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Classic Rock News

Music Stars React to the Death of Joe Cocker

Credit: Olaf HeineJoe Cocker passed away on Monday at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer. The gritty-voiced British singer was best-known for his memorable renditions of other artists’ songs, including his soulful version of The Beatles‘ “With a Little Help from My Friends” that he performed at the 1969 Woodstock festival. Now, a variety of music stars have issued statements paying tribute to Cocker, including the two surviving Beatles.

Paul McCartney, who co-wrote “With a Little Help from My Friends” with the late John Lennon, said in his homage to Cocker, “It’s really sad to hear about Joe’s passing. He was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and like many people I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ and I remember him and [late record producer] Denny Cordell coming round…and playing me what they’d recorded and it was just mind blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful for him for doing that.”

Sir Paul added, “I knew him through the years as a good mate and I was so sad to hear that he had been ill and really sad to hear today that he had passed away. He was a great guy, a lovely guy who brought so much to the world and we’ll all miss him.”

Ringo Starr, who sang the original version of “With a Little Help from My Friends,” posted his own tribute Cocker on his Twitter account that reads, “Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends peace and love.”

Another song Cocker famously covered was Traffic‘s “Feelin’ Alright,” which was written by Dave Mason. In a new Facebook post, Mason explains that he wrote the tune as “an unrequited love song about not feeling too good myself,” adding that when he first heard Cocker’s rendition, he “was blown away.”

Mason continues, “This song was no longer about not feeling too good myself. It WAS feelin’ alright! I owe a great debt of gratitude to Joe Cocker for cutting that song. Even though I wrote it and sang it with Traffic, it is the quintessential version that will live on long after his passing and mine. What a voice.”

Here are comments and messages from some other artists about Cocker’s passing:

Longtime Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes is a huge Cocker fan who, with his other group Gov’t Mule, paid tribute to Joe’s classic 1970 live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen by playing it at a 2012 New Year’s Eve concert. Speaking on Monday with ABC News Radio, Haynes said of Cocker’s passing, “It’s a huge loss. Vocalists like that don’t come along very often, you know?” He added, “You could hear the influences, the history in his voice. He was obviously a huge Ray Charles fan, but when he opened his mouth, everything that came out sounded uniquely like Joe Cocker.”

Former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman was a close friend of Joe. He told the BBC that Cocker “had a voice that was just unique,” adding, “The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years.”

Bryan Adams, who co-wrote Joe’s 1989 hit “When the Night Comes,” posted on his Twitter account: “RIP my good friend, you were one of the best rock singers EVER.”

Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler tweeted, “WE LOVED YOU FOREVER, WE WILL MISS YOU ALWAYS…RIP JOE COCKER.”

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry told ABC News Radio, “He was one of those singers that everybody talked about. He was such a dynamic performer and such an incredible singer.”

Peter Frampton tweeted, “So sad to hear of Joe Cocker’s passing. ‘You are so beautiful’ is both Joe and Nicky Hopkins piano at their very best. Gonna play it now RIP.”

The Recording Academy’s Neil Portnow issued a statement honoring Cocker and noting that he “had one of the most distinctive, soulful voices in all of rock…Our music community has lost a passionate and influential artist, and his legacy will continue to inspire and entertain generations to come.”

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Phil Rudd Says He’s “Going Back to Work with AC/DC”

Image Courtesy of Columbia RecordsAC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has talked with the media for the first time since he was arrested last month on charges of threatening to kill and possessing illegal drugs. In an interview with New Zealand’s ONE News Monday, the 60-year-old rocker insists that despite his legal troubles, he plans on returning to his famous band.

“I’m going back to work with AC/DC, I don’t care who likes it or who doesn’t,” he declares.

Along with the charges he’s currently facing, Rudd also initially was arrested for allegedly hiring someone to kill two people, although those charges were quickly dropped. With regard to the murder-for-hire charge, Rudd calls it “ludicrous,” adding, “As if I needed anyone to do that.”

