I think this is one of those instances where a cover outshines the original. The definitive version of this has got to be Joe Cocker’s. The man throws himself into all of his music. Almost literally, with bodily twists and turns that would make a contortionist positively green with envy. His style has even been celebrated/parodied by John Belushi on Saturday Night Live.
I’ve put up two Joe Cocker videos: one from back in the day, in black and white, and one from a few years ago. Both are live because, while studio versions are nice and neat, live can bring about in-the-moment improvisational magic. Some artists are extraordinary live and need to be seen that way, “imperfections” and all. I think that’s the best way to enjoy Joe Cocker’s performance. With these two live versions, I think, you can see that Joe hasn’t really lost any of the intensity that everybody loves about him. And as a bonus the more recent track has him being backed up by Phil Collins on drums and Brian May on guitar.
Bon Jovi has a cover, also live. I like it. A lot. And let’s face it – Bon Jovi, sleeveless, with that hair, in a tight pair of jeans is some pretty nice eye candy. Yes, I’m totally objectifying the man and I’m okay with that.
What I’m not really okay with is the last one. Frankly I can’t get through the Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 cover. It makes me feel like I’m trapped in The Twilight Zone on an endless elevator ride. Make it stahhhhhhhhhhhhhp, please! Actually it sort of reminds me of the 50′s and 60′s when record companies would take that radical “colored” music and water it down with argyle sweaters and penny loafers for all the white kids and made it super neato cool. And safe. A bit extreme, but that’s the first thing that came to mind.