Blues singer Joe Cocker passed away during the night in his home after losing his battle with lung cancer. Cocker was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. He was 70 years old.
Cocker was best known for his rendition of the Beatles song, “With a Little Help From my Friends.”
Joe Cocker’s career lasted more than 40 years. His hits included “You are so Beautiful” and “Up Where we Belong”.
Sir Paul McCartney stated Cocker is a “lovely guy who brought so much to the world.”
Cocker’s gravely voice gave him a unique sound. His career took off when he released “A Little Help From my Friends,” after he spent years singing in pubs and clubs of Sheffield during the 60s. Cocker performed “A Little Help From my Friends” at the famous Woodstock Festival in New York a year after its release.
Cocker went on his famous “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in 1970 that covered 48 cities around the United States.
Performing “Up Where we Belong” with Jennifer Warnes became a hit after it was used in the film, “An Officer and a Gentleman”. The song won a Grammy and an Academy Award in 1983.
Cocker’s last album hit number one in Germany after his arena tour last year. His final concert was held in Hammersmith, London in June.
His career included 23 studio albums and 40 albums that were recorded in the state of Colorado.
As the world learns of his passing, the social media sites are lighting up with condolences and remarks. Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler tweeted:
We loved you forever. We will miss you always. RIP Joe Cocker.
Singer-songwriter Frank Turner tweets:
Wow. Sad to hear of Joe Cocker’s passing. Incredible Singer.
Bryan Adams added:
Joe Cocker has died. RIP my good friend. You were one of the best rock singers ever.
Chairman and Chief Executive of Sony Music Entertainment International, Edgar Berger wrote:
One of the most humble men I’ve ever met. His voice will forever be etched in our memories.
Sir Paul McCartney stated his cover of the song, “With a Little Help from my Friends” was “clearly the definitive version of the song.”
Cocker received kudos from legends such as Ray Charles who said his voice and talent made him one of the three best blues singers in the business. Charles placed Cocker in the same category as Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. Ray Charles was the “guy I learned my vocal style from, you know, to the point of absolute adulation,” Cocker said.
Once Cocker became a star in the United Kingdom, he traveled to the US where he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, where a producer attempted to cover Cocker’s flailing body movements behind dancers.
Cocker became involved in drinking and drug consumption. At one point, he gained the reputation of throwing up on stage and performing his songs while intoxicated.
Cocker was unable to see his performances as “bad”, even though friends tried to inform him he needed help.
Drugs were readily available and I dived in head first.
In 1972, Cocker was deported from Australia during his tour. He was arrested for drug possession and was involved in a fight at the hotel he was staying in.
In 1978, Cocker met his wife, Pam. She turned his life around. By 1980, Cocker began to refocus and delivered more hits to his fans. He became a hit singer again with the song “Up Where we Belong” with singing partner Jennifer Warnes.
Cocker lived on a 240-acre ranch in Colorado with his wife, Pam. The two operated a diner that was the namesake of the singer; The Mad Dog Café.