Joe Cocker, the British singer whose impassioned, gravel-voiced covers of popular rock and blues songs were an indelible sound of 1960s counterculture, has died at age 70 after a battle with lung cancer. Cocker died Monday at his home in Colorado.
Even a hard rocker like Edward Van Halen fantasized about making music with him. In 1991, he revealed to Guitar World, “I can hear Joe Cocker singing that one [‘Right Now’]. I wrote that music quite a while ago, before Sammy joined the band. If there was any other vocalist I’d like to make a record with, it would be Joe. That song has that classic ‘Feelin’ All Right’ groove.”
At Van Halen’s wedding in 2009, Ed chose Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” as the traditional first dance.
From the BBC:
Singer Joe Cocker, best known for his cover of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, has died aged 70.
The Sheffield-born singer had a career lasting more than 40 years, with hits including You Are So Beautiful and Up Where We Belong.
His agent Barrie Marshall said Cocker, who died after battling lung cancer, was “simply unique”.
Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who “brought so much to the world”.
Cocker’s friend Rick Wakeman, keyboard player for the rock band Yes, called his rendering of With a Little Help From My Friends “sensational” and said: “He had a voice that was just unique.”
Wakeman told BBC Radio 2: “The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years.”
Known for his gritty voice, Cocker – a former gas fitter – began his singing career in the pubs and clubs of Sheffield in the 1960s before hitting the big time.