In Memoriam: Joe Cocker (1944 – 2014)

Joe CockerJohn Robert “Joe” Cocker OBE (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014) was an English rock and blues singer, who came to popularity in the 1960s, and was known for his gritty voice, his spasmodic body movement in performance and his cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of the Beatles.

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 cover of Billy Preston’s “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, in 2007 was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque in his hometown, 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.

While performing a concert at Madison Square Garden on 17 September 2014, fellow musician 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.

Cocker died of lung cancer on 22 December 2014 in Crawford, Colorado. The two living Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, were among those who paid tribute to the singer, while his agent, Barrie Marshall, stated he was “without doubt the greatest rock/soul singer ever to come out of Britain.” – Wikipedia

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