New Drug Cocktail Offers Hope for Joe Cocker Imitators | HumorOutcasts

New Drug Cocktail Offers Hope for Joe Cocker Imitators

June 9, 2017

DOWNER’S GROVE, Illinois.  Marian Busby was thinking the dinner in a private room at L’Endive, a new restaurant in this suburb of Chicago, was going swimmingly until tragedy struck.  “I was basically being interviewed for a seat on the board of Ballet Chicago,” she recalls ruefully.  “The chairwoman and her husband were there along with three other board members and their spouses.”

But then the strains of “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong,” the monster Joe Cocker-Jennifer Warnes hit and perennial wedding reception favorite, began to issue softly from speakers concealed in the room’s crown molding, and her husband’s face began twitching and his right arm shot out straight from his shoulder as if in salute, causing others at the table to react with alarm.

“No–not that song!”


“Is he having a heart attack?” asked Nigel Scott, a balletomane investment banker as Jim Busby’s face contorted into a look of pain.

“No, he’s fine, he just needs some fresh air–it’s stuffy in here, isn’t it?” his wife replied as she stood him up and started to push him towards the door, but it was too late.

“Where the eagles cry,” Jim screamed in a guttural voice that recalled an animal caught in a leg trap.  “On a mountain high!”

Just like the real thing!


Once outside in the hall Busby could only groan at her missed chance as a straw poll taken in her absence resolved to invite her to become a “Friend” of the ballet, but nothing more for fear that a similarly embarrassing outburst would mar a high-toned fundraiser or opening night.

Jim Busby suffers from Joe Cocker Imitation Syndrome, an ailment that afflicts approximately 4 out of every hundred American men between the ages of 55 and 70.  “JCIS is characterized by spastic gestures, unintelligible singing and wild arm-flailing,” says Dr. Peter Girardin of the Massachusetts Home for Aging Baby-Boomers.  “The search for a pharmaceutical cure has been unsuccessful, largely because the syndrome itself is the product of excessive drug and alcohol use.”

The full Cocker


Victims of the disease typically first exhibit symptoms in early post-adolescence, performing imitations of the late British rock singer Joe Cocker in private settings or at bars.  Triggering influences such as a strobe light, bad acid or light beer can cause the affected condition to become permanent, the way your mother used to warn you if you made an ugly face it might stay that way.

There are few support groups or dedicated medical assistance available to Cocker imitators, unlike the broad acceptance that Elvis Presley imitators have achieved through a campaign of annoying appearances at shopping malls and other public venues.  “As millions of male rock fans become senile, we as a society need to come to terms with this dreaded disease,” says Girardin as he looks at a brain scan taken during a patient’s rendition of “Delta Lady.”  “Do we want these guys breaking into raspy singing in public places, or will we allow them to age gracefully in secure facilities where they can’t annoy anybody?”

Available in Kindle format on as part of the collection “I Hear America Whining.”

Con Chapman

I'm a Boston-area writer, author of two novels (most recently "Making Partner"), a baseball book about the Red Sox and the Yankees ("The Year of the Gerbil"), ten published plays and 45 books of humor available in print and Kindle formats on My latest book "Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up!" was released by HumorOutcasts Press last year. My humor has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe and Barron's, and I am working on a biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax player for Oxford University Press .

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One Response to New Drug Cocktail Offers Hope for Joe Cocker Imitators

  1. June 14, 2017 at 2:14 am

    What do you call it when someone breaks out into spontaneous, very bad imitation of just about all 70s rockers while stone-cold sober? ‘Cause that’s what I’ve got.

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