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The A-Team was created by writers and producers Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo at the behest of Brandon Tartikoff, NBC’s Entertainment president. Cannell was fired from ABC in the early 1980s, after failing to produce a hit show for the network, and was hired by NBC;
His first project was The A-Team. Brandon Tartikoff pitched the series to Cannell as a combination of The Dirty Dozen, Mission Impossible, The Magnificent Seven, Mad Max and Hill Street Blues, with “Mr. T driving the car”.
The A-Team was not generally expected to become a hit, although Stephen J. Cannell has said that George Peppard suggested it would be a huge hit “before we ever turned on a camera”.
The show became very popular; the first regular episode, which aired after Super Bowl XVII on January 30, 1983, reached 26.4% of the television audience, placing fourth in the top 10 Nielsen-rated shows.
The A-Team was always portrayed as acting on the side of good and helping the oppressed. Cannell was known for having a particular skill at capitalizing on momentary cultural trends, such as the helicopters, machine guns, cartoonish violence, and joyful militarism of this series, which are now recognizable as trademarks of popular entertainment in the 1980s as seen in the TV shows Magnum, P.I. and Airwolf as well as the films Rambo: First Blood Part II and Top Gun.
The show remains prominent in popular culture for its cartoonish, over-the-top violence (in which people were seldom seriously hurt), formulaic episodes, its characters’ ability to form weaponry and vehicles out of old parts, and its distinctive theme tune.
The show boosted the career of Mr. T, who portrayed the character of B. A. Baracus, around whom the show was initially conceived. Some of the show’s catchphrases, such as “I love it when a plan comes together”, “Hannibal’s on the jazz”, and “I ain’t gettin’ on no plane!” have also made their way onto T-shirts and other merchandise.
The show’s name comes from the “A-Teams”, the nickname coined for U.S. Special Forces’ Operational Detachments Alpha (ODA) during the Vietnam War, although this connection was never referenced on-screen.
In a 2003 Yahoo! survey of 1,000 television viewers, The A-Team was voted the one “oldie” television show viewers would most like to see revived, beating out such popular television series from the 1980s as The Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider.
“In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… the A-Team.”
The A-Team is a naturally episodic show, with few overarching stories, except the characters’ continuing motivation to clear their names, with few references to events in past episodes and a recognizable and steady episode structure.
In describing the ratings drop that occurred during the show’s fourth season, reviewer Gold Burt points to this structure as being a leading cause for the decreased popularity “because the same basic plot had been used over and over again for the past four seasons with the same predictable outcome”.
Similarly, reporter Adrian Lee called the plots “stunningly simple” in a 2006 article for The Express (UK newspaper), citing such recurring elements “as BA’s fear of flying, and outlandish finales when the team fashioned weapons from household items”.
The show became emblematic of this kind of “fit-for-TV warfare” due to its depiction of high-octane combat scenes, with lethal weapons, wherein the participants (with the notable exception of General Fulbright) are never killed and rarely seriously injured (see also On-screen violence section).
As the television ratings of The A-Team fell dramatically during the fourth season, the format was changed for the show’s final season in 1986–87 in a bid to win back viewers.
After years on the run from the authorities, the A-Team is finally apprehended by the military. General Hunt Stockwell, a mysterious CIA operative played by Robert Vaughn, propositions them to work for him, whereupon he will arrange for their pardons upon successful completion of several suicide missions. In order to do so, the A-Team must first escape from their captivity.
With the help of a new character, Frankie “Dishpan Man” Santana, Stockwell fakes their deaths before a military firing squad. The new status of the A-Team, no longer working for themselves, remained for the duration of the fifth season while Eddie Velez and Robert Vaughn received star billing along with the principal cast.
The missions that the team had to perform in season five were somewhat reminiscent of Mission: Impossible, and based more around political espionage than beating local thugs, also usually taking place in foreign countries, including successfully overthrowing an island dictator, the rescue of a scientist from East Germany, and recovering top secret Star Wars defense information from Soviet hands.
These changes proved unsuccessful with viewers, however, and ratings continued to decline. Only 13 episodes aired in the fifth season. In what was supposed to be the final episode, “The Grey Team” (although “Without Reservations” was broadcast on NBC as the last first-run episode in March 1987), Hannibal, after being misled by Stockwell one time too many, tells him that the team will no longer work for him.
At the end, the team discusses what they were going to do if they get their pardon, and it is implied that they would continue doing what they were doing as the A-Team. The character of Howling Mad Murdock can be seen in the final scene wearing a T-shirt that says, “fini”.
During the Vietnam War, the A-Team were members of the 5th Special Forces Group (see Season 1, Episode 10, “West Coast Turnaround”).
In Season 2, Episode 4, “Bad Time on the Border”, Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith, portrayed by George Peppard, indicated that the A-Team were “ex–Green Berets”.
During the Vietnam War, the A-Team’s commanding officer, Colonel Morrison, gave them orders to rob the Bank of Hanoi to help bring the war to an end. They succeeded in their mission, but on their return to base four days after the end of the war, they discovered that Morrison had been killed by the Viet Cong, and that his headquarters had been burned to the ground.
This meant that the proof that the A-Team members were acting under orders had been destroyed. They were arrested, and imprisoned at Fort Bragg, from which they quickly escaped before standing trial.
The origin of the A-Team is directly linked to the Vietnam War, during which the team formed.
The show’s introduction in the first four seasons mentions this, accompanied by images of soldiers coming out of a helicopter in an area resembling a forest or jungle.
Besides this, The A-Team would occasionally feature an episode in which the team came across an old ally or enemy from those war days.
For example, the first season’s final episode “A Nice Place To Visit” revolved around the team traveling to a small town to honor a fallen comrade and end up avenging his death, and in season two’s “Recipe For Heavy Bread”, a chance encounter leads the team to meet both the POW cook who helped them during the war, and the American officer who sold his unit out.
An article in the New Statesman (UK) published shortly after the premiere of The A-Team in the United Kingdom, also pointed out The A-Team’s connection to the Vietnam War, characterizing it as the representation of the idealization of the Vietnam War, and an example of the war slowly becoming accepted and assimilated into American culture.
One of the team’s primary antagonists, Col. Roderick Decker (Lance LeGault), had his past linked back to the Vietnam War, in which he and Hannibal had come to fisticuffs in “the DOOM Club” (Da Nang Open Officers’ Mess).