Addressing the media frenzy surrounding him and his impending court battle, Phil says, “This has just been a big ball of cheese, with the rats [running around] grabbing a piece. That’s just life, but that’s not who I am.”

He adds, “Everyone listens to the wrong people. They should listen to me. I’m a good guy, and I’m a pretty good drummer, by the way. Ask [AC/DC guitarist] Angus [Young,] he’ll tell you.”

Before the end of the interview, Rudd again discusses his intention to rejoin AC/DC, who will be hitting the road next year for a world tour in support of its just-released album, Rock or Bust.

“I want my job back, I want my reputation back and I’m gonna get it back,” he tells ONE News. “I’m gonna f**king take it back.

Phil is due back in court in his adopted hometown of Tauranga, New Zealand in February. As for his immediate plans, he tells ONE News, “I’m going fishing today, flying this afternoon and a lot of fornicating tonight.”

In an interview with USA Today last month, Angus Young revealed that Rudd had been acting erratically while the band was recording Rock or Bust. As for Phil’s status with the group, Angus said, “I can only say, from our perspective, that the guy needs to sort himself out.”

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Rock Legend Joe Cocker Dead at 70

Didier Baverel/WireImageJoe Cocker, the British singer known for his gritty voice and unique performance style, has died at the age of 70, the wife of Cocker’s agent confirms to ABC News. He died of an undisclosed illness. His agent told the BBC that Cocker was “simply unique.”

Most famous as an interpreter of other artists’ songs, Cocker put his own spin on the Beatles “With a Little Help from My Friends,” Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady,” Randy Newman‘s “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” Dave Mason‘s “Feeling Alright,” and many more, including his biggest solo hit, “You Are So Beautiful,” originally written and recorded by Billy Preston.

Cocker’s performance of “With a Little Help from My Friends” at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 was one of that event’s standout moments. Cocker’s performance of the song became the theme for the TV series The Wonder Years.

Cocker’s spastic onstage performance style was memorably parodied on Saturday Night Live by John Belushi, who performed “Feelin’ Alright” side by side with Cocker, imitating his movements.

In the ’80s, Cocker teamed with Jennifer Warnes on the #1 duet “Up Where We Belong,” from the movie An Officer and a Gentleman, which won a Grammy, as well as a Golden Globe and an Oscar.

Cocker continued to record and tour until just a few years ago. In 2002, he performed at Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee event, and in 2007, he appeared in the Beatles-inspired film Across the Universe. Also in 2007, Joe Cocker received one of the U.K.’s highest honors, the Order of the British Empire.

In September of this year, Billy Joel told the crowd at Madison Square Garden that Cocker was “not very well right now,” and made a plea for him to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor which eluded him in life.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Rolling Stones Thank Fans Who Attended 2014 Tour, Hint at 2015 Dates

Credit: Brian RasicThe Rolling Stones have posted a video message thanking fans for their support during their 2014 world tour, and hinting that more dates could be on the way next year. The clip, which was uploaded to the rock legends’ official YouTube channel, shows the band’s four members — Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts — standing side by side in an unidentified backstage area.

“We’ve had a fabulous time on the 14 On Fire tour this year,” Jagger declares at the beginning of the video.

“Yeah, we’ve seen a lot of you out there in the audience,” adds Richards. “Thanks a lot.”

Mick then says, “And we played in over 19 countries to well over 1 million people.”

Wood jumps in to point out, “One-million, one-hundred-and-fifty-nine-thousand, eight-hundred-and-eighty-two to be exact.”

To finish things up, Jagger thanks fans again for coming out to see the band, and adds, “Maybe we’ll see you in 2015.”

At the very end of the clip, the whole band says in unison, “Thanks, everyone!”

