Written by DeepJams on November 4, 2015
Soulful Blues Rock Legend: Joe Cocker
Born on May 20, 1944, in Sheffield, England, singer Joe Cocker counted Ray Charles and Lonnie Donegan among his early influences. He made his singing debut with his Brother Victor’s skiffle band when he was only 12 years old. Several years later Cocker became a drummer and harmonica player for a band called The Cavaliers. Before long, however, Cocker took his rightful position at the front of the stage as a singer.
Cocker tried his hand at pop music, performing as Vance Arnold and releasing a single on Decca Records in 1964. When it flopped, Decca dropped Cocker and he dropped his stage name, performing briefly with a new group before taking a break from music altogether. He returned in 1966 by forming the Grease Band, eventually landing a minor hit in the United States with the song “Marjorine.” Joe Cocker landed his first number-one single in his native England in 1968 with his rendition of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Cocker started to attract quite a following with his bluesy rock sound. He also became known for his unpredictable way of dancing on stage.
With the 1970 live album Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Cocker rose to the top 10 of American pop charts with “The Letter.” Over the next few years, he made the charts a few more times with such songs as “High Time We Went” and “Feeling Alright.” In the 1980s Cocker had a career renaissance. His duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong,” was the title track for the Richard Gere-Debra Winger drama An Officer and a Gentleman. The ballad became a number-one hit and earned the pair a Grammy Award win for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal in 1982 and the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1983.
In his later years, Cocker remained active on the music scene. In 2012, Cocker put out his 23rd album, Fire It Up, which also proved to be his last. He died in Crawford, Colorado, on December 22, 2014, from complications relating to lung cancer. The legendary singer was survived by his wife Pam, his stepdaughter Zoey and two grandchildren. Many members of the music world mourned Cocker’s passing.
Deep Jams Radio provides a live stream of Joe Cocker and his music as well as other soulful, blues, and rock music. Tune in today at DeepJams.net Radio, you wouldn’t want to miss out!
Like Deep Jams on Facebook!