At other times, members of the team would refer back to a certain tactic used during the War, which would be relevant to the team’s present predicament. Often, Hannibal would refer to such a tactic, after which the other members of the team would complain about its failure during the War. This was also used to refer to some of Face’s past accomplishments in scamming items for the team, such as in the first season episode “Holiday In The Hills”, in which Murdock fondly remembers Face being able to secure a ’53 Cadillac while in the Vietnam jungle.
The team’s ties to the Vietnam War were referenced again in the fourth season finale, “The Sound of Thunder”, in which the team is introduced to Tia (Tia Carrere), a war orphan and daughter of fourth season antagonist General Fulbright. Returning to Vietnam, Fulbright is shot in the back and gives his last words as he dies.
The 2006 documentary Bring Back The A-Team joked that the scene lasted seven and a half minutes, but his death actually took a little over a minute. His murderer, a Vietnamese colonel, is killed in retaliation. Tia then returns with the team to the United States (see also: casting).
This episode is notable for having one of the show’s few truly serious dramatic moments, with each team member privately reminiscing on their war experiences, intercut with news footage from the war with Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction playing in the background.
The show’s ties to the Vietnam War are fully dealt with in the opening arc of the fifth season, dubbed “The Revolution”/”The Court-Martial”, in which the team is finally court-martialed for the robbery of the bank of Hanoi.
The character of Roderick Decker makes a return on the witness stand, and various newly introduced characters from the A-Team’s past also make appearances. The team, after a string of setbacks, decides to plead guilty to the crime and they are sentenced to be executed. They escape this fate and come to work for a General Hunt Stockwell, leading into the remainder of the fifth season.
The A-Team revolves around the four members of a former commando outfit, now mercenaries.
Their leader is Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard), whose plans tend to be unorthodox but effective.
Lieutenant Templeton Peck (Dirk Benedict; Tim Dunigan appeared as Templeton Peck in the pilot), usually called “Face” or “Faceman”, is a smooth-talking con man who serves as the team’s appropriator of vehicles and other useful items, as well as the team’s second-in-command.
The team’s pilot is Captain H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock (Dwight Schultz), who has been declared insane and lives in a Veterans’ Administration mental institution for the show’s first four seasons.
Finally, there is the team’s strong man, mechanic and Sergeant First Class Bosco Albert “B.A.”, or “Bad Attitude”, Baracus (Mr. T).
It is unclear to which U.S. Army unit the four belonged. A patch on Hannibal’s uniform in the season 1 episode “A Nice Place To Visit” indicates they belonged to the 101st Airborne division in Vietnam, but the patch was replaced by the 1st Air Cavalry Division patch in the Season 5 episode “Trial by Fire”. In the Season 1 episode “West Coast Turnaround”, Hannibal stated they were with the 5th Special Forces Group.
Then, in Season 2 episode “Bad Time on the Border”, Hannibal refers to his friends as “ex-Green Berets”. Though the name they have adopted comes from the “A-Teams”, the nickname coined for Special Forces Operational Detachments Alpha, these detachments usually consisted of twelve members; whether the four were considered a “detachment” of their own or had once had eight compatriots who were killed in action was never revealed.
For its first season and the first half of the second season, the team was assisted by reporter Amy Amanda Allen (Melinda Culea).
In the second half of the second season, Allen was replaced by fellow reporter Tawnia Baker (Marla Heasley). The character of Tia (Tia Carrere), a Vietnam war orphan now living in the United States, was meant to join the Team in the fifth season, but she was replaced by Frankie Santana (Eddie Velez), who served as the team’s special effects expert. Velez was added to the opening credits of the fifth season after its second episode.
During their adventures, the A-Team was constantly met by opposition from the Military Police. In the show’s first season, the MPs were led by Colonel Francis Lynch (William Lucking), but he was replaced for the second, third, and earlier fourth season by Colonel Roderick Decker (Lance LeGault) and his aide Captain Crane (Carl Franklin).
Lynch returned for one episode in the show’s third season (“Showdown!”) but was not seen after. Decker was also briefly replaced by a Colonel Briggs (Charles Napier) in the third season for one episode (“Fire!”) when LeGault was unavailable, but returned shortly after. For the latter portion of the show’s fourth season, the team was hunted by General Harlan “Bull” Fulbright (Jack Ging), who would later hire the A-Team to find Tia in the season four finale, during which Fulbright was killed.
The fifth season introduced General Hunt Stockwell (Robert Vaughn) who, while serving as the team’s primary antagonist, was also the team’s boss and joined them on several missions. He was often assisted by Carla (Judith Ledford, sometimes credited as Judy Ledford).
John “Hannibal” Smith: Master of Disguise. His most used disguise (although not onscreen) is Mr. Lee, the dry cleaner. This is one of the final parts of the client screening process, as he tells the client where to go in order to make full contact with the A-Team. He dresses most often in a white safari jacket and black leather gloves. He also is constantly seen smoking a cigar. Hannibal carries either a Browning Hi-Power, Colt M1911A1 or a Smith & Wesson Model 39 as a sidearm, most often “Mexican Carried” although he uses a holster when on missions. His catchphrase is “I love it when a plan comes together”. Often said, usually by B.A., to be “on the jazz” when in the fury of completing a mission.
Templeton “Faceman” Peck: Master of the Persuasive Arts. The team’s scrounger, he can get virtually anything he sets his mind to, usually exploiting women with sympathy-appeal and flirtation. However, he is not without integrity, as stated by Murdock in the episode “Family Reunion”: “He would rip the shirt off his back for you, and then scam one for himself.” Faceman is also the A-Team’s accountant. He dresses suavely, often appearing in suits. Faceman carries a Colt Lawman Mk III revolver for protection, and drives a white Corvette with orange trim.
Bosco Albert “B.A.” (Bad Attitude) Baracus: The muscle for the A-Team, Able to perform amazing feats of strength. He is also the team’s mechanic. B.A. affects a dislike for Murdock, calling him a “crazy fool”, but his true feelings of friendship are revealed when he prevents Murdock from drowning in his desire to live like a fish. B.A. also has a deep fear of flying, and the others usually have to trick and/or knock him out in order to get him on a plane.
It is very rare that B.A is awake while flying, and even rarer for him actually to consent to it. However, he then goes into a catatonic state. B.A generally wears overalls and leopard or tiger print shirts in the early seasons, then later wears a green jumpsuit in the later seasons.
He is almost always seen with about 50 pounds of gold necklaces and rings on every finger, and also wears a weightlifting belt. Baracus’s hair is always styled in a mohawk-like cut. He drives a customized black GMC van, which is the team’s usual mode of transport.
