British singer Joe Cocker died on Monday at age 70. Though he was known for his distinctive vocals on a number of hits, including "With a Little Help From My Friends," "You Are So Beautiful" and "Up Where We Belong," it's nearly impossible for most to have a conversation about Cocker without someone mentioning John Belushi's famous impression of him.
Belushi first started doing his impression of Cocker during his time on stage at Chicago's Second City, according to journalist Bob Woodward in his book "Wired." And it was that Cocker impression that helped land Belushi a spot in the live "National Lampoon" show in New York City, eventually leading to his spot on "Saturday Night Live."
Belushi was so in love with his Cocker impression, that according to comedian Ed Bluestone in the book "That's Not Funny, That's Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream," Belushi would finish his performance with the "National Lampoon Lemmings" show and then go out to a New York comedy club and imitate Cocker on stage for an hour.
Just three episodes into "Saturday Night Live," Belushi got a chance to do his Cocker impression for the nation. He was introduced by host Rob Reiner without telling anyone who he was supposed to be, but the joke was immediate. Singing Cocker's hit Beatles cover "With a Little Help From My Friends," Belushi ended up falling off the stage and pouring water over himself.
It was so popular that in "SNL's" second season, Belushi actually got to perform alongside Cocker himself when the singer was the musical guest on the October 2, 1976, show. The pair appeared on stage, dressed identically, singing "Feelin' Alright."
Apparently, Cocker himself was OK with the spastic impression. Years later, he told the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, "I always found it quite amusing. But you have to understand I was a bit of a wreck at the time he was doing all that stuff... I thought vocally, he did quite a clever job with it."
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