Thursday, November 21, 2013

Joe Cocker: Feeling Alright

Written by Dave Mason, he recorded “Feelin’ Alright” on Traffic’s self-titled second album and later on his solo LP “Headkeeper.” Although both versions received a modicum of album rock airplay, neither was destined to be a hit. Traffic’s single went as high as a whopping #123 and Mason’s solo version was never issued in a 45 format. Beginning in 1969, other musicians took their hand at making the song a hit.


Joe Cocker released his version in 1969 and it stalled at #69. Later that same year, Mongo Santamaria barely squeezed into the Hot 100 at #96. By 1971, the song was resurging with Grand Funk’s showing at #54; however, the highest charting version came in 1972 when A&M Records decided to re-release the single with the same catalog number. It finally broke the Top 40 and went to #33.

Most of this attention can be attributed to album radio playing the live version of “Feeling Alright” from Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” LP. By having a mastered single version of the tune from the LP “With a Little Help From My Friends, A&M quickly met the public’s need for a 7 inch version of this tune.

Unlike Traffic’s and Mason’s versions of the tune, the “G” in the title was not dropped and was released as “Feeling Alright” as opposed to “Feelin’ Alright.” Session musicians contributed to Cocker’s hit and included Artie Butler on piano, Carol Kaye on bass, David Cohen on guitar, Paul Humphrey on drums, and Laudir de Oliveira on congas, cabasa, and vibraslap. Backup vocals were supplied by Merry Clayton and sisters Brenda and Patrice Holloway. Good stuff from Joe Cocker.

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