H.M “Howling Mad” Murdock: The A-Team’s pilot, he can fly any kind of aircraft with extreme precision. However, due to a helicopter crash in Vietnam, Murdock apparently went insane. He lives in a Veterans’ Hospital in the mental wing. Whenever the rest of the team requires a pilot, they have to break him out of the hospital, generally using Faceman to do so. In Seasons 1-4, Murdock has a different pet, imaginary friend, or persona in each episode. Whenever one of his pets or imaginary friends is killed by an enemy, Murdock snaps and takes revenge (but never kills).
Many times, when B.A is mad at Murdock for being crazy, Hannibal will side with Murdock in a sympathetic way. Once he is discharged from the hospital in Season 5, Murdock has a different job each episode. Essentially, B.A. and Murdock get on each other’s nerves. Murdock usually wears a leather flight jacket, a baseball cap, and basketball sneakers.
Although the part of Face was written by Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell with Dirk Benedict in mind, NBC insisted that the part should be played by another actor, instead.
Therefore, in the pilot, Face was portrayed by Tim Dunigan, who was later replaced by Dirk Benedict, with the comment that Dunigan was “too tall and too young”.
According to Dunigan: “I look even younger on camera than I am. So it was difficult to accept me as a veteran of the Vietnam War, which ended when I was a sophomore in high school.”
Carrere was intended to join the principal cast of the show in its fifth season after appearing in the season four finale, providing a tie to the team’s inception during the war. Unfortunately for this plan, Carrere was under contract to General Hospital, which prevented her from joining The A-Team. Her character was abruptly dropped as a result.
According to Mr. T’s account in Bring Back… The A-Team in 2006, the role of B. A. Baracus was written specifically for him. This is corroborated by Stephen J. Cannell’s own account of the initial concept proposed by Tartikoff.
James Coburn, who co-starred in The Magnificent Seven, was considered for the role of Hannibal in The A-Team, while George Peppard (Hannibal) was the original consideration for the role of Vin (played by Steve McQueen instead) in The Magnificent Seven.
Robert Vaughn, of course, actually appeared in the film.
According to Dirk Benedict, Robert Vaughn was actually added to the cast in season 5 because of his friendship with the notoriously difficult George Peppard. It was hoped that Vaughn would help ease worsening tensions between Peppard and Mr. T.
L’Agence tous risques (The A-Team) est une série télévisée américaine en 98 épisodes de 45 minutes, créée par Frank Lupo et Stephen J. Cannell, diffusée entre le 23 janvier 19831 et le 8 mars 1987 sur le réseau NBC.
En France, les saisons 1 à 4 ont été diffusées à partir du 1er juillet 1984 sur TF12. Diffusion de la saison 5 inédite du 5 février 19963 au 16 février 19964 sur TF1. Rediffusion intégrale du 6 juillet 20025 au 8 mai 20046 sur M6. Puis en 20037 sur 13e rue, de juin 2010 à août 2013 sur TMC ainsi qu’à partir du 16 décembre 2013 jusqu’en juillet 2014 sur HD1 et depuis le 19 février 2015 sur Paris Première.
Le 16 juin 2010, un film du même nom est commercialisé par 20th Century Fox8.
Pendant la guerre du Viêt Nam, le chef hiérarchique de l’Agence tous risque, le général Morrison, leur a donné l’ordre de voler la banque de Hanoï afin de précipiter la fin de la guerre. La mission est un succès, mais quatre jours après la fin de la guerre, ils retrouvent le général assassiné par les Viet Cong, le quartier général étant entièrement brûlé. Par conséquent, aucune preuve indiquant que l’Agence tous risques agissait sur ordre n’existe. Les membres passent alors devant une cour de justice militaire, celle-ci les condamnant à la prison. Incarcérés aux États-Unis, ils s’évadent rapidement et mènent désormais une vie de mercenaires au service « de la veuve et de l’orphelin », combattant les injustices locales.
George Peppard : colonel John « Hannibal » Smith
Dirk Benedict : lieutenant Peck « Futé » Templeton (VO : « Face ») (à partir de l’épisode 2)
Dwight Schultz : capitaine Henry « Looping » Murdock (VO : « Howling Mad »)
Mister T. : sergent Bosco Albert « Barracuda » Baracus (VO : « B. A. »
Melinda Culea : Amy Amanda « Triple A » Allen (saisons 1 et 2)
Robert Vaughn : général Hunt Stockwell (saison 5)
Eddie Velez : Frankie Santana (saison 5)
Tim Dunigan : lieutenant Templeton « Futé » Peck (VO : « Face ») (épisode pilote uniquement)
L’Agence tous risques a été créée par les producteurs américains Stephen J. Cannell et Frank Lupo à la demande du président du réseau NBC, Brandon Tartikoff.
Stephen J. Cannell a été renvoyé de chez ABC au début des années 1980, après avoir échoué dans sa tentative de produire une émission à succès pour la chaîne. Cannell est engagé à la NBC et son premier projet était de créer L’Agence tous risques.
Brandon Tartikoff considère l’émission comme un mélange de Les Douze Salopards, Mission Impossible, Les Sept Mercenaires, Mad Max et Capitaine Furillo, avec « Mr. T conduisant l’engin. »
L’Agence tous risques n’était, au départ, pas considérée comme une future série à succès, mais Stephen J. Cannell explique que George Peppard était persuadé qu’elle deviendrait un succès « avant même que l’on allume la caméra »13. L’émission se popularise ; le premier épisode, diffusée juste après le Super Bowl XVII le 30 janvier 1983, atteint 26,4 % de l’audience sur la chaîne, le classant ainsi quatrième sur l’Échelle de Nielsen.
Le titre original de la série vient des « Special Forces » (SF, « forces spéciales »), que les américains surnomment A-Teams et populairement connues sous le surnom des « bérets verts » (green berets), qui sont une des forces spéciales de l’US Army.
Spécialisées dans la guerre non conventionnelle, les actions commandos et la formation de troupes alliées, elles ont, depuis leur création au début des années 1950, été engagées dans la plupart des conflits impliquant les États-Unis.
La série s’inscrit dans un contexte particulier aux États-Unis, qui voit apparaître divers avatars de vétérans de la guerre du Viêt Nam, comme le détective privé Thomas Magnum ou le sergent T.J. Hooker.
Rapatriés après la fin officielle de la guerre, en 1975, de très nombreux vétérans américains ont éprouvé de grandes difficultés à se réintégrer dans une société qui ne les reconnaissait plus.
