Joe Cocker dies, aged 70

Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker

Joe Cocker in 2013. Pic: Wikipedia Commons.

The gravel-voiced rock and blues singer from Sheffield has passed away at home in Colorado, after a battle with cancer

heffield-born singer and songwriter Joe Cocker has passed away at home in Crawford, Colorado, after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70 years old. With his passing, the world of music loses an artist who has written and recorded constantly for over 50 years, and Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Frank Turner, Steve Tyler and Bryan Adams are among those to have posted tributes on Twitter.

After a stint as an apprentice gasfitter, Cocker’s first serious band was Vance Arnold & The Avengers – Cocker assuming the ‘Vance Arnold’ mantle – who opened for The Rolling Stones in Sheffield in 1963. But a solo deal with Decca Records soon came along, and Cocker rose to prominence in the latter half of the 60s with his cover of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends and an acclaimed live performance at Woodstock.

His star waned a little in the 70s, but he did chalk up US hits with covers of Billy Preston’s You Are So Beautiful and The Box Tops’ The Letter. Greater success would return however in 1982, when his duet with Jennifer Warnes, Up Where We Belong – recorded for the soundtrack to An Officer And A Gentleman – topped charts worldwide and won him both a Grammy and an Oscar.

Since then, Cocker continued to record and tour, with a particularly memorable show at Buckingham Palace (accompanied by Brian May and Phil Collins) in 2002, in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. He released a total of 40 albums over the course of his career, and was awarded the OBE in 2011.

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