Tributes have poured in for singer Joe Cocker who passed away yesterday aged 70.
Cocker was born in Sheffield and enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years. He died in Colorado where he lived with his wife Pam.
Barrie Marshall, Cocker’s agent for over 30 years, confirmed the singer’s death “with the heaviest heart. He was without doubt the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain – and remained the same throughout his life.”
Cocker’s official website noted that: ‘John Robert Cocker, known to family, friends, his community and fans around the world as Joe Cocker, passed away on December 22 after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer. He was 70 years old.
Joe enjoyed long walks in the mountains with his dogs, fly fishing in the Black Canyon, playing snooker with friends and growing tomatoes in his greenhouse year-round.
Joe Cocker is survived by his wife, Pam, of Crawford; his brother Victor Cocker of Norfolk, England; his step daughter, Zoey Schroeder of Stevenson Ranch, CA and two grandchildren, Eva & Simon Schroeder.
A private memorial is planned. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Cocker Kids’ Foundation, P.O. Box 404, Crawford, CO. 81415′
Cocker performed at the Woodstock Festival in New York state and was also well-known for his Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour of 1970, which visited 48 cities across the US. His duet with Jennifer Warnes, ‘Up Where We Belong’ – from An Officer And A Gentleman – hit number one and went on to win both a Grammy and an Academy Award in 1983. He was made an OBE in 2011. Last year he enjoyed a Top 5 album in Germany with Fire It Up, which included the song ‘I Come In Peace’ written by Australian music legends Ross Wilson and Rick Brewster.
Cocker’s first hit – and perhaps his best known song – was his cover of The Beatles’ ‘With A Little Help From My Friends,’ which he performed at Woodstock a year after he had recorded it.
“He’s a lovely Northern lad who I loved alot and like many people I loved his singing, so I especially pleased when he decided to cover my song ‘A Litle Help From My Friends’… it was just mind blowing. It totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that,” Sir Paul McCartney told the BBC.
Rick Wakeman, Cocker’s friend and keyboard player for Yes, called the late singer’s rendition of The Beatles song ‘sensational.’ He told BBC Radio 2: “He had a voice that was just unique. He was a very nice guy, as well as being a very talented guy. It is very, very sad for all his family and friends and for all who loved him. The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years. People talk about stage presence, and he really had it.”
American songwriter Jimmy Webb said he was devastated by news of his friend’s death. “I loved him musically because he drew no artificial boundaries between pop and rock,” Webb wrote on Facebook. “He made me feel comfortable in his world. He was a loving guy who has been – contrary to his image – sober for most of his life. He was devoted to simply reaching out and helping others. “When we were last in the studio, it was incredible to watch him sing – he felt each note of the music – he gesticulated each note. The song may have started with his voice but it moved through him to the tips of his fingers.”
Aerosmith’s Steve Tyler posted: ‘We loved you forever, we will miss you always….RIP Joe Cocker’ while Tom Morello posted : ‘RIP Joe Cocker. Great voice & spirit.’