Comedian, writer, actor, musician, and original Saturday Night Live cast member John Belushi was a master of impressions. Over the course of his decorated yet tragically short career, Belushi wielded his “intense energy and raucous attitude” to embody a vast array of theatrical parts, from Star Trek‘s Captian Kirk, to famed composer Ludwig von Beethoven, to beloved characters like Animal House‘s John “Bluto” Blutarsky and “Joliet” Jake Blues of his fictional-turned-real Chicago blues band, the Blues Brothers.

Likely his most famous impersonation, however, is that of enigmatic vocalist Joe Cocker. On various occasions in his Saturday Night Live heyday, Belushi put on hilariously spot-on impressions of the British singer, who would famously writhe and twitch wildly as he sang, as if the music was a spirit possessing him, fighting to get out. Along with his engagingly coarse and soulful voice, his almost spastic onstage body language was, and still remains, a defining facet of Cocker’s appeal and lasting legacy. Below, you can John Belushi impersonate Joe Cocker on SNL with this flawless recreation of Cocker’s iconic cover of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” and check out the original version for comparison:

John Belushi – “With A Little Help From My Friends” (Joe Cocker Impression)

Joe Cocker – “With A Little Help From My Friends” – Woodstock (1969)

John Belushi’s impression of Joe Cocker was an early career catalyst for the comedian. Belushi performed it circa 1971 with Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe. A National Lampoon magazine staffer caught wind of Belushi’s energetic, slightly deranged impression and visited Chicago to see it. He was so impressed that he offered Belushi a job with the Lampoon’s Lemmings show in New York. That eventually led to his role as one of the “Not Ready For Prime Time Players,” the famous early cast of Saturday Night Live starting in 1975 along with fellow eventual comedy legends like Chevy ChaseGilda RadnerBill MurrayDan Aykroyd, and more.

On October 2nd, 1976, during the show’s second season, Joe Cocker came to SNL as a musical guest, and performed his hit rendition of Traffic‘s “Feelin’ Alright” backed by a badass backing band: New York’s own jazz-funk heroes, Stuff (hence the shirts in the video). However, for this performance, the show’s audience got not one Cocker, but two, as an identically dressed John Belushi came out with Cocker for the performance. The two traded lines and generally looked uncannily identical–a testament to both Joe Cocker’s unique, trademark stage presence and Belushi’s unmatched impersonation abilities.

As Chevy Chase once explained, Belushi was shy about this bit, and had a great deal of respect for Cocker as a musician, so he was embarrassed about following through with this “duet.” Despite those initial reservations, it is a performance still talked about today. You can see a clip of the hilariously spot-on collaborative performance below, or view the whole thing here.

Joe Cocker & John Belushi – “Feelin’ Alright” – SNL 1976

[Video: Andrea Motta]

Despite his physical comedic brilliance, Belushi struggled with heavy drug use throughout his career and was frequently fired and re-hired by SNL creator/producer Lorne Michaels on several occasions due to his behavior. On March 5th, 1982, John Belushi was found dead at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, the result of a combined injection of cocaine and heroin, known as a “speedball.” He was 33 years old.

Rest in peace, Belushi. You were taken from this world far too soon.

[Originally published on October 2nd, 2017]