The Rolling Stones have yet to confirm any 2015 concerts, although veteran entertainment reporter Robin Leach recently revealed in his Las Vegas Sun column that rumors were circulating that that band may be playing in Vegas in June.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carlos Santana Says He Hopes His Memoir Inspires Readers to “Will Blessings and Miracles to Happen”

Little, Brown and CompanyCarlos Santana‘s new memoir, The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light, undoubtedly will fascinate readers interested in the guitar legend’s musical exploits and achievements. However, the 67-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says one of his main goals in writing the tome was to share a positive message that he hopes his fans can apply to their own lives.

“I really believe that I created this book because I wanted to share with people — not tell them who to be, what to do or how to do it…yet invite them to check out the mechanics of grace in their own life,” he explains to ABC News Radio. “How you can will blessings and miracles to happen in your life. The greatest blessing and miracle is for you to be happy each day and win over your own fear and your own sense of lack of self worth.”

Santana reveals that he was encouraged to write an autobiography by many people close to him who were captivated by his anecdotes about the many exciting experiences he’s had. Carlos says he learned his knack for storytelling from his father as well as from some of the musicians who inspired him, including B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Tito Puente and Miles Davis.

“When I shared the stories, people become really transfixed, because it’s happening to them while I’m telling the story,” he explains. “And so, after a while they said…’You should do your own book because there’s a lot of incredible stories to share.'”

In The Universal Tone, Santana candidly recounts his life story, from his childhood in Mexico and his early days playing music in Tijuana strip clubs, to his emergence as a pioneer of Latin rock, jazz rock and psychedelia, to his late-career success with the Supernatural album and beyond. The book also delves into Carlos’ lifelong spiritual journey, including his Catholic upbringing and his study of Eastern philosophies and various mystical teachings.

Santana says his favorite parts of writing The Universal Tone included discussing his relationships with such lauded musicians as Davis, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy. He adds that he especially enjoyed writing about his family members, including “my mom and dad, my sisters and brothers and, of course, the children — Salvador, Stella and Jelli [Angelica].”

Carlos points out that he discusses in the book his desire to be a positive influence on his kids, and other people close to him, by “making them feel important and significant and meaningful.”

In The Universal Tone, Santana also shares recollections of a painful and disturbing period in his childhood during which he was molested multiple times by a man who had befriended his parents. Carlos says people may be surprised to learn that he eventually was able to forgive this man by, as he describes it, “sending him to the light in heaven instead of sending him to hell.”

Santana adds that he hopes that writing about his experience with abuse and how he dealt with it will help other people who have had endured similar mistreatment.

“[W]hen people hear that they will know that there’s a way to not be what happened to you, but be free by forgiving,” he maintains. “‘Cause that’s the only way you’re going to be free, is by forgiving.”

The Universal Tone is available now, and currently is ranked #15 on The New York Times‘ Best Sellers list in the “Celebrities” category.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Elton John and David Furnish Are Married

ABC/Randy HolmesAfter more than 20 years together, Elton John and his partner David Furnish tied the knot Sunday in England.

Elton posted a series of photos from his big day on Instagram, using the hashtag “ShareTheLove.” In one photo, the couple has just signed the documents to make their union official. Elton writes, “That’s the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!”

The couple, who has been together since 1993, are already parents to Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, who will be 4 years old this Christmas, and Elijah Joseph Daniel Furnish-John, 23 months.

A law passed earlier this year in England allows same-sex marriage there.

The Grammy winner has always been open about his relationship with David, telling Parade magazine in 2010 that he “was attracted to David immediately.”

He regaled the magazine on how they met.

“In 1993 I went back to my house in Windsor for a while. I wanted to meet new people so I rang up a friend in London and said, ‘Could you please rattle some new people together for dinner here Saturday?’” John told Parade. “[David] was very well dressed, very shy. The next night we had dinner. After it, we consummated our relationship. We fell in love very quickly.”

John added that to keep that spark in their relationship, “Every Saturday for 16 years, we’ve sent each other a card, no matter where we are in the world, to say how much we love each other.”

The couple famously entered into a civil partnership in 2005.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio