“You Can Leave Your Hat On"

Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker | Source

A tribute to the great and timeless Joe (John Robert) Cocker (May 20, 1944 – December 22, 2014). RIP.

Our gentle, 'Mad Dog' man…

Shouting the soul

And feeling the sound.

He rests the weary traveler,

Taking us to the in-between

Where the gravel meets the road

And nothing hides.

Singing every stroke and beat,

Each breath resonates,

Sweet, bared and real…

Every note played in voice

Of impassioned, rasping truth

That calls us like a friend.

We’ll always love you, Joe…

Joe and his Grease Band recorded "With a Little Help From My Friends" in 1968 with Steve Winwood and Jimmy Page. This eventually led to his performance at Woodstock, which skyrocketed him to fame. (Cizia69 of YouTube created the video.)

Initially, Joe didn’t care for this song when he first heard the demo, but changed his mind once they started to lay the music track. It won him the Grammy. (This video was created by Fritz51317 of YouTube.)

The hit single, “When the Night Comes,” is from Joe’s “The Best of Joe Cocker” and “One Night of Sin” albums. It's one of my favorites. (The music video was formed by LockRaen62 of YouTube.)

Joe had fun with this erotic gem, and would later refer to it as the stripper's anthem once it was used in "9 1/2 Weeks.” (Video created by LiberationMusiAus of YouTube.)

Poetry Copyright 2014 by Genna East. All rights reserved.

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Comments 57 comments

bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

Love Joe Cocker. It was so sad to hear of his death. (Genna, you might want to change the year of his death above)

Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

A great poetic tribute to a great entertainer. Loved his unique voice. Thanks Genna. Voted up.

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Ghaelach 2 years ago

Thanks Genna.

He will be sadly missed.

RIP Joe.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

wow great tribute I didn't even know he passed on.. sad

annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Wonderful poem evoking everything about this great singer, including his gravelly voice. I loved 'Delta Lady' the best but loads of others too.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Oh sweet and sensitive Genna,

I cried when I heard and I am crying harder listening to your finely selected treasures of a man, whose music will never die... for dang sure.

And YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL TO ME... Merry Christmas love, Maria

Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 2 years ago from Ruskin Florida

I love his Music. He took a horrible voice, and turned often average songs into epics. He did it by putting his soul into every song. I will treasure my collection of his works even more.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Genna - We watch our youth slip away. This is a boulder falling into the sea of such a beautiful time. The time of our lives, as it turns out. Your tribute is so touching and heartfelt. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Genna, I've always loved Joe. His raspy voice, plus he put his soul in every song. My favorite, ' Up where we belong and You are so beautiful. ' This is a beautiful tribute. I read that he'd had a long battle with lung cancer. I have all his music on CD'S. Thank's so much....

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

RIP. You selected an amazing song for your title to this beautiful tribute.

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Beautiful tribute!!!

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Thank you! I was doing some editing and changed the order of the videos as you left your comment. Timing is everything. :-)


Hi John. This man was special. I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t write anything else until I finished Pandion. But when I heard of his passing, these words tumbled forth. Thanks so much for the visit, comments and vote. :-)


Greetings, and thank you for those kind words. Yes, he will be greatly missed.


Hi Frank. I know…it’s hard to believe we’ve lost this legend. I appreciate the comment.


Hello Ann. Others have tried to emulate his voice and style, but I don’t think anyone’s come close. And I agree; there are many songs to choose from – aren’t there? His ’69 hit, “Delta Lady” is one. Good to see you. :-)


Dear Maria… I know how you feel. When I heard the news, I felt like I had lost a friend. I saw the Woodstock film and have the music on CD. He’s been “my man” ever since. (He was one of the first performers at the festival and said that a number of the players didn’t enjoy themselves very much, which surprised me.)

I almost used the video and title, “You Are So Beautiful”. But it has become so synonymous with Cocker (everybody uses it) and his idol, Ray Charles, I decided to go with something different.

Thanks so much for the lovely comment. Hugs, and Merry Christmas!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

One of my all-time favorite rockers. You did him proud.

Merry Christmas, my friend.

Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

A great tribute to Joe Cocker. You have picked good albums to showcase his works.

Voted up and beautiful.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 2 years ago from South Africa

Oh, I am so sad about his death. I love his songs!

This is a great tribute to Joe Cocker, thank you, Genna :)

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Don Bobbit

Hi Don, and thank you. I can hear every phrase, riff, and instrumental note in his voice…he could see and feel the music like no one else. He will be greatly missed.


Hi Mike. Beautifully stated, my friend. I read a comment in an online article about Cocker’s passing where a young man stated that he had never heard of Joe Coker, and why couldn’t this site write something “more relevant to today.” I couldn’t believe it. Perhaps he is a member of the “Kardashian Generation.” It’s his loss. A warm and Merry Christmas to you and your family as well! :-)


Thank you, Ruby, for that lovely comment. He’d been fighting cancer for some time. (I think this is one of the reasons why he and his wife put up their Colorado ranch for sale earlier this year, which Joe named “Mad Dog Ranch” after his album.) There will never be another Joe Cocker. Those songs you named are also two of my favorites. Oddly enough, Cocker didn’t want to record “Up Where We Belong,” when he first heard the demo. He had to be talked into it, and changed his mind about the song when they began t record. Hugs, and Merry Christmas, dear Ruby.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

This is a fitting tribute.

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Genna....Thank you for such a wonderful tribute to this sweet man, whose songs I will always love. His music has been playing through my head all day....UP+++

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, Genna,

What a phenomenal tribute to a phenomenal artist! Especially love "When the Night Comes" ... I must have been living under a rock these past weeks for I did not even know of his death, so sad.

I have always loved his music, which will live on forever.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Peace, blessings, hugs and Merry Christmas, dear Genna

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 2 years ago

Great Voice ! hey I remember the sixties too ! As I watch these icons leave us for the other side I realize , we are all getting closer too . The lesson ; live to the fullest .

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Thank you, Audrey. He has brought so much enjoyment to the lives of others; this was a labor of love.


Thank you, my friend. There will never be anyone else quite like him. I can’t believe that Cocker never got inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Someone’s definitely asleep over there.


I appreciate your visit and thoughtful comment.


Hi Martie. I was shocked to hear of his passing. I only hope he didn’t suffer. Lung cancer is a cruel disease. Thanks for those thoughtful words.


Your comment is so kind – thank you.


Mine too! He was one of a kind…this sweet, gentle man with the huge voice that filled the soul. Thank you.


Hi Theresa. I know how you feel, my friend. I was shocked when I heard about his passing. His friend, Billy Joel mentioned him during a recent concert, saying that he wasn’t well. I was “introduced” to Cocker when I watched the Woodstock film and heard the music, which I now have on CD. I was blown away by Joe Cocker. He’s been one of my idols ever since. Thank you for that dear comment, votes and sharing. :-)


Thank you. I think Joe followed your sage words of advice – live life to the fullest. He was 70 years old when he left for the other side, and lived more during his remarkable life than many others. An amazing artist and human being. It’s good to see you.

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Genna, a beautiful tribute to an outstanding performer. I was sad to learn of his death. What a voice... where the gravel meets the road indeed. Joe Cocker will be surely missed. You did a grand job. A Happy New Year to you and your family.

carter06 profile image

carter06 2 years ago from Cronulla NSW

He was such a legend Genna with that outstanding raspy voice..he was def worth going to see not only in the seventies but anytime for sure!! Loved 'Cry me a river' and so many more.. thanks for this lovely tribute which says it all..happy new year..Cheers

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Thanks so much, Jo. He will be missed. I still can't understand why he was never inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Happy New Year!


I so agree. He was timeless - wasn't he? :-) Whenever he took on a song, it became "his," and was unforgettable. Cheers and Happy New Year to you as well. Thanks for the visit. :-)

cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 2 years ago from Los Angeles

Hello Genna, This is a beautiful and fitting tribute to one of rock's most soulful blues singers. I was fortunate to see his Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour in 1971. He will be greatly missed!

"Every note played in voice

Of impassioned, rasping truth

That calls us like a friend." Wow!

ocfireflies profile image

ocfireflies 2 years ago from North Carolina


And with the help of my (HP) friends, I find my way back in front of my screen tapping on my keyboard. Lovely tribute from such a lovely lady.

Happy 2015 my friend,


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Oh my! Oh dear! I didn't know that he passed away. I'm touched to the core. His voice, his music has influenced me greatly and he will be missed. And not inducted into the Hall Of Fame? Someone is asleep! How can this happen? It's just not possible!

Now that I'm through being dramatic I 'd like to thank you for this lovely tribute to Joe Cocker. May he Rest In Peace.


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Dear Genna,

Wow! This tribute to a truly-paradoxical man/artist is GREAT. Thanks for doing such a great job of giiving one of "my" era's most-colorful people his deserved dues. Fantastic job.

And this happens to be my fave song that he recorded.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

A voice that will never be duplicated in our lifetime. I didn't hear he had passed away either. Isn't it funny how the death of some famous people seems to slip away with little fanfare?

Your poem was beautiful, "sweet, bared, and real"! A great tribute to a great man.

Voted up, useful, and awesome.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

How sad. I did not realize he was gone. God bless his soul.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hello everyone. My apologies for not responding sooner, but this past week had been crazy busy.


Hi Cat. How great that you saw him in person…that must have been thrilling! Good to see you as always. :-)


Hello Kim. I am happy you are here with us at HP. We love you, my friend. :-) Happy New Year!


You said it well, Audrey. How is it possible that he was never inducted into the RR Hall of Fame? And so little fanfare was given when he left us. I don’t understand people sometimes. Thank you for the visit. Wishing you and yours the very best in the New Year.


Hello Ken. “Hat” is a favorite song with many of Cocker’s fans. His music has survived through decades..many have tried to imitate him, but none have succeeded. He was unique in so many ways. Thank you for the visit and those thoughtful words.


Hi Mary. He was fighting lung cancer for a while. Aside from Billy Joel’s mention of the fact that he wasn’t well during a recent concert, I think that Joe remained quiet about his illness. Comparatively little notice was given in the trades and the media when he passed…and I have yet to read about a tribute to Joe Cocker, although I’ve been crazy busy during the holidays. You stated it beautifully, Mary: “A voice that will never be duplicated in our life time.” Hugs, and best wishes for a Happy New Year.


“May God rest his soul.” I’m sure He is. :-) I so appreciate that lovely comment. Thank you!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Dearest Geenah

I love your comment to me. And I love how you used One box for all of your replies. I think I may try this.

"Hat," has an almost-identical piano scale run as "Jane," by the former Jefferson Starship. I used to do that a lot: Look for matching chords and piano runs. It was fun, but addictive.

And Geena, sweet Geena, thank YOU for the follow. I shall not forget your niceness.

Kenneth, Your Friend for Life

The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

Neat Genna. I voted up and pinned.


LadyFiddler profile image

LadyFiddler 2 years ago from Somewhere in the West

Hi Gen Happy New Year to you and yours

Nice Tribute to Joe

Keep up the good work!

~~~ May God bless U ~~~

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


Thank you, Ken! I loved your comment as well. Enjoy the New Year, my friend.


Hi Kevin. Thanks for that neat comment, and for the vote and pinning. :-)


Thanks for the good wishes…I enjoyed your visit.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 2 years ago from sunny Florida

Joe probably is smiling and humbled by your tribute!!! Voted up +++ g+ Shared

Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

January 20


Hi. Happy Tuesday. I just had a brainstorm and those are rare for me, so here goes . . .why don't we call you, "Genna E.?" Kind of a wordplay with the 80's in mind. Remember Sheena E.?

Just a brainstorm.

Have a Great Day.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author


That is probably the nicest compliment I have received. Thank you!

@Kenneth Avery

Hi Ken. Interesting suggestion. Thank you for the visit and comment. :-)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

What an amazing singer and a great man, he will be missed, this was wonderful Genna!

colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 2 years ago from Minnesota

Joe Cocker will always be one of my all time favorite singers to listen to. That m'dear is a lovely poem that would bless Joe's heart, it did mine.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

@Nell Rose

Hi Nell. I just had to write something for Joe...he will always be one of my favorite rockers. And you are so right...he will be missed.


Thank you for that very nice comment. I didn't want to write this using what might be construed as over-sentimental or flowery prose...that's not who Joe Cocker was. We will always love him...he was one of the greats.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

@ Genna,

You are so welcome. I was in the neighborhood and thought before I flew away, that I would stop in to day hi and hope you are enjoying the new year.

I pray that you have The Best year ever.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Ken. You too! :-)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Sat. Jan. 24

Hi, Genna,

You are a very special person, writer, friend and follower. I pray that God literally pours out His blessings on you.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States

I'm a little late in making a comment, but he is one of my favorites also. I love the raspy voice and his songs. You wrote a great hub in his honor. Voted up!

Genna East profile image

Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you, Pamela. He was one of the greats. :-)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


You are certainly welcome.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Sad to hear of the passing of this great legendary singer and performer. Listening now to "A Little Help from my Friends". What a great song and I love his version. I wonder what he thought of John Belushi's version which I found amazing and funny.

It's getting to the point where we hear of the loss another of our musical heroes everyday. I remember when my parents started mentioning their favorites passing and it doesn't seem possible to have come full circle yet, it's true.

Voted up, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 20 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

My apologies, Peg, for missing this comment and being so late in responding. I agree with you in that there doesn't seem to be a month that passes when hear that the music world has lost another legend. Thanks so much for the visit and encouragement, my friend. It's always a pleasure to see you.

Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 17 months ago from Cape Cod

Wonderful prose Genna. Joe was top tier. One of the other comments noted how we watch our youth slip away. I envoy those who transition gracefully and mourn those who do not. In the video for Leave Your Hat On, we see the once dashing Mickey Rourke at the height of his fame and power. Today he is a sad and scary cartoon of himself. I expected him to age and mature a la Harrison Ford, not Herman Munster. Sad.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 17 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Bill. I think Joe Cocker surprised a few people by his enduring presence in the world of music when so many others did not...from Woodstock, onward, he did it his way, and with style. I agree with you about Rourke, and I have a hunch he would as well.

annasmom profile image

annasmom 15 months ago

Saw him at The Star Plaza in Indiana...such a unique talent. Nice tribute.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 15 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you! He was an original in every sense of the word. :-)

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 9 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Today I found myself in a 'Joe Cocker' mood. After playing my favorite hits I totally lost it with "You Are So Beautiful." Did you know that he was actually crying as he sang the last line of this song?

I remembered reading this hub and your beautiful tribute to Joe Cocker. I'm so glad you did this Genna. It was such a gift to me to be able to re-visit, read your perfect poem ("...of impassioned rasping truth") and relive the videos featured here.

Thank you my friend for sharing your talent with us. Sharing again and pinning.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 9 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Hi Audrey. No one could sing "You Are So Beautiful" like Joe. No one. His style, voice and love for music combined to form a talent that was like a warm friend that we could relate to, trust, and love. Both Joe and his singular gifts will be missed. Thank you for that thoughtful comment; it's always a pleasure to see you.

old albion profile image

old albion 7 months ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Genna. A first class hub in content and presentation. Yes Joe was a little different to so many other entertainers. That voice was different you knew it was him a mile away. One of the very best. Thank you.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 7 months ago from Massachusetts, USA Author

Thank you for that nice comment. Joe deserves all the credit. Good to see you.

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