Joe Cocker

After failing to find success under the moniker Vance Arnold, Sheffield pipe-fitter Joe Cocker (born May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, West Yorkshire, UK) found fame with the 1968 cover of Beatles hit "A Little Help From My Friends" that saw him hit Number 1 in the UK charts. Along with his backing group the Grease Band, he released an album of the same name in 1969 to critical acclaim, before appearing in a series of gigs in the US to captivate festival-goers with his rasping lyrics. His second album Joe Cocker! reached the top 10 in the UK in 1969, before he disbanded the Grease Band a year later then quickly put together Mad Dogs, with whom he enjoyed hit single "The Letter" and Number 2 album Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Exhausted by the pressures of success, Cocker took time out, returning in 1972 with Joe Cocker and 1974's I Can Stand a Little Rain but made little impact. He continued to push out albums, eventually losing his deal with A&M and moving to Island in 1982 when he released Sheffield Steel. But his comeback came in the form of a duet with Jennifer Warnes for 1982 romantic drama film An Officer And A Gentleman on "Up Where We Belong." He moved record labels again, releasing further albums, and proved his staying power within the music scene with records such as 2002's Respect Yourself and covers set Heart & Soul in 2004. His 20th studio album Hymn for My Soul arrived in 2007 then Hard Knocks in 2010. His final studio album, Fire It Up, landed in 2012 and was followed by US and European tours. Joe Cocker, who and received an OBE in 2008 for services to music, died of lung cancer in Crawford Colorado on December 22, 2014 aged 70.

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