MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel’s Inspiring Tribute To Rock Icon Joe Cocker at Madison Square Garden


On August 28th, 2019, I had the opportunity to bear witness to a live Billy Joel Concert in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

It was a personal dream come true for me and the experience can be described in one word : EPIC.

From Billy Joel’s sensational musical ability, surrounded by his fantastic backup musicians and vocalists, to the creative and professional vision of his audio and visual crew, this concert was one for the musical history books.

I will be adding a couple of more video clips in the coming days; however this article centres around his wonderful tribute to the legendary Joe Cocker.

During his introduction to this number, Billy Joel stated that it was a shame that Joe Cocker was never inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Therefore, since this summer has been focused on the 50th Anniversary Of Woodstock, he thought it was appropriate to feature a number from Joe Cocker’s music catalogue, which ultimately became the anthem for Woodstock.

That song was the Beatles‘ “With A Little Help From My Friends, written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Joe Cocker’s version became a hit single in 1968, a year before it would become the theme song for Woodstock.

Billy, his band, vocalists and audio/visual crew created a riveting and magical tribute that impacted everyone watching. It was – and here is that word again – EPIC.

Check out the video and prepared to be amazed. I watched the video once again before I published this article and was moved to tears all over again.

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

15 Responses to “MasterClass Monday: Billy Joel’s Inspiring Tribute To Rock Icon Joe Cocker at Madison Square Garden”

  1. I am so happy to hear this. I visited the Rock and Roll Hall if Fame in 2016 and was extremely disappointed to find that Joe Cocker had not been inducted before he died. Every year since, I always look to see if they have corrected their mistake. I am a huge Joe Cocker fan and one of my biggest disappointments was not ever seeing him in concert. Thanks so much for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My pleasure Louuse. If Billy Joel thinks you are good enough for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, then that is proof enough. Nice of him to salute Joe Cocker. Now we adopt a wait and see approach to see if this will make it happen

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  3. Oops! Lousse is actually Louise!!! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha Louise. I was wondering…

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  5. Oh, wow, oh, wow—I am so jealous! (Not that I want to have been there instead of you, it’s that I want to have been there also!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ReReader- it was a dream come true for me. My husband and I were celebrating our 50th Anniversary so Billy Joel and NYC was the perfect gift. You should go and see him. What a magnificent show! He is so talented.

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  7. Congratulations to you and your husband on your 50 years of marriage! That’a great achievement and something to cherish and be proud of. What a great way to celebrate with a trip to New York and a chance to see the legendary Billy Joel in concert. Looks like you had killer seats, BTW. Great memories, no doubt.

    I’ve never had the opportunity to see Billy Joel, but I did see Joe Cocker in 1972, as near as I can recall. This was the next tour after Mad Dogs and Englishmen. He was somewhat subdued that night because he had fallen off the stage the night before in Atlanta and broken a couple of ribs. It was still a great show. He remains one of my all time favorites with the unique ability to cover other people’s songs in his unique style, usually better than the original, and make the original artist like it better than their own version! In some cases the original was still getting radio air play at the time her covered it.

    In 2015, the Mad Dogs and Englishmen concert and album celebrated it’s 45th year. In celebration the Tedeschi Trucks Band brought together all of the surviving members of the MD&E band including Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge to name a few, and performed the entire album in a live concert as a tribute. Another one missed by myself, by I did see Tedeschi Trucks Band’s very next concert where they mixed in most of the majors songs.

    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t deserve to carry that prestigious name.

    Glad you had a great time and a memorable celebration of your 50th!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on your 50th wedding anniversary! What a wonderful way to celebrate! My husband and I will also be celebrating our 50th anniversary in December. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations to you and your husband as well Louise on your upcoming 50th anniversary! Hope you have a great celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much Gene. Nice to hear from you. 🌹

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  11. Congratulations to you as well Louise. A December 50th. And the holiday lights will be twinkling for you. What a great time to celebrate your 50th Anniversary 💕

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  12. How wonderful that you had the opportunity to see Joe Cocker. He really deserves his own special award, doesn’t he? Amazing voice, amazing artist.

    Thank you for your kind comments and best wishes. 🌹

    We did have great seats – behind the stage at Madison Square Gardens. Best seats in the house pretty much at a great price. Wish I was a couple of rows lower – but next tine.

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  13. Thank you for the anniversary congratulations, Roseanne and Gene. I’m looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Congrats Masterclass Lady on a real milestone in one’s life, 50 years of marriage. I always admire people that have been together that long. It’s becoming a very rare thing indeed.
    I’m so happy for you that you finally got to see Billy Joel live. He is my all time favorite pianist, songwriter, lyricist, and musician. I saw him 30 years ago in concert, and I have never forgotten that night. He did at least 2 encores, and the crowd was ready for more.
    If you ever have the chance you must search YouTube for the documentary on the Joel family, where Billy’s family history in Nazi Germany is discussed. This was filmed around the time he found out he has a half brother who is a renowned classical conductor in Europe. It is a moving historical record of the absolute atrocity of Nazi Germany and it’s impact to this day. If you are a Billy Joel fan it’s a must see.
    I understand he still is doing his residency at MSG and will continue till people stop showing up. I don’t think that will happen any time soon!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hey Vocabulary Mad. Thank you for your best wishes and informative comments. I will definitely check out this Billy Joel documentary. It sounds amazing and inspiring. Love him so much. Truly the best in the business. 🌹

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