D’une part, les traumatismes physiques et psychologiques des soldats les rendaient extrêmement fragiles, d’autre part, à la frustration patriotique de la population s’est ajouté le rejet de soldats dont l’opinion publique découvrit brusquement les techniques de combat.
En effet, si l’Amérique moyenne soutenait la guerre au début des années 1960, dans un contexte de guerre froide, il en allait tout autrement quinze ans plus tard.
Les milliers de morts et de blessés dans le camp américain ne trouvaient plus aucun sens dans l’opinion publique, tandis que de nombreux journalistes révélaient la nature des combats, opposant des soldats lourdement armés à des combattants mêlés à la population.
Des photos d’enfants brûlés au napalm ont tôt fait de retourner le peuple américain contre une guerre jugée mal préparée, idéologiquement discutée et grande consommatrice d’hommes et d’argent public.
Dans ce contexte d’après-guerre, la société américaine rejette les vétérans du Viêt Nam, une attitude illustrée notamment par la chanson Born in the USA de Bruce Springsteen, le film Rambo ou plus tard le film Né un 4 juillet avec Tom Cruise.
L’Agence tous risques en est une autre illustration, puisque des soldats ayant agi sur ordre de la hiérarchie se retrouvent face à la justice de leur pays, pour un délit qu’ils n’ont commis que dans le cadre de leur fonction.
Évadés, ils seront pourchassés pour ce délit, ne parvenant pas à faire reconnaître par le département de la Défense le contexte dans lequel les faits reprochés ont été commis.
Par ailleurs, d’un point de vue plus strictement formel, la série marque une évolution (ou du moins y participe) dans la structure des personnages. Autrefois seul, tel un Colombo ou une Arabesque, le héros se multiplie, ici par quatre, offrant plus de possibilités d’identification au spectateur.
Chaque personnage est nettement marqué dans ses singularités, l’ensemble formant une équipe hétérogène mais néanmoins soudée, où tous les grands types de caractères se reconnaîtront.
Cette formule d’écriture des séries coexistera néanmoins avec d’autres personnages isolés, tels Magnum ou MacGyver, mais elle continuera de se développer pour atteindre un casting étendu dans des séries comparable à Jump Street, Beverly Hills ou Urgences. Dans ces derniers exemples, il est possible de voir apparaître une nébuleuse de personnages, chacun développant une histoire parallèle ou imbriquée avec celle des autres protagonistes.
De multiples spectateurs peuvent désormais s’identifier à un personnage en particulier, peu importe leur race, sexe, religion ou orientation sexuelle dans certains cas.
Enfin, pour les séries plus récentes, une telle évolution correspond peut-être aussi aux plans de carrière des acteurs, qui profitent des séries pour développer une carrière au cinéma (tels Johnny Depp) ou pas (Jason Priestley).
Dans une telle perspective, les producteurs de la série ne peuvent se permettre d’interrompre une saison à cause du départ du rôle-titre. La multiplication des héros offre une solution à ce problème, puisqu’une série peut se passer d’un personnage dont l’histoire dira qu’il est parti à l’étranger, décédé ou quoi que ce soit qui explique son absence au générique.
Les épisodes sont en général construits sur des schémas très semblables. Le début de l’épisode correspond à la prise de contact entre un client qui est terrorisé par une association de malfaiteurs ou un potentat local.
La manière classique de cette rencontre est que le client entre en contact alors qu’Hannibal Smith est déguisé, afin de vérifier que le client n’est pas en réalité à la solde des militaires.
Dans d’autres cas, l’Agence est en train de rouler et tombe sur quelqu’un qui a besoin d’aide. La plupart du temps, les honoraires pour l’intervention de l’Agence ne sont soit pas demandés, soit pas perçus ou sont récupérés d’une autre manière (en prélevant sur l’argent des malfaiteurs par exemple).
Généralement, Looping n’est pas présent dans l’équipe car il est interné dans un hôpital psychiatrique, et l’Agence utilise en général Futé pour aller le récupérer grâce à divers stratagèmes.
Ou alors il s’évade de lui-même pour aller rejoindre l’Agence. Dans beaucoup d’épisodes, il aime avoir un objet ou un animal qui ne le quitte pas jusqu’à la fin, tel qu’un cafard, un homard, une chaussette, avec lequel il agace généralement Barracuda avec ses facéties.
Ensuite, l’Agence qui doit se rendre sur le lieu des crimes et délits des malfaiteurs emprunte parfois l’avion, ce que Barracuda déteste particulièrement auquel cas ils doivent l’endormir.
Une fois sur les lieux, il y a souvent une annonce d’Hannibal aux malfaiteurs indiquant qu’ils doivent désormais compter avec eux. Cela produit en général une bagarre sans armes que l’Agence gagne facilement, tout en laissant curieusement leurs ennemis s’échapper.
Peut-être dans l’espoir que ces derniers, impressionnés par les membres de l’Agence, abandonnent leurs entreprises malhonnêtes et s’en aillent.
Les antagonistes reviennent et au lieu de tuer les membres de l’Agence, les laissent (souvent, sans même les ligoter et/ou les bâillonner) dans une grange, un garage ou un entrepôt, voire une mine.
Privés de leurs armes, ils ont néanmoins à leur disposition du matériel tel que de l’acétylène, de la poudre, des tôles et des tubes d’acier permettant à Barracuda de bricoler des armes ou de refaire fonctionner un engin (voiture, tracteur…) ce qui leur permet de s’échapper, et d’arriver à arrêter les malfaiteurs.
Dans d’autres cas, Looping arrive à prendre le contrôle d’un hélicoptère, souvent sous le nez de son propriétaire, ce qui permet de constituer un appui aérien non négligeable.
L’arrestation finale des méchants se fait parfois par un combat à mains nues, qui oppose toujours les méchants à l’agence en respectant la hiérarchie (Hannibal contre le chef de l’équipe, Barracuda contre le noir ou le plus costaud des méchants), ou alors au terme d’une des innombrables poursuites homériques de la série, qui permettent à chaque fois d’admirer les talents de pilote de Barracuda au volant de sa camionnette ou d’un bolide étrange bricolé par l’agence.
Ils doivent souvent partir rapidement après l’arrestation des méchants pour échapper aux colonels Lynch ou Decker. Dans tous les cas, il n’y a en général, même avec l’utilisation d’armes de guerres mortelles, pas de personnes qui soient tuées, voire sérieusement blessées.
