Joe Cocker (1944-2014)

Joe Cocker (1944-2014)

Joe Cocker, the legendary singer known for his gritty voice, wild stage presence and redefining cover songs, has died.

Born John Robert Cocker on May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, England, the singer first gained attention as a nightclub singer under the stage name Vance Arnold.

Cocker scored his first hit with his 1968 cover of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends,” which he famously performed the song at Woodstock, and his studio version would later serve as the theme song to The Wonder Years.

In his 40-plus year career he charted 19 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number one with his 1982 duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong,” from the film An Officer and A Gentleman. The song also won him his only Grammy Award.

Other Cocker classics include “Feelin’ Alright” and “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” as well as renditions of Billy Preston’s “You Are So Beautiful,” the Box Tops’ “The Letter,” Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady” and countless other tunes by The Beatles. Russell was also a close friend and bandleader on Cocker’s famous Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour.

On top of countless collaborations, Cocker released 22 solo albums in his career, the last of which was 2012’s Fire It Up. He also toured regularly and performed live until 2011.

After a battle with lung cancer, Cocker passed away on December 22, 2014 in his Colorado home. He was 70 years old.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Joe Cocker tunes, sealed off with Leon Russell’s touching song, “The Ballad of Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

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