Tuesday, December 23, 2014

JOE COCKER (1944 - 2014)

Best known for his gravely voice and looking like he was having a seizure when he sang, the British rock & soul artist, Joe Cocker passed away yesterday after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

After getting invited on stage as a teenager to sing with his older brother's band, Cocker was hooked. He first began his music career under the stage name Vance Arnold with his band covering Chuck Berry and Ray Charles songs. Cocker started using his own name when he began recording and joined his friend, Chris Stanton to start a new band, The Grease Band in 1966. He worked with this group for a few years before deciding to go solo. Cocker would make a huge impact with his riveting performance at Woodstock in 1969.

Cocker's first hit was a radical re-working of The Beatles song, "With a Little Help From My Friends". This cover reached the top-ten in Britain in 1968 and featured future Led Zeppelin member, Jimmy Page on guitar. Cocker had other hits with his versions of popular tunes including "Feelin' Alright", "Cry Me a River", "The Letter" and "You Are So Beautiful". In 1982, Joe Cocker teamed-up with Jennifer Warnes to perform "Up Where We Belong",  the love theme for the hit film, "An Officer and A Gentleman". This became the singer's only U.S. number-one hit single and earned him a Grammy Award.

Listen to these classic songs from the great Joe Cocker:

"Feelin' Alright" - Joe Cocker (1968)

"Up Where We Belong" - Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes (1982)

Here is Joe Cocker performing his take of "With A Little Help From My Friends" live at Woodstock:


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