Joe Cocker, who died yesterday at 70, was not one of the big hits of Britain’s first great pop festival. Playing before the Moody Blues on the Saturday night, he was not blessed with an audience attuned to his brand of soul. For me, however, Joe Cocker was one of the standout artists at Wootton. Three songs dominate my memory of the event: the Great Awakening’s guitar instrumental “Amazing Grace”; Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay”, and Cocker’s “Delta Lady”. All three singles possessed a magic, but Cocker’s urgent and heartfelt delivery elevated it above anything else coming over the PA. It was some feat for Cocker to take a song written by Leon Russell for Rita Coolidge and make it his own.
I saw Joe Cocker again about twelve years ago – still as modest and genuine as he had been in his heyday. He’ll always be remembered for his air guitar and marble-gargling voice, but hopefully Delta Lady will still be around when a certain song from a cheesy romantic film is long forgotten.
69ers, the novel of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival of Music, has finally been released as an e-book. Retitled When Dylan Sank the Isle of Wight, and with a new cover, the book is retailing at £3.59 (less than six dollars) and can be purchased here.
For reviews of the book, check out the paperback version, while you can find extracts on this site, along with a host of original archive material about the groundbreaking event around which the story is built. It’s a story about another age, but one which takes a hard look at those times (and hopefully an entertaining one) rather than wallowing in nostalgia. I really hope the e-book’s going to be read by people of all ages, and more reviews are welcome, even in the unlikely event that you do not enjoy it!