Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer at the age of 70.
Born and brought up in Sheffield, he was for me at the time, a local lad made good. I confess that I’d never heard of him during his early career when he played with his brother in groups which eventually became Vance Arnold & the Avengers. My first recollection of Joe was when he formed the Grease Band, they were popular locally in Northern clubs. I heard of him but never got to see him perform.
HIs was one of the defining performances in August 1969 at Woodstock. He sang With a Little Help from My Friends complete with unearthly screams, hideous grimaces and seemingly uncontrollable body gyrations. Pam and I saw him in much later in Germany during a three day concert. He was brilliant on stage, still gyrating, still grunting and still hammering out the lyrics like he meant them.
Many successful artists at that time were singer songwriters. Joe relied on others to write but gave his own personal interpretation to the tunes.
Among my favourites are: Feelin Alright, With A Little Help from My Friends, The Letter, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, You Are So Beautiful, You Can Leave Your Hat On, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, When the Night Comes, Unchain My Heart and Delta Lady.
I could have sworn that he had an LP entitled Cocker Happy but that is apparently not true.
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