La plupart du temps, les ennemis sont sonnés, ou très légèrement blessés (une douleur à un membre ou à la tête). Il n’y a eu, en tout et pour tout, que deux morts dans toute la série. Cette série est devenue pour cette raison un genre à part entière dans la télévision, puisque c’est la première série violente à avoir été diffusée aux heures de grande écoute aux États-Unis justement en raison de l’absence, ou presque, de morts.
À ce titre, la série apparaît quelquefois peu crédible, notamment dans l’épisode Tirez sur le Cheik, où l’hélicoptère des méchants s’écrase contre une falaise et que leurs occupants en ressortent indemnes.
L’avant-dernière saison perdant en popularité[réf. nécessaire], le format de la série a été changé pour la dernière saison (1986-1987).
Après avoir échappé pendant des années aux militaires, l’Agence tous risques est finalement arrêtée. Ils ont le choix entre retourner en prison, être exécutés ou être affectés à une agence gouvernementale dirigée par le général Hunt Stockwell qui réalise des missions secrètes. Ils choisissent de travailler avec Stockwell.
Selon le producteur Stephen J. Cannell, la série s’est arrêtée au bout de cinq ans parce qu’elle devenait de plus en plus chère à produire. Qui plus est, les acteurs George Peppard, Dirk Benedict et Mr. T étaient de plus en plus démotivés (ce dernier avait d’ailleurs sa propre série, de 1988 à 1990).
L’Agence tous risques bénéficie de génériques différents à chaque saison, avec une accroche commune : « Il y a dix ans (en 1972), une unité de commando d’élite stationnée au Viêt Nam fut envoyée en prison par un tribunal militaire, pour un crime qu’ils n’avaient pas commis.
Ces hommes s’évadèrent rapidement de leur prison militaire de haute sécurité, se réfugiant dans les bas-fonds de Los Angeles. Aujourd’hui, encore recherchés par le gouvernement, ils fuient encore et toujours devant leurs poursuivants et survivent comme des mercenaires.
Si vous avez un problème, si vous êtes seul, si personne ne peut vous aider, si vous êtes acculé, si la justice ne peut plus rien pour vous, il vous reste un recours, un seul : l’Agence tous risques. »
Plus tard, au cours de la saison 2, l’accroche fut modifiée : « accusés d’un vol qu’ils n’ont pas commis, n’ayant aucun moyen d’en faire la preuve, ils fuient sans cesse devant leurs poursuivants. Pour subsister, ils emploient leurs compétences. Si la loi ne peut plus rien pour vous, il vous reste un recours, un seul : l’Agence tous risques. »
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Originally performing gospel music at local churches, the group billed themselves as The Four Star Quartet, and later The Kingsmen.
In 1963, when the song “Louie, Louie” by the garage rock band also called The Kingsmen became famous, the group elected to bill themselves as The Statler Brothers. Despite the name, only two members of the group (Don and Harold Reid) are actual brothers and none have the surname of Statler.
The band, in fact, named themselves after a brand of facial tissue they had noticed in a hotel room (they joked that they could have turned out to be the Kleenex Brothers).
Don Reid sang lead; Harold Reid, Don’s older brother, sang bass; Phil Balsley sang baritone; and Lew DeWitt sang tenor and was the guitarist of the Statlers before being replaced by Jimmy Fortune in 1983 due to DeWitt’s ill health.
DeWitt died on August 15, 1990, of heart and kidney disease, stemming from complications of Crohn’s disease.
The band’s style was closely linked to their gospel roots. “We took gospel harmonies,” said Harold Reid, “and put them over in country music.”
The group remained closely tied to their gospel roots, with a majority of their records containing at least one gospel song. They produced several albums containing only gospel music and recorded a tribute song to the Blackwood Brothers, who influenced their music. The Statler Brothers also wrote a tribute song to Johnny Cash, who discovered them. The song was called “We Got Paid by Cash”, and it reminisces about their time with Cash.
Very early on in the group’s history, before the group named themselves “The Statler Brothers,” Joe McDorman was their original lead singer.
The Statler Brothers started their career at a performance at Lyndhurst Methodist Church near their hometown of Staunton.
In 1964, they started to become Johnny Cash’s backing vocal for an 8 1⁄2-year run as his opening act.
This period of their career was memorialized in their song “We Got Paid by Cash”. They were featured regularly on Cash’s hit show The Johnny Cash Show on ABC. The show ran from 1969-1971. Due to their expanding career the Statlers left Cash’s entourage around the mid 1970s to pursue their own careers. They left Cash on good terms.
Two of their best-known songs are “Flowers on the Wall”, their first major hit that was composed and written by Lew DeWitt, and the socially conscious “Bed of Rose’s”. In the 1980s, the Statlers were a mainstay on The Nashville Network (TNN), where their videos were shown regularly. Also on TNN, between 1991 and 1998, they hosted their own show, The Statler Brothers Show, a weekly variety show which was the channel’s top-rated program for its entire run.
Their songs have been featured on several film soundtracks. These range from “Charlotte’s Web” in Smokey and the Bandit II, to “Flowers on the Wall” in the crime dramedy Pulp Fiction.
Throughout their career, much of their appeal was related to their incorporation of comedy and parody into their musical act, thanks in large part to the humorous talent of group member Harold Reid; they were frequently nominated for awards for their comedy as well as their singing. They recorded two comedy albums as Lester “Roadhog” Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys, and one-half of one side of the album Country Music Then and Now was devoted to satirizing small-town radio stations’ Saturday morning shows.
They earned the number one spot on the Billboard chart four times: for “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?” in 1978; “Elizabeth” in 1984; and in 1985, “My Only Love” and “Too Much on My Heart”.
Since forming, the Statler Brothers have released over 40 albums.
The Statler Brothers purchased and renovated their former elementary school in Staunton, and occupied the complex for several years.
The complex consisted of offices for the group, a small museum and auditorium, as well as an adjacent building which served as office space for unrelated businesses. A garage was built to store the two tour buses that the group had used for many years. The group has since sold the building which has been converted back into a school.
In 1970, the group began performing at an annual Independence Day festival in Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton. The event, known as “Happy Birthday USA”, lasted for 25 years and included many country music figures including Mel Tillis, Charley Pride and many others. The event drew as many as 100,000 fans each year. The group also honored their hometown with the song “Staunton, Virginia” on their 1973 album Do You Love Me Tonight.
The group disbanded and retired after completing a farewell tour on October 26, 2002. Balsley and the Reid brothers continue to reside in Staunton, while Fortune relocated to Nashville, where he is continuing his music career as a solo artist. He has released three albums as a soloist. The Statlers continue to be one of the most awarded acts in the history of country music.
