20 March 2015 - JOE COCKER


G'day folks,

Time to say something about one of my favourite singers, who recently died.

Born in England in 1944, Joe Cocker was one of rock's most distinctive singers. He first rose to fame in the late 1960s with his cover of the Beatles' song "With a Little Help From My Friends." Cocker performed at the legendary Woodstock music festival in 1969. The following year, he released the album Mad Dogs & Englishmen, which included such hits as "The Letter." More successful singles soon followed, including "Cry Me a River" and "Feeling Alright." Cocker won a Grammy Award in 1982 for "Up Where We Belong," his duet with Jennifer Warnes. Some of his later albums include Hard Knocks (2010) and Fire It Up (2012).

Early Career 

Born on May 20, 1944, in Sheffield, England, singer Joe Cocker counted Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan among his early influences. He made his debut with his brother Victor's skiffle band when he was only 12 years old, according to USA Today. Cocker later became a drummer and harmonica player for a band called the Cavaliers in 1959. Before long, however, Cocker took his position at the front of the stage as a singer. Still he held on to his day job as a gas fitter for the East Midlands Gas Board until he made it as a performer. 

Cocker tried his hand at pop music, performing as Vance Arnold for a time before returning to his own name. Cocker had more success working with his back-up group, the Grease Band. He landed a minor hit with "Marjorine" in the late 1960s. 

Rock Icon 

Cocker landed his first number-one single in his native England in 1968 with his rendition of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends." His cover of the iconic song was later featured as the theme song for the television series The Wonder Years. His album by the same name featured such guest performers as Jimmy Page and Steve Winwood. The following year, Cocker hit the British charts again with "Delta Lady." This rough yet soulful singer also toured the United States that same year. His time in America included a career-boosting performance at the famed Woodstock music festival. Cocker started to attract a quite following with his bluesy rock sound. He also became known for his unpredictable way of dancing on stage. 

 With 1970's Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Cocker rose to the top 10 of American pop charts with "The Letter." The album proved to be a huge success and also included several other hits such as "Cry Me a River." Over the next few years, he made the charts a few more times with such songs as "High Time We Went" and "Feeling Alright." As the 1970s progressed, however, Cocker's substance abuse began to affect his performances. He did, however, manage to make it back into the charts with "You Are So Beautiful" in 1975. 

Cocker had a career renaissance in the 1980s. His duet with Jennifer Warnes, "Up Where We Belong," was the title track for the Richard Gere-Debra Winger drama An Officer and a Gentleman. This ballad became a number-one hit and earned the pair a Grammy Award win for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal in 1982. At the close of the decade, Cocker returned to the pop charts again with "When the Night Comes." 

Death and Legacy 

Cocker remained active on the music scene in his later years. He kept recording, releasing Hymn for My Soul in 2007 and Hard Knocks in 2010. In 2012, Cocker put out Fire It Up, which proved to be 23rd and final album. He died in Crawford, Colorado, on December 22, 2014. He had been battling lung cancer. The legendary singer was survived by his wife Pam, his stepdaughter Zoey and two grandchildren. 

Many members of the music world mourned Cocker's passing. Ringo Starr was just one of people who took to Twitter to express their sadness. He tweeted "Goodbye and God bless to Joe Cocker from one of his friends."

Clancy's comment: Interesting that he was a gas fitter and Rod Stewart was a grave digger. I guess there is hope for us.
Loved ya work, Joe!
I'm ...


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