Joe Cocker, 1944-2014

Joe Cocker, the famous British rocker with an unmistakable deep and forceful voice, passed away on December 22nd.  He was 70.  A huge loss, given Cocker’s contributions to the world of the music over the past six decades. What follows is a brief overview of his brilliant musical career.  Admittedly, it does not begin to do justice to his talent and influence.

Cocker was born on May 20, 1944 in Sheffield, England.  He made a name for himself in 1968 with a cover of the Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” and burst onto the international scene with a performance of the song at Woodstock in 1969.  For the next few years, Cocker had tremendous success. His debut album in 1969 was titled after the Beatles’ song and also includes his well-known recording of “Feelin’ Alright”.  His second album, the self-titled Joe Cocker!, includes two more Beatles’ covers, “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” and “Let It Be”.  His third effort was the live double-album from 1970, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, which includes his famous cover of “The Letter”.  With this tour and the first three albums going gold in the U.S., Cocker had established himself as force in rock music.

Unfortunately, success came less frequently for Cocker in the ’70s and beyond, but there were some hits, such as 1975’s “You Are So Beautiful” and the 1982 duet with Jennifer Warnes, “Up Where We Belong”, the theme song from the hit movie An Officer and a Gentleman.  Cocker continued recording through the years, with his last studio album being 2012’s Fire It Up, which was followed up with Fire It Up: Live in 2013.

Mr. Cocker will be missed.  R.I.P.

 

 wg cocker with a little help from my friends_500

An early West German-for-Europe pressing of Joe Cocker’s debut album With A Little Help From My Friends (Cube, catalog number INT 846.316).

 

 mfsl cocker mad dogs_500

Disc 1 of the early Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab two-disc issue of Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL), catalog number MFCD 2-824). Both discs were pressed in Japan.

 

 japan-for-australia best of cocker_500

The rare, early Japan-for-Australia pressing of The Best of Joe Cocker (EMI, catalog number CDP.746190).

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