|Jimmy Page guitar on Joe Cocker's 1969 album, With a Little Help from My Friends|
In the brief time after the Yardbirds and before Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page did a little session work, including this first studio album of Joe Cocker's. What's interesting in this particular song is how his approach to this kind of work had changed since the early days. A proper session musician didn't (and still doesn't) steal the show from the main attraction, and in this song, of course, the main attraction is the vocalist and the lyrics.
Even so, in With a Little Help from My Friends you can hear that guitar, can't you. While Jimmy Page never lets himself out, while there are soaring riffs, the pure tone and perfectly positioned support has a presence all its own. You know Jimmy Page has totally got this.
Joe Cocker died December 2014, singing practically to the end. He was a wild man back in the day and was always hard for me to watch - he let the music take him so fully that he looked like he was having seizures - but his gritty voice was well suited to the rock, blues and soul that I loved him for. Some of his Beatles covers are better than the original, if you ask me, and of course, there's a bunch of soundtracks with Joe Cocker singing the songs that help make the movies the box office hits they were.
He [Cocker] was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and, like many people, I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover "With a Little Help from My Friends" and I remember him and (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile Row and playing me what they'd recorded and it was just mind-blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that."
~ Paul McCartney on Joe Cocker's death
♪ With A Little Help from My Friends SoundCloud