Joe Cocker: singer song-writer dies aged 70, agent says

Joe Cocker, the raspy-voiced, Grammy-winning singer song-writer best known for his cover of the Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, has died, his agent said. He was 70.

Cocker was born in 1944 in Sheffield, England, and began his trade singing in pubs, in a career lasting more than 40 years.

His many other hits included duet Up Where We Belong and You Are so Beautiful.

Cocker’s agent Barrie Marshall confirmed his death and said it would be impossible to fill the space he leaves in his friends’ hearts.

In a statement, Sony Music said he died “after a hard fought battle with small cell lung cancer”.

“Joe Cocker was born 5/20/1944 in Sheffield, England where he lived until his early 20s. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE by the Queen of England.

“His international success as a blues/rock singer began in 1964 and continues till this day. Joe created nearly 40 albums and toured extensively around the globe.”

Before making it big, Cocker worked as a gas fitter and covered Motown songs in pubs in northern England in the 1960s.

He became known as a white soul singer and for his unique stage presence, twisting his body and face into contortions as he sang with his signature husky delivery.

As a recording and touring artist in the 1970s, Cocker struggled with alcohol and drug abuse.

He had a big hit in 1974 with You Are So Beautiful, co-written with Billy Preston.

His career revived in 1982, singing Up Where We Belong in a duet with Jennifer Warnes in the film An Officer and A Gentleman, which won both a Grammy and an Oscar.

He recorded his last studio album, Fire It Up in 2012.

Cocker toured Australia several times, most recently in 2008 and 2011.

News about Cocker’s ill health was kept quiet until September, when Billy Joel performed a tribute for Cocker in New York concert.

Joel said Cocker was “a great singer who is not very well right now” and who should have a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1998, Cocker and his wife Pam set up the Cocker Kids’ Foundation to help young people with education, recreation, arts and athletics in the North Fork Valley in Delta County, Colorado.

Cocker died at his home in Colorado, where he lived with his wife. The couple did not have children.

Joe Cocker performs With A Little help From My Friends- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POaaw_x7gvQ

ABC NEWS AUSTRALIA