Monday, February 17, 2014

With a Little Help from My Friends

"With a Little Help from My Friends" covered by Joe Cocker

            Have you seen The Wonder Years? The hit TV show’s theme song,“With a Little Help From My Friends”, was sung by Joe Cocker and rose to the top of the charts in both the US and the UK. In addition to being the Wonder Years theme song, Cocker also preformed the song at Woodstock in 1969 (where alleged his entire band took LSD, but he abstained). Cocker’s performance is known to be the best cover song of all time. Of course, Cocker was not the original writer or performer of this song. In March of 1967, the Beatle’s Lennon and McCartney wrote this song for their fellow Beatle Ringo Star. "Bad finger Boogie" was the early working title to the song, which Lennon allegedly composed on a piano using his middle finger after having injured his index finger. In an earlier version of the song, the chorus lyrics read, “what would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and throw a tomato at me.” The song was to be included in the Sergeant Pepper Album. This song is simple and its message is clear, “a little help from my friends” is obviously culturally relative to the 1960s. The songs chorus, “oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends” illuminates the drug culture’s prevalence during this time period. More resonant, however, for youth in the 1960s was their dependence on each other—The 1960s was a time when many came together, to revolt against the war in Vietnam and against the conformist culture in which they were raised. It’s apropos that this was chosen to be the theme song for a coming of age TV series, which highlights the difficulties the 1960’s children faced.  Unity and community came in tandem with counter-culture. While the song’s message was certainly particular to the youth of the 1960s, what the song communicates about friendship remains timeless to this day.

Songfacts, LLC, "With A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker ."

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