SYDNEY soul singer Doug Parkinson is ensuring the spirit of Joe Cocker remains alive.
With the recent passing of icons such as Prince and David Bowie, Parkinson worries the lesser-known Cocker – who died in 2014 – could fall off the radar.
“He could get lost in the sandpit, so to speak, and I think he deserves more than that,” Parkinson said.
“People won’t forget about him; I just want to make sure I nudge their memory.”
Parkinson honours his idol with a tribute show featuring songs You Can Leave Your Hat On, Cry Me a River and The Letter.
“I’ve been a fan from day one and people see us as very similar sort of acts,” he said.
“We’ve been doing the show and people have come back two or three times: they drive hundreds of kilometres to see us so I think there’s a big audience out there for Joe Cocker and people are liking the idea of me doing it.”
Parkinson remembers hearing Cocker the first time.
“The song was With A Little Help From My Friends by The Beatles and it blew me away because at the time we were doing very well in Melbourne with my band, Doug Parkinson in Focus, and we had a hit with Dear Prudence, another Beatles song,” he said.
“I heard his interpretation of their song and thought it was very clever: he made a really poppy little song that Ringo sang, valid in its own right, and turned it into this wonderful big soulful almost-anthem.”
Parkinson, from hit musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Grease, ventured into music at 12 when his father bought a reel-to-reel tape recorder.
“One day Dad left it out and I switched it on and sang into the microphone and it scared the hell out of me because I had no idea my voice sounded that way,” he said.
“In my early teenage years, I asked for a guitar for Christmas and got one and then in those days when you went to school the only way to meet girls was to sing in the choir, so I went to church and before I knew it I was singing in all these different choirs.
“I’ve been really lucky because in the beginning I was a pop star for two years and had hit records and kids were screaming and pulling us off stage but after that, as it always happens, they looked for the next big thing. At 21 I was almost unemployable and it was theatre that sustained me all those 30 years.”
Community Newspaper Group has 10 double passes to give away to Doug Parkinson Honours Joe Cocker at Crown Theatre Perth on May 27. Enter here by 10am, May 12.
What: Doug Parkinson Honours Joe Cocker
When and where: Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, May 25 and Crown Theatre Perth, May 27
Tickets: www.manpac.com.au and www.ticketmaster.com.au