This week saw Joe Cocker pass to another world following his fight with lung cancer. It felt as if a life long friend had left me, though I have never seen Joe Cocker in concert or even followed his carreer. He has just always been there.
It was on a school trip in February 1983 that Joe Cocker filled my ears and my head with his song "Up Where We Belong". I had recorded it on a casette and listened to the song again and again and again on my walkman whilst the bus drove 35 unruly teenagers across the Alps towards Rome. I remember waking up after a long and cold night where the bus had broken down and had had to be repaired at 4 am in a garage somewhere near Munich . Austria, fresh snow, real mountains and bright sunshine. Life was ahead of me, I had a boyfriend, and I was off to Italy for the first time in my life. I was definitely somewhere up there with Joe Cocker!
The song was from the soundtrack to the film An Officer and a Gentleman which I probably did not watch in the cinema at the time as I was a bit "above" American box office films back then. However, by 1986 with his song You Can Leave Your hat On from the film 9 1/2 Weeks I was at university and would have watched the film with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke in the hope to learn a few tricks. In 1987 the album Unchain my Heart came out, and by then I had moved into a student hall of residence and had had my first heart breaks.
That's the thing about Joe Cocker's songs. They are great for making out, and they are oh, so right when you feel miserable after a break-up..... The jazzy rythms, the electrical guitar, the drums.... I am thinking of the song Ruby Lee. I am sure that some of that music was written purposefully for long, steamy nights! And when you listen to All I Know you remember all the tears you cried after being dumped by a fellow student who had read poems to you before telling you that the poems had been written for his previous girlfriend....
Tonight I am listening to The Ultimate Collection 1968 - 2003 with Joe Cocker's greatest hits and travelling down memory lane with Joe.
I heard my father say
Every generation has its way
A need to disobey
It's in your destiny
A need to disagree
When rules get in the way