Joe Cocker by Naaman Saar Stavy Creative Commons

In Memoriam… Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker by Naaman Saar Stavy Creative Commons
Joe Cocker by Naaman Saar Stavy Creative Commons (http://goo.gl/1drwOx)

“Joe came to Nashville with The Crusaders to sing on a couple of songs for an album they were recording.  This was Joe’s first foray back into music after his self-imposed hiatus, and he, the band, and Will Jennings, lyricist extraordinaire, were in our midst for several weeks.  The big hang-out in those days was Close Quarters, a/k/a the rock ‘n’ roll hotel, which actually was a boutique hotel, but the bar and lounge were ground zero for the local record people and for the visitors, too.  Joe and Will were actually staying up the street at Spence Manor, which was even more exclusive, while The Crusaders were ensconced in The Quarters.  For many a night, after their sessions, they all held court in the conversation pit, around a roaring fire, and I made a point of being a regular, as I was anyway, only living around the corner myself.  I’d run into Joe a time or two, back when he was still living and working around Sheffield, but I couldn’t say we’d been even passing acquaintances, yet he was happy to have another northern lad to chat to, so we got quite matey.  Very late on the night the album was finished, after the celebratory intake had done its work, Joe decided that he had to have a full English breakfast …

Spence Manor prided itself on the fact that they could get their guests anything they wanted, at any hour, so Joe asked me to come back and do the ordering, as he was somewhat compromised, and Will wouldn’t know what to ask for.  Armed with a fresh bottle of Scotch, we took the short walk to The Spence, and arrived in Joe’s suite at about four-thirty (that’s a.m.).

I figured I should call my wife to let her know I was OK, as this looked like it might take a while. I no sooner had a very sleepy Patti on the line, when Joe commandeered the phone … “Ello, missus, I’ve kidnapped your husband, ‘cause I’ve got to have an English breakfast and I need him to order it from these folk … y’don’t mind, do you?  Aye, good, well thanks then.”  Handing the phone back, he said, “Yer alreet, son,” and addressed the bottle while I got busy with the concierge.

You can imagine explaining the intricacies of a full English breakfast to someone who’d never heard of such a thing: “Yes, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, yes, that’s right … no, that’s fried bread, not rye bread, you heard me right, fried bread, fry it in the same pan you cook the bacon and sausage in … ,” etc. etc.  Now, I wasn’t stone-cold sober myself, but eventually the task was accomplished, and by dawn’s early light we tucked into a brilliant full English … Joe was a happy man!  (When I saw my wife that evening, she said, “Was I imagining it last night, or did Joe Cocker call here.”  Affirmative, my dear, affirmative.)” – an excerpt from Mersey Me! A Liverpool Lad On The Loose In The Swingin’ 60’s

I trust the heavenly kitchen had the full English Brekkie ready for Joe when he arrived – complete with black pudding!

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