Song Review: Joe Cocker – “When the Night Comes”

Normally, I don’t make two of these posts in one day. However, after hearing about the passing of Joe Cocker today at the age of 70 after a battle with lung cancer, I decided I’d go ahead and make a second post for the day.

“When the Night Comes” was released as a single for Joe’s 1989 album, One Night of Sin. The single peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. At first, it might seem strange that this song did so well in the late 1980s, but when you consider that at this point, viewers of The Wonder Years were hearing his voice every week with the show’s opening theme, “With a Little Help From My Friends,” it makes sense that he would have gotten radio airplay and recognition at that point in time.

I was 14 years old and in the ninth grade when this single was released, and I have to admit that at the time, the song didn’t do much for me. I didn’t know much about Joe Cocker at the time; the only thing I knew was his duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong,” which I heard on the radio when I was kid back in the early 1980s. But as I got older and started learning more about Joe Cocker and his music, I came to better appreciate “When the Night Comes.” I was watching the music video right before sitting down to write this post, and I was really impressed by Joe’s vocal performance on this song.

The music video is in black and white, which intercuts footage of Joe performing with various other images. It’s not an easy video to describe, but I have to say that visually, it works with the mood and feel of the song.

RIP Joe Cocker. Thank you for your years of music and sharing your talent with the world.


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