.
posted by rokusan at 9:33 AM on June 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


"Now there's a man who knew how to cover songs: bring something totally new to them. I've always respected him for that."

The great Leon Russell was Cocker's band leader/arranger back then and I'm sure this was Russell's arrangement. Cocker's a great singer, but I don't know if he would have gotten where he is today without Russell at the helm during those early days of his career.
posted by wsg at 9:37 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming the inspiration for these sub-titled re-edits is the Irrational . Exuberence
re-edit of Yatta!


Oh, I don't know. We've already posted prior art from 2000 and from the eighties, so I'm not sure an animutation of a parody song from 2001 really counts.

(as for the Maxell thing, note that Dylan used intentional (?) errors on cue cards back in 1965, in the "music video" for Subterranean Homesick Blues. There are no entirely new ideas...)
posted by effbot at 9:47 AM on June 21, 2008


I've got tears streaming down my face from laughter at the "reinterpretation" of the lyrics-- fantastically done. This despite the fact that I would never slight Joe Cocker for kicking the almighty god ass at Woodstock. Additional props to his brilliant backup band, whoever they were. (gotta look that up, I suppose.)

You know, Woodstock was a singular event, not just because it was the first of its kind, or that it was so massive, or that it was the apex of an era, but also because most of the talent onstage performed BRILLIANTLY. I know the classic movie is edited down from 3 days to two hours, but dayum -- Richie Havens, Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner, Crosby Stills & Nash playing their FIRST SHOW AS A BAND, Santana doing Soul Sacrifice SHIIIII... The performances were up to par wit the history of the event. it puts me in capslock mode thinking about it.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:58 AM on June 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yep, this was the best one. Many of these, particularly the Bollywood ones are pretty lazy about their "translation" but this one was completely spot on. I really believe this is what Joe Cocker intended to sing.

Additionally, every time I see this clip I am astounded at the size of the balls Cocker had to have had to put on this performance. Drugs or not, intelligible or not, that is a man who did *not* hold back that day.

You know, Woodstock was a singular event, not just because it was the first of its kind, or that it was so massive, or that it was the apex of an era, but also because most of the talent onstage performed BRILLIANTLY.

Quoted for truth. It's hard to reflect on Woodstock for what it was without all kinds of icky cultural associations. I generally hate the strain of hippiedom that grew out of Woodstock and it is *the most* over played music in all of popular culture but it is seriously worth 3 hours of everyone's life to see the movie which does a pretty good job of documenting what Woodstock really was -- a really great fucking rock concert (Sha Na Na notwithstanding).
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:16 AM on June 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


heh, balls...Cocker....
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:18 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh, I was reminded of the Temperature (by Sean Paul) translation, personally.

So, there should be some central repository for these things. There should be a *name* for this thing, in fact.
posted by symbioid at 10:36 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I wanted to link to this thread the clip of John Belushi and Joe Cocker singing "Feelin' Alright" together back in the early (great) days of Saturday Night Live. However, I can't find a working link to it, because of all that legal baldercarp.

I always assumed he had cerebral palsy too. That's what I was told when I was a kid. I remember when I was five thinking how cool it must be to have cerebral palsy and to have an excuse to act like that whenever you wanted. My parents would call me "rambunctious" and I'd be like "no I got Surpal Balzy!" The excuse didn't fly with them.

May your god bless you and keep you Mister Cocker. Thank you for putting smiles on the worlds' faces, even still today. You were, are, and forever will be, the epitome of rock.

.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:27 AM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


There should be a *name* for this thing, in fact.

Mondegreen videos? Or, for the hipper crowd, Soramimis?

In Swedish, they're known as "Turkhits" (not sure that label works well for the Cocker video, though).
posted by effbot at 12:00 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of the entire Woodstock film is the splitscreen bit where you see Joe Cocker playing air bass next to the actual bass player playing actual bass and Cocker is doing all the fingering right.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:25 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Belushi doing a Joe Cocker has always been brilliant, part of the best SNL ever.

Unfortunately, the only Joe Cocker interpretation by Belushi I can find is this.
posted by DreamerFi at 12:28 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately, the only Joe Cocker interpretation by Belushi I can find is this.

Fucking brilliant.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:28 PM on June 21, 2008


Hey, ZachsMind, you know he's still touring, and not quite yet in need of a full stop?

(link to specific "page" of Cocker's flashtastic site not included for obvious reason)
posted by imperium at 1:50 PM on June 21, 2008


There should be a *name* for this thing, in fact.

From this thread, I learned that lots of people on youtube were calling them "interpretations".

Twigadee!
posted by 23skidoo at 2:29 PM on June 21, 2008


Mondegreen videos?

Mondegreenscreens?
posted by DaDaDaDave at 2:59 PM on June 21, 2008


I'm sure this was Russell's arrangement.

Actually no, Russell didn't come on board until Mad Dogs & Englishmen. The arrangement in question is via Joe's original group The Grease Band, and on record features guitar by Jimmy Page!
posted by bonefish at 4:09 PM on June 21, 2008


THAT WAS FULL OF WIIIIIIN!
posted by liza at 4:13 PM on June 21, 2008


That was great -- I laughed so hard I think it counted as my workout for the day.

There should be a *name* for this thing, in fact

Homophonic transliteration?
posted by treepour at 5:08 PM on June 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


This was the only time I have ever voluntarily sat through an entire Joe Cocker song. I never liked his "singing" but his butchery of this song, particularly, makes me ill. At least now, if I'm ever trapped in a vehicle with this playing, I will have some amusing memories to carry me through. Thanks!
posted by acetonic at 5:11 PM on June 21, 2008


I'm frolicking in the awesomeness of this.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 5:14 PM on June 21, 2008


I never liked his "singing" but his butchery of this song, particularly, makes me ill.