Since the Statlers’ retirement in 2002, Don Reid has pursued a second career as an author. He authored or co-authored three books: Heroes and Outlaws of the Bible, Sunday Morning Memories, and You’ll Know It’s Christmas When…. He and brother Harold co-wrote a history of the Statler Brothers titled Random Memories released in February 2008.
Wil and Langdon Reid, the sons of Harold and Don respectively, formed a duo in the 1990s, originally performing under the name Grandstaff. In 2007, Grandstaff recorded “The Statler Brothers Song”, a tribute song to the Statler Brothers.
In an interview on Nashville’s WSM (AM) on March 25, 2010, Wil Reid said that they decided to change their name to Wilson Fairchild after many people got the name “Grandstaff” wrong during introductions. The name comes from “Wilson”, Wil’s middle name, and “Fairchild”, Langdon’s middle name.
Les Statler Brothers sont un groupe de musique country américain qui s’est formé en 1955 dans la ville de Staunton en Virginie.
Originellement chanteurs de gospel dans les églises de leur état, les membres du groupe se sont ensuite attribué le surnom de « Four Stars » (Quatre étoiles) puis de Kingsmen.
Mais étant donné que le groupe The Kingsmen portait déjà ce nom, le groupe prit finalement le nom de Statler Brothers.
Le groupe avoua par la suite avoir pris ce nom en référence à une marque de mouchoirs. En plaisantant, ils expliquèrent même qu’ils auraient tout aussi bien pu s’appeler les Kleenex Brothers.
Le groupe se compose bel et bien de deux frères, Don Reid (soliste) et Harold Reid (basse).
Les deux autres membres sont le baryton Phil Balsley et le tenor Jimmy Fortune, qui a remplacé Lew DeWitt, l’un des fondateurs du groupe, lorsqu’il prit sa retraite, en 1982, afin de soigner la Maladie de Crohn, dont il souffrait depuis son adolescence, et dont les complications provoquèrent son décès en 1990.
Le style musical du groupe est resté tout au long de sa carrière très proche de ses racines de gospel. Ainsi, Harold Reid expliqua que le groupe utilisa « les mélodies du gospel pour les transposer dans la musique country ».
Ainsi, la plupart des albums proposent des titres issus du gospel. Certains albums reposaient même intégralement sur du gospel.
Les chansons des Statler Brothers sont apparues dans de nombreuses bandes originales de films ou de jeux vidéo. Ainsi, la chanson Flowers on the wall apparaît dans Pulp Fiction de Quentin Tarantino, et les chansons Bed of Roses et New York City apparaissent dans le jeu vidéo Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, sur la station K-Rose.
La carrière du groupe a duré 47 ans, depuis 1955 jusqu’en 2002, où Don Reid, Harold Reid et Phil Balsley ont annoncé leur retraite au cours d’une tournée d’adieu. Jimmy Fortune (en) continue depuis sa carrière en solo.
La carrière du groupe a débuté dans la Lynhurst Methodist Church située dans leur ville d’origine, Staunton.
En 1963 débuta une série de huit années de premières parties dans les concerts de Johnny Cash. Cette première partie de carrière fut immortalisée dans leur chanson We were paid by cash (littéralement Nous étions payés cash).
Deux de leurs chansons les plus célèbres sont Flowers on the wall, leur premier gros titre, et Bed of Roses qui firent tous deux l’objet d’un album portant le même nom.
Dans les années 1980, les Statlers comptèrent parmi les groupes les plus importants de la chaîne câblée The Nashville Network où leurs vidéos étaient régulièrement diffusées. Entre 1991 et 1998, ils animèrent même leur propre émission, le The Statler Brothers Show, diffusé quotidiennement sur le TTN.
Le programme devint dès lors l’émission la plus regardée de l’émission durant toute la durée de sa diffusion.
Tout au long de leur carrière, leur succès reposa tant sur leurs talents musicaux que sur leur talent pour la comédie et la parodie qu’ils mettaient en œuvres lorsqu’ils chantaient.
Ils étaient ainsi souvent nominés pour des récompenses de comédiens, autant que de chanteurs. Deux de leurs albums, Lester Moran et Cadillac Cowboys se voulaient fondamentalement comiques, et la moitié de l’album Country Music Then and Now était consacré à une satire des émissions dominicales sur les petites radios locales.
Le groupe a atteint à quatre reprises la tête du Classement du Billboard avec leurs chansons Do You Know You Are My Sunshine? en 1978, Elizabeth en 1982, My Only Love en 1984, et Too Much on My Heart en 1985. Au cours de leur carrière, les Statler Brothers ont sorti plus de 40 albums.
La carrière des Statler Brothers a été auréolée de trois Grammy Award : ceux de Best New Country and Western Artist, de Best New Country Music Artist et de Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance en 1965.
Le 29 octobre 2007, cinq années après sa dernière tournée, le groupe a été officiellement intronisé au Gospel Music Hall of Fame de Nashville dans le Tennessee. Le 12 février 2008, l’entrée du groupe dans le Country Music Hall of Fame a été officiellement annoncée.
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Nous avons fredonné, chanté, entendu cette chanson interprétée par Maxime Leforestier..”C’est une maison bleue adossée à la colline”…
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CLICK TO LISTEN => JOHN LENNON
His cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968, and he performed the song live at Woodstock in 1969. His version also became the theme song for the TV series The Wonder Years. His 1975 hit single, “You Are So Beautiful”, reached number five in the US. Cocker is the recipient of several awards, including a 1983 Grammy Award for his US number one “Up Where We Belong”, a duet with Jennifer Warnes. In 1993 he was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male, and in 2008 he received an OBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music.
Cocker was ranked #97 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest singers list. Cocker was born on 20 May 1944 at 38 Tasker Road, Crookes, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire. He is the youngest son of a civil servant, Harold Cocker, and Madge Cocker. According to differing family stories, Cocker received his nickname of Joe either from playing a childhood game called “Cowboy Joe” or from a local window cleaner named Joe. Cocker’s main musical influences growing up were Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan. Cocker’s first experience singing in public was at age 12 when his elder brother Victor invited him on stage to sing during a gig of his skiffle group. In 1960, along with three friends, Cocker formed his first group, the Cavaliers. For the group’s first performance at a youth club, they were required to pay the price of admission before entering. The Cavaliers eventually broke up after a year and Cocker left school to become an apprentice gasfitter while simultaneously pursuing a career in music.
