Joe Cocker |  Artist

Joe Cocker | Artist

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John Robert "Joe" Cocker OBE was an English rock & soul singer born 1944 in Crookes, Sheffield, UK. He was known for his gritty, bluesy voice and dynamic stage performances, in particular his legendary performance at Woodstock. For a brief period in the early 70's Cocker was one of the highest selling UK rock singers, with number one singles "With a Little Help From my Friends", "The Letter" and "Delta Lady". He also had a late career mega-hit in 1982 with "Up There Where we Belong", a duet with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of the film An Officer and a Gentleman. Cocker left school to become an apprentice gasfitter working for the East Midlands Gas Board, while simultaneously pursuing a career in music. In 1961 Cocker formed Vance Arnold and the Avengers, who covered Chuck Berry, Ray Charles and Blues numbers. In 1963, their first significant gig was supporting the Rolling Stones at Sheffield City Hall. In 1964, Cocker signed with Decca records and released his first single, a cover of the Beatles' "I'll Cry Instead", with Jimmy Page on guitar, but the record flopped. In 1966, after a year-long hiatus from music, Cocker teamed up with Chris Stainton to form the Grease Band, who came to the attention of big name producer Denny Cordell. Cocker recorded the single "Marjorine" then moved to London where Cordell set up a residency at the Marquee Club. In 1968, Cocker found commercial success with an arrangement of "With a Little Help From my Friends", another Beatles cover, again including guitar from Jimmy Page. A new line-up of the Grease Band featured Henry McCullough on lead guitar, who would go on to play with Paul McCartney's Wings. After touring the UK with the Who in autumn 1968, the Grease Band embarked on their first US tour. Cocker's debut album With a Little Help From my Friends was released soon after their arrival and was successful on the US charts. Cocker played at several large US festivals and Denny Cordell convinced organiser Artie Kornfeld to book them for the Woodstock Festival. The group had to be flown in by helicopter due to the large crowds and their set included "Feelin' Alright?", "Something's Comin' On", "Let's Go Get Stoned", "I Shall be Released" and "With a Little Help from My Friends". It was this appearance that immortalised Cocker as a stage performer and the artist's fortunes took off for several years, before the combination of alcohol abuse and chronic stage fright saw his career come back to earth in the late 70's. In his lifetime Cocker released 22 studio albums, with standouts being With a Little Help From my Friends, Joe Cocker!, I Can Stand a Little Rain, Stingray, Sheffield Steel, and the double live album Mad Dogs and Englishmen, performed with an all-star ensemble including Leon Russell. In 1993, Cocker was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male. He was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque in his hometown in 2007, and received an OBE the following year for services to music. Cocker was ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone's 100 greatest singers list. The artist passed away in the US, on 22 December 2014.

Artist Website: facebook.com/joecockerofficial/

Featured Albums: Joe Cocker

Related Artists: Leon Russell, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Grease Band, Neil Hubbard, Sly & Robbie

Video Clips: With a Little Help From my Friends, The Letter, In Memory

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