I wrote about Woodstock briefly earlier this month, and since then some more Woodstock news has crossed my desk. First is The Road to Woodstock, a memoir cowritten by Michael Lang, one of the festival’s creators. (Interesting fact: Bob Dylan, who lived nearby, was not invited to perform.)
Second item: A re-release of the Woodstock movie. It includes extra footage of performers shown in the original cut, plus performances of CCR and the Dead, who were not included in the 1970 film.
Now to Fred and Wilma.
I remember first seeing Joe Cocker perform around 1970 on the old Tom Jones variety show. It aired on Sundays around dinner time, and I remember Cocker’s spastic performance gave our digestive systems quite a jolt.
Cocker’s been easy to parody. John Belushi’s imitation of the bluesy singer was brilliant in its boorish eccentricity. But I’m also wondering if it was so effective because Cocker, especially in his immediate post heyday, was such an easy target — in the way that anyone visibly different makes an inviting target. (You’ve never seen a kid in a supermarket pointing and saying too loudly, “Mommy, why is that man standing so upright, and why are his features so average, and why is his face so symmetrical and pleasing?” — have you?)
Anyway, I came across this video again of Cocker’s Woodstock performance of “With a Little Help from My Friends.” It’s the video that hilariously tries to make sense of Cocker’s famously muddy phrasing. That’s where Fred and Wilma come in. Take a look.