In 1961, under the stage name Vance Arnold, Cocker continued his career with a new group, Vance Arnold and the Avengers. The name was a combination of Vince Everett, Elvis Presley’s character in Jailhouse Rock, (which Cocker misheard as Vance) and country singer Eddy Arnold. The group mostly played in the pubs of Sheffield, performing covers of Chuck Berry and Ray Charles songs. In 1963, they booked their first significant gig when they supported the Rolling Stones atSheffield City Hall. In 1964, Cocker signed a recording contract as a solo act with Decca and released his first single, a cover of the Beatles’ “I’ll Cry Instead” (with Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page playing guitars).
Despite extensive promotion from Decca lauding his youth and working class roots, the record was a flop and his recording contract with Decca lapsed at the end of 1964. After Cocker recorded the single, he dropped his stage name and formed a new group, Joe Cocker’s Big Blues. There is only one known recording of Joe Cocker’s and Big Blues on an EP given out by Sheffield College during Rag Week and called Rag Goes Mad at the Mojo. It contained a cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “I’ve Been Trying” and a track of “Saved”. The Grease Band (1966–1969) In 1966, after a year-long hiatus from music, Cocker teamed up with Chris Stainton, whom he had met several years before, to form the Grease Band.The Grease Band was named after Cocker read an interview with jazz musician Jimmy Smith, where Smith described another musician as “having a lot of grease”.
Like the Avengers, Cocker’s group mostly played in pubs in and around Sheffield. The Grease Band came to the attention of Denny Cordell, the producer of Procol Harum, the Moody Blues and Georgie Fame. Cocker recorded the single “Marjorine” without the Grease Band for Cordell in a London studio. He then moved to London with Chris Stainton, and the Grease Band was dissolved. Cordell set Cocker up with a residency at the Marquee Club in London, and a “new” Grease Band was formed with Stainton and keyboardist Tommy Eyre. After minor success in the US with the single “Marjorine”, Cocker entered the big time with a groundbreaking rearrangement of “With a Little Help from My Friends”, another Beatles cover, which, many years later, was used as the opening theme for The Wonder Years.
The recording features lead guitar from Jimmy Page, drumming by BJ Wilson, backing vocals from Sue and Sunny, and Tommy Eyre on organ. The single made the Top Ten on the British charts, remaining there for thirteen weeks and eventually reaching number one, on 9 November 1968. It also reached number 68 on the US charts. The new touring line-up of Cocker’s Grease Band featured Henry McCullough on lead guitar, who would go on to briefly play with McCartney’s Wings. After touring the UK with the Who in autumn 1968 and Gene Pitney and Marmalade in early winter 1969, the Grease Band embarked on their first tour of the US in spring 1969. Cocker’s album With a Little Help from My Friends was released soon after their arrival and made number 35 on the American charts, eventually going gold. During his US tour, Cocker played at several large festivals, including the Newport Rock Festivaland the Denver Pop Festival.
In August, Denny Cordell heard about the planned concert inWoodstock, New York and convinced organiser Artie Kornfeld to book Cocker and the Grease Band for the Woodstock Festival. The group had to be flown into the festival by helicopter due to the large crowds. They performed several songs, including “Delta Lady”, “Something’s Comin’ On”, “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, “I Shall Be Released”, and “With a Little Help from My Friends”. Cocker would later say that the experience was “like an eclipse… it was a very special day.”
Directly after Woodstock, Cocker released his second album, Joe Cocker!. Impressed by his cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends”, Paul McCartney and George Harrison allowed Cocker to use their songs “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and “Something” for the album. Recorded during a break in touring in the spring and summer, the album reached number 11 on the US charts and garnered a second UK hit with the Leon Russell song, “Delta Lady”. Throughout 1969 he was featured on variety TV shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and This Is Tom Jones. Onstage, he exhibited an idiosyncratic physical intensity, flailing his arms and playing air guitar, occasionally giving superfluous cues to his band.
At the end of the year Cocker was unwilling to embark on another US tour, so he dissolved the Grease Band. Despite Cocker’s reluctance to venture out on the road again, an American tour had already been booked so he had to quickly form a new band in order to fulfil his contractual obligations. It proved to be a large group of more than 30 musicians, including pianist and bandleader Leon Russell, three drummers, and backing vocalists Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear.
The new band was christened “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” by Denny Cordell after the Noël Coward song of the same name. His music at this time evolved into a more bluesy type of rock, often compared to that of the Rolling Stones. During the ensuing Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour (later described by drummer Jim Keltner as “a big, wild party”), Cocker toured 48 cities, recorded a live album, and received very positive reviews from Time and Life for his performances. However, the pace of the tour was exhausting. Russell and Cocker had personal problems and Cocker became depressed and began drinking excessively as the tour wound down in May 1970.
Meanwhile, he enjoyed several chart entries in the US with “Cry Me a River” and “Feelin’ Alright” by Dave Mason. His cover of the Box Tops’ hit “The Letter”, which appeared on the live album and film, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, became his first US Top Ten hit. After spending several months in Los Angeles, Cocker returned home to Sheffield where his family became increasingly concerned with his deteriorating physical and mental health. During this time, in periods between work, Cocker wrote the overture played by Ted Heathon the occasion the Prime Minister famously conducted a live orchestra whilst in office. In the summer of 1971 the A&M Recordssingle release appeared in the US of “High Time We Went”.
This became a hit, reaching number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, but was not issued on an album until November 1972 on the Joe Cocker album. In early 1972, after nearly two years away from music, Cocker went on tour with a group that Chris Stainton had formed. He opened with a performance in Madison Square Garden which was attended by about 20,000 people. After touring the US, he embarked on a European tour where he played to large audiences in Milan, Italyand Germany. He then returned to the US for another tour in autumn 1972. During these tours the group cut the songs that would be part of his newest album, Joe Cocker. A mixture of live songs and studio recordings, the album peaked at number 30 on the US charts.
In October 1972, when Cocker toured Australia, he and six members of his entourage were arrested in Adelaide by police for possession of marijuana. The next day in Melbourne, assault charges were laid after a brawl at the Commodore Chateau Hotel, and Cocker was given 48 hours to leave the country by the Australian Federal Police.
