I have two favorite cover artists, Joe Cocker and Richie Havens, who both performed at Woodstock. I was fortunate to see both play 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 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”.
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.