My Two Favorite Cover Artists

I have two favorite cover artists, Joe Cocker and Richie Havens, who both played at Woodstock. I was fortunate to see both perform live in Connecticut concert settings. Each person generated special magic channeling famous songs by well-known musicians they made their own. What I love is the dimensionality and how much more I came to appreciate the original selections.


Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker crafted Beatles songs among other tracks with his unique phrasing. If I had to name one song that signified Joe Cocker’s Beatles stamp it would be, “With  A Little Help From My Friends”, which I saw him do in the Woodstock film. His performance was both commanding and endearing.

Sir Paul McCartney stated he would be “forever grateful” to Cocker for turning With A Little Help From My Friends into a “soul anthem”.

Richie Havens

What I love about Richie Havens is the extra breadth and depth he injected in Bob Dylan’s songs. His interpretation brings Dylan’s songs to life in amazing ways. The gem of Haven’s Dylan’s cover selections is “Just Like A Woman”.


My favorite rendition is Richie Haven’s performing at the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration Madison Square Garden event. The audience reaction on the refrain echoes how wonderful Richie knew and understood Dylan.

Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour

Cover of "Mad Dogs & Englishmen"
Cover of Mad Dogs & Englishmen

“Zee Mad Dogs, Zee Englishmen and Joe Cockerrrr”

Staying with The Fillmore East blog post theme as it relates to historic concerts, the focus now shifts to events that took place on March 27 and March 28 1970. This is the point in music history when the Joe Cocker & The Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour, complete with 40+ family members and a video/audio production crew took over The Fillmore East to record for posterity their unique travelling circus and medicine show experience. This rag-tag nucleus of talented potpourri made a significant contribution to the annals of live rock music with its synthesis of blues, country and soul music.

Copyright Amalie R. Rotschild Photography



The four concerts held at 8 and 11 p.m. respectively, produced a rich treasure trove of musical heritage. There is a full length feature film on DVD that exhibits the various stops on the tour as well as the backstage sounds and scenes.

In addition to a double album of the Fillmore East shows, there is also a rarities CD. Rhino’s Hip-O label has also produced the definitive 6 CD set of all four Fillmore East recordings as a limited edition pressing of 2500 units, which is sold out but available on Amazon through authorized sellers. Hip-O also produced a 3 CD set of each evening as a limited edition of 5000 units which are still available for purchase on the Hip-O Web site.

It’s equally fascinating that this tour not only launched the greater success of Joe Cocker but also promoted the careers of Leon Russell as producer/arranger, Rita Coolidge singer, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns (who went on to play with the Rolling Stones), Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums (went on to play in Derek and the Dominoes). As Leon Russell sings in “The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen”…


Kids, planes, runway strikes
Flashy pimps and family fights
Spotted dogs, blood-shot eyes
Our space captain laughs and tries
To understand the scheme of things

But just in time the scene has changed
The bus is here, bring the beer
Sherman’s reading Shakespeare
Movie makers, boobie shakers
And Saxy airplane ticket takers

Union members
Leo Fender’s pride and joy
Electric toy
Teachers, learners
Incense burners
Religious leaders and chronic bleeders
Thieves and pirates on a ride
It’s a hippie commune bonafied

But Okies and Limeys, curtain climbers
Stones and future Dominoes
Know which way the wind blows
Stolen cola no one knows
The shadow do
But it’s still a shady crew

‘Cause I love her, and she loves me
Just myself and forty friends
In the name of Cocker Power
Out here on the road again
With Mad Dogs and Englishmen

%d bloggers like this: