By Nathan M. Walters, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Few living rock and blues singers have a repertoire as diverse as English howler Joe Cocker, one of the most preserving musicians to come out of the iconic sixties. Most music lovers have seen footage of a spastic Cocker near combustion at Woodstock in 1969, or even clips of him sharing the stage with the late legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

Joe Cocker Returns to Rio, April 1, 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Joe Cocker Returns to Rio, April 1, 2012 with his signature growl, photo by naamanus/Flickr Creative Commons License.

To really appreciate the range of Joe Cocker though, it is important to catch a live performance. Fortunately, Cocker will be making a stop at Rio’s HSBC Arena on Sunday, April 1st to deliver what will surely prove to be another stunning show.

In an exclusive interview with The Rio Times, he explained: “The band and I are very excited to be touring Brazil again.” When Joe Cocker, who is known for his manic energy, says he is excited, it can be assured the performance will be memorable.

Those familiar with Cocker’s work are drawn to the artist’s energy, as communicated through his growling voice. His renditions of songs like “With a Little Help from my Friends”, “Feelin’ Alright” and “Leave your Hat On” add a jagged edge that transform these classics into new songs. His voice manages to uncover the raw emotion of the songs that once heard seem absent in the original recordings.

Many children of the Eighties in the U.S. were probably first introduced to Cocker via the television series “The Wonder Years”. The use of Cocker’s studio version of “With a Little Help from my Friends”, the theme song for the series, introduced a new generation of fans to the artist.

Joe Cocker, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Joe Cocker, The Mad Dog circa 1980, photo by Monosnaps/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Though, it is not only Cocker’s gritty renditions that have earned the artist legendary status, “Unchain my Heart” and “Up Where we Belong” remain some of Cocker’s most well known songs. Cocker assures his Rio fans, “We will perform all the hits, with a few songs from my new CD ‘Hard Knocks’.”

Joe Cocker could probably tell a few tales about hard knocks. The performer has overcome many obstacles to secure his place as one of the most talented vocalist of the last four decades. His live performances still electric and reminiscent of when he took the stage in Woodstock many years ago.

As far as being in Rio, Cocker says, “It’s been so long ago I had to go back and look through an old tour book to realize it’s been 21 years since our last performance in Rio at the Maracanã Stadium in 1991.”

Cocker’s performance the last time was part of the second edition of Rock in Rio. Twenty-one years later Cocker still holds fond memories of the last stop here, “As I remember there are some very passionate fans in Rio, I look forward to seeing all my fans at the HSBC arena on April 1st.”

Fans interested in experiencing Joe Cocker live can still get tickets for the show, which is advisable since the risk of another 21 year wait is not worth missing this opportunity.  Cocker offers a few words of advise to attendees, “Get ready to rock.”  HSBC Arena is at Avenida Embaixador Abelardo Bueno, 3401, Barra da Tijuca.


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