Joe Cocker died yesterday at the age of 70 from lung cancer. We mourn his passing.
Perhaps best known for his cover of The Beatles’ With A Little Help From My Friends, the Sheffield-born singer had a career lasting more than 40 years, with an immense output of 40 albums.
Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who “brought so much to the world”. Cocker’s friend Rick Wakeman, keyboard player for the rock band Yes, called his rendition of With a Little Help From My Friends “sensational” and said: “He had a voice that was just unique.”
Wakeman told BBC Radio 2: “The great thing is with someone like Joe is what they leave behind, and that will be with us for years and years. He was without the doubt the greatest rock/soul voice ever to come out of Britain and remained the same man throughout his life.”
My father used to run Sound Seventies in Barclay Precinct on Ecclesall Road. He recalls him coming in the shop to buy a pair of speakers and then dropping them in the car park outside. Many people in Sheffield will have a fond memory of Joe and he seemed a man who never lost touch with his past.
His 1982 Album “Sheffield Steel” and it is a remarkable (and stunningly recorded) album of covers and interpretations. If you are looking for somewhere to start it’s a very fine place.