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

8 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


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

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha Louise. I was wondering…


  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.


  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!


  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. ☺


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