John Robert “Joe” Cocker, OBE (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014) was an English singer and musician….who was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance and definitive versions of popular songs….as he had a professional stage career from 1960 to 2013….and just months before his death in 2014. Joe Cocker was a legendary rock n roll and popular singer / musician with enormous international appeal….as his music was revered all over Europe….especially in Germany.
Cocker’s cover of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968….then he performed the song live at Woodstock in 1969,,,,and at the Party at the Palace concert for the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2002….as his version also became the theme song for the TV series The Wonder Years….and his 1974 cover of “You Are So Beautiful” reached number five in the US…..plus Cocker was the recipient of several awards including a 1983 Grammy Award for his US number one “Up Where We Belong,” a duet with Jennifer Warnes.
After minor success in the United States with the single “Marjorine”…Cocker entered the big time with a groundbreaking rearrangement of “With a Little Help from My Friends,” another Beatles cover….as the recording features lead guitar from Jimmy Page, drumming by B. J. Wilson, backing vocals from Sue and Sunny….with Tommy Eyre on organ. The single made the Top Ten on the UK Singles Chart….while remaining there for thirteen weeks….and eventually reaching number one….and it also reached number 68 on the US charts.
Upon hearing about Cocker’s death in 2014, Paul McCartney said the following words about Cocker’s version of the Beatles 1967 song:
“He [Cocker] was a lovely northern lad who I loved a lot and, like many people, I loved his singing. I was especially pleased when he decided to cover “With a Little Help from My Friends” and I remember him and (producer) Denny Cordell coming round to the studio in Savile Row (central London) and playing me what they’d recorded and it was just mind-blowing, totally turned the song into a soul anthem and I was forever grateful to him for doing that.”