*Is stunned*
posted by shakespeherian at 5:20 PM on June 21, 2008


I managed not to laugh until the turban part. Genius.
posted by ukdanae at 6:05 PM on June 21, 2008


Joe Cocker is still alive? ...Of course I knew that! What, you think I'm daft or something?

[insert image of cat walking into a glass patio window and then behaving as if it didn't.]

AceTonic: "I never liked his "singing" but his butchery of this song, particularly, makes me ill."

ShakesPherian: "*Is stunned*"

ZachsMind: Is also stunned, but it may be the patio window doing it.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:17 PM on June 21, 2008


Unfortunately, the only Joe Cocker interpretation by Belushi I can find is this.
Here are more
posted by DanielDManiel at 8:00 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I love this song. But I can't even understand what he's saying when he talks!

Something about fucking an octopus... with your... toenail? Pinky? WTF?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:33 PM on June 21, 2008


One of my least favorite songs. The Cocker version is the only one I can stand.
posted by dobbs at 8:35 PM on June 21, 2008


One of my least favorite songs. The Cocker version is the only one I can stand.

You need, uh, a little help from your friends.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:37 PM on June 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


The Cocker version is the only one I can stand.

You know, it was a masterstroke on Joe Cocker's part to turn a rather plodding 4/4 tune with a fairly boring melody into a swaying, ecstatic R&B waltz brimming over with soul.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:29 PM on June 21, 2008


And also, think about it: the instances of cover versions that change the time signature of the original are surely few and far between. Matter of fact, right off the top of my head, I can only think of one other... and not a successful one like Cocker's.

Y'know, I'd like to know what other time-signature-change covers are out there. I'm gonna Ask MeFi.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:33 PM on June 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, if y'all know of any other number-cruncher covers out there, head over to AskMe, ok?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:55 PM on June 21, 2008


"butchery"

My, my. I'm a huge fan of the original and I remember being taken aback by this version, but wow, that's one of the great covers of all time. I didn't really laugh at the captioned version, it was sorta funny but.... well.... not very funny.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:39 PM on June 21, 2008


Awesome, DanielDManiel - those were exactly the two I had in mind when I was searching the tube.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:49 PM on June 21, 2008


I love covers like this -- that actually bring new feeling to the song, or reinterpret it -- instead of covers like No Doubt doing Talk Talk's "It's My Life" in a manner nearly indistinguishable from the original. (I think bands should keep that kind of thing for the second encore or the practice room.)
posted by loiseau at 11:59 PM on June 21, 2008


One of my close friends was involved with Micheal Wadleigh back in the day (he was also a film maker). Wadleigh told him he was going off to film some rock documentary up in the country New York in the country - and invited my friend to be involved - and my friend (who was also a camera man for Merv Griffin at one time and was offered a high-level job at a new show called Jeopardy, which he turned down to make films) said, "nah, I'm going down to Mexico to film there." Of course he kicked himself when he got invited to the Oscars for the thing.

He's got stories of filming Barbra Streisand and Aretha Franklin, as well as Bobby Kennedy. I'm always trying to get him to let me write his autobiography, those guys did some groundbreaking work in film styles back then.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:13 AM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was funny as hell. Brilliant stuff.
posted by jquinby at 7:30 AM on June 22, 2008


The captions weren't particularly funny. But the footage of Cocker was hilarious.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:19 AM on June 22, 2008


Joe Cocker is still alive?

Funny story.

Those of you who saw the movie "Across the Universe" may recall that Joe Cocker sings "Come Together" during the scene in which the protagonist moves to the Village. Well, all of exterior shots of the "The Village" were actually filmed in the Lower East Side - right in front of where I used to live, at the corner of Clinton and Rivington streets.

The production company had, over a period of weeks, turned my neighborhood into Julia Taymor's version of The Village Of The 60s. This meant covering the buildings with psychedelic murals (a couple of which actually kept theirs after the film was done shooting), re-doing store fronts (including one Bodega which they turned into the "Psychedelicatessen", which actually existed in SF and not NYC), and putting up hilariously impossible street signs (like the one announcing the corner of Rivington st. and St. Marks Place).

In any case, I took off work one day to hang around and watch them shoot. After seeing their neighborhood turned upside-down, a crowd of neighborhood people had turned out to watch the filming. While they were shooting the scene where Cocker sings "Come Together," an older black lady near me turned to her friend and said, "Look, they even brought out a smelly old hippie!"

I couldn't help but think to myself, "god, I love my neighborhood!"
posted by Afroblanco at 8:49 AM on June 22, 2008 [5 favorites]


one thing I appreciate about mefi is that when searching for the origin of a movement, the community leaps way past the obvious "Hey, Wired posted an article about this guy, buffalax, doing hilarious stuff to a Hindi version of "Thriller" (YT) waay back in 2007. Sheesh, I'm half-expecting somebody to find an instance of it being done in an obscure media format to folk music in the 1920's. Wired (and Mr. Sutton) have the temerity to suggest this process be called being "buffalaxed"
posted by dylanjames at 9:06 AM on June 22, 2008


This is my personal, blasphemous favourite. And this one is kind of the same concept in reverse.
posted by RokkitNite at 11:37 AM on June 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Actually no, Russell didn't come on board until Mad Dogs & Englishmen. The arrangement in question is via Joe's original group The Grease Band, and on record features guitar by Jimmy Page."

I stand corrected and appropriately bow down to bonefish's masterful rock trivia expertise.
posted by wsg at 8:46 PM on June 22, 2008


Flagged as fantastic.

I do think Joe Cocker proves the point made in "Hatten_är_din": Man kan knarka och hamna i TV (see Wikipedia for translation).
posted by eritain at 11:34 AM on June 23, 2008


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