This caused huge public outcry in Australia, as Cocker was a high-profile overseas artist and had a strong support base, especially amongst the baby boomers who were coming of age and able to vote for the first time. It sparked hefty debate about the use and legalisation of marijuana in Australia and gained Cocker the nickname of “the Mad Dog”. Shortly after the Australian tour, Stainton retired from his music career to establish his own recording studio. After his friend’s departure and estrangement from longtime producer Denny Cordell, Cocker sank into depression and began using heroin. In June 1973 he kicked the habit, but continued to drink heavily. At the end of 1973, Cocker returned to the studio to record a new album, I Can Stand A Little Rain. The album, released in August 1974, was number 11 on the US charts and one single, a cover of Dennis Wilson and Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful”, which reached the number 5 slot. Despite positive reviews for the album, Cocker struggled with live performances, largely due to his problems with alcohol.
One such instance was reported in a 1974 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, saying during two West Coast performances in October of that year he threw up on stage. In January 1975, he released a second album that had been recorded at the same time as I Can Stand a Little Rain, Jamaica Say You Will. To promote his new album, Cocker embarked on another tour of Australia, made possible by the country’s newLabor government. In late 1975, he contributed vocals on a number of the tracks on Bo Diddley’s The 20th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll all-star album. He also recorded a new album in a Kingston, Jamaica studio, Stingray.
However, record sales were disappointing; the album reached only number 70 on the US charts. In 1976, Cocker performed “Feelin’ Alright” on Saturday Night Live. John Belushi joined him on stage doing his famous impersonation of Cocker’s stage movements. At the time, Cocker was $800,000 in debt to A&M Records and struggling with alcoholism. Several months later, he met producer Michael Lang, who agreed to manage him on the condition that he stay sober.
With a new band, Cocker embarked on a tour of New Zealand, Australia and South America. He then recorded a new album with session work by Steve Gadd and Chuck Rainey, and a new, young bassist from Scotland, Rob Hartley. Hartley also toured briefly with Cocker’s friends in 1977. In the autumn of 1978, he went on a North American tour promoting his album, Luxury You Can Afford. Despite this effort, it received mixed reviews and only sold around 300,000 copies. In 1979, Cocker joined the “Woodstock in Europe” tour, which featured musicians like Arlo Guthrie and Richie Havens who had played at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
He also performed in New York’s Central Park to an audience of 20,000 people. The concert was recorded and released as the live album, Live in New York. He also toured Europe and appeared on the German television recording amphitheatre, Rockpalast, the first of many performances on the show. In 1982, Cocker recorded two songs with the jazz group the Crusaders on their album Standing Tall. One song, ‘I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today’ was nominated for a Grammy Award and Cocker performed it with the Crusaders at the awards ceremony. The Crusaders wrote this song with Cocker in mind to sing it. Cocker then released a new reggae-influenced album, Sheffield Steel, recorded with the Compass Point All Stars, produced by Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin.
In 1982, at the behest of producer Stewart Levine, Cocker recorded the duet “Up Where We Belong” with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman. The song was an international hit, reaching number 1 on theBillboard Hot 100, and winning a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo. The duet also won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Cocker and Warnes performed the song at the awards ceremony. Several days later, he was invited to perform “You Are So Beautiful” with Ray Charles in a television tribute to the musician.
He then joined singer Ronnie Lane’s 1983 tour to raise money for the London-based organisation Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis, in particular because Lane was beginning to suffer from the degenerative disease. Musicians such as Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page,Jeff Beck and Chris Stainton also participated in the tour which included a performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. While on another tour that year, Cocker was arrested by Austrian police after refusing to perform because of inadequate sound equipment.
The charges were eventually dropped and Cocker was released. Shortly after the incident, he released his ninth studio album, Civilized Man. His next album Cocker was dedicated to his mother, Madge, who died when he was recording in the studio with producer Terry Manning. A track from the album, “You Can Leave Your Hat On” was featured in the 1986 film 9½ Weeks. The album eventually went Platinum on the European charts.
His 1987 album Unchain My Heartwas nominated for a Grammy Award, although it did not win. One Night of Sin was also a commercial success, surpassingUnchain My Heart in sales. Throughout the 1980s, Cocker continued to tour around the world, playing to large audiences in Europe, Australia and the United States.
In 1988, he performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall and appeared on The Tonight Show. After Barclay James Harvest and Bob Dylan Cocker was the first to give Rock concerts in the German Democratic Republic, in East Berlin and Dresden.
The venue, the Blüherwiese, next to the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion, bears the vernacular name Cockerwiese (Cocker meadow) today.He also performed for President George Bush at an inauguration concert in February 1989. In 1992, his version of Bryan Adams’ “Feels Like Forever” made the UK Top 40. At the 1993 Brit Awards, Cocker was nominated for Best British Male.Cocker performed the opening set at Woodstock ’94 as one of the few alumni who played at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 and was very well received.
On 3 June 2002, Cocker performed “With A Little Help From My Friends” accompanied by Phil Collins on drums and Queen guitarist Brian May at the Party at the Palace concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, an event in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II. In 2007, Cocker appeared playing minor characters in the film Across the Universe, as the lead singer on another Beatles’ hit, “Come Together”. Cocker was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music.To celebrate receiving his award in mid December 2007, Cocker played two concerts in London and in his home town of Sheffield.
In April and May 2009, Cocker conducted a North American tour in support of his album Hymn for My Soul. He sang the vocals on Little Wing for the Carlos Santana album, Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time, released on 21 September 2010.
In the autumn of 2010, Cocker toured Europe promoting his studio album Hard Knocks. Cocker returned to Australia in 2008 and again in 2011, the latter of which featured George Thorogood and the Destroyers as an opening act.
On 20 March 2011, Joe Cocker took part in a benefit concert for Cornell Dupree at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York. Dupree played on two Cocker albums Stingray (1976) and Luxury You Can Afford (1978). Dupree’s band Stuff was also Cocker’s backing band on a tour promoting Stingray in 1976. While performing a concert at Madison Square Garden on 17 September 2014, veteran rock singer Billy Joel stated that Cocker was “not very well right now” and asked that he be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 1963, Cocker began dating Eileen Webster, also a resident of Sheffield. The couple dated intermittently for the next 13 years, separating permanently in 1976. In 1978, Cocker moved onto a ranch owned by Jane Fonda in Santa Barbara, California. Pam Baker, a local summer camp director and fan of Cocker’s music, persuaded the actress to let the house to Cocker. Baker began dating Cocker and they eventually married on 11 October 1987.The couple resided on the Mad Dog Ranch in Crawford, Colorado. Cocker was not related to fellow Sheffield-born musician Jarvis Cocker, despite this being a rumour (particularly in Australia, where Jarvis’s father Mac Cocker, a radio DJ, allowed listeners to believe he was Joe Cocker’s brother). On 22 December 2014, Cocker died of lung cancer at his home in Colorado at